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Walk digs up town’s past

What do a business owner, a hotel tenant, a plane crash victim and a leading doctor have in common?

They are all key figures of town buried at the Old Port Hedland Pioneer Cemetery.

And Dalgety House Museum volunteer historian Julie Arif is hoping to launch regular tours of the site so people can get to know the important characters who shaped Hedland.

Mrs Arif hosted the first Cemetery Beach History Tour Walk on August 22 and said she hoped there would be many more.

“Not much is known about the cemetery and the personalities and characters of the town,” she said. “They (locals) drive past it every day but don’t know the history.”

“Over the years (The Port Hedland Historical Society) has always done an excursion and we choose somewhere where people don’t go.

“This year it was the cemetery because it’s right here and not enough notice is taken.”

About 25 people, including members and friends of the historical society, attended the first tour, which Mrs Arif hoped would continue every three months.

The OPHPC is at Cemetery Beach in Port Hedland, just over 3km beyond what was once the township boundary.

The cemetery has a rich and diverse range of interments, with some 532 burials recorded at the site under the Historical Burial Register.

It is divided into four quadrants — Catholic, Protestant, Aboriginal and Japanese.

Mrs Arif said the cemetery could give an insight into the wide range of people who made Hedland what it is today.

“The diversity of our migrant population is still reflective of Port Hedland’s population now — it’s still the nature of the town,” she said.

Mrs Arif would welcome any information known about the site from locals to be submitted to the visitor centre in Port Hedland to develop the cemetery tours.

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