SI Port Hedland – Stevedoring Soroptimist – October 2011
In October members of the Executive of Soroptimist International of Western Australia travelled to SI Port Hedland to celebrate that club’s 40th Birthday. Port Hedland is a major iron ore crushing and exporting town approximately 1700 North of Perth.
One of the surprises was to meet a Soroptimist living in Port Hedland who is also a stevedore on the waterfront. Janette Hartmann, standing just over 5 foot tall and of slim build is not your average wharfie and it is hard to believe that she is an integral part of the North West Mining Boom.
I asked Janette to tell me about her intriguing life loading and unloading the giant ships around the clock in this quintessential man’s world.
“Becoming a Stevedore in 2007 has been one of the most wonderful experiences in my life.
At 47 I had only ever done office work or ‘girlie jobs’, so the change to outdoor, physical and shift work was quite a shock to the system!
As a stevedore we load Copper into ships, send scrap metal overseas and unload project cargo for various minesites in the Pilbara.
We also unload locomotives, rail line, ship loaders (very large ones) bulk bags of cement, accommodation units, ore cars and different items for new mines opening up in WA.
When I first started on the wharf there were 6 working berths, there is now 12 with 3 others nearly completed and plans for many more in the process.
It is just amazing to be in the hub of this massive development, and the sunrises and sunsets are the icing on the cake for this
It just shows that Soroptimists can turn up in the most unlikely places, and we wish Janette all the best in her chosen career.