Town of Port Hedland
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Cultural Development

Port Hedland owes its unique identity to its rich heritage and culture, in particular its diverse Indigenous and multi-cultural heritage. Port Hedland has an active arts and cultural community across all artforms. The town is home to a growing number of practicing visual artists, musicians, dancers and theatre artists.

The Town of Port Hedland has developed major cultural facilities, including the Matt Dann Cultural Centre, and the Don Rhodes Mining Museum. The Council supports organizations and individuals initiating and managing their own cultural affairs. Council has worked in partnership with community organizations to develop the Dalgety House Museum and the Courthouse Arts Centre and Gallery.

Matt Dann Theatre & Cinema:

The objectives of the cultural development:

  • Co-ordination and integration of cultural groups and activities
  • Availability of appropriate, high quality facilities to ensure that people can enjoy optimum leisure, entertainment and creativity
  • A business and commercial sector committed to a high quality for its customers and employees
  • Residents linked into strong, stable, supportive and creative communities and social networks
  • Residents discovering and enjoying a unique natural and urban environment which offers both a strong sense of place (including maintenance of heritage) and accessible pockets of beauty and retreat.

Artwork In Public Places

Public Art is defined in the broadest sense as artistic works or activities created for, located in, or developed as part of a public facility or space. Public Art includes any planning or conceptual contribution of an artist to the design of public facilities and spaces.

The Town of Port Hedland Public Art Policy encourages the creation of public art, which adds to our town’s unique character and heritage. Important to this policy is the opportunity of local artists to be involved in public art projects as either the lead artist or through mentoring by experience art practitioners.

Cultural And Heritage Facilities

Dalgety House Museum

Corner of Anderson and Wedge Street Port Hedland

Dalgety House as been fully restored as a living space.

  • Audio and visual displays
  • Recordings of personal memories
  • North West Architecture

Port Hedland was established in 1896 as a port for the pastoral, pearling, gold and tin mining industries. Dalgety House was the Dalgety and Co. manager’s residence from 1903 to 1974.
What was the lifestyle of the Kariyarra people?
How did this change as non-Indigenous people settled the Pilbara?

Don Rhodes Mining And Transport Museum

Wilson Street Port Hedland

How was travel accomplished within the Pilbara last century?
The Don Rhodes Mining and Transport Museum tells the story of he road, rail and transport heritage of the East Pilbara. Sights to see include:

The giant machines that opened up the Pilbara
Converted Valentine Tank
The Mt Newman Locomotive used to haul iron ore carts across the Pillar
The Public Works department Crane that upgraded the Port Hedland harbour
Exhibits, interpretative and informative signage and maps tell this story. Seating and shade on site.

Old Port Hedland Cemetery

Sutherland Street Port Hedland

This cemetery, officially opened in 1912, provides a fascinating window on our past. Many Indigenous people are buried in the cemetery, along with identities that developed Port Hedland. Over forty people are buried in the Asian section. Many Japanese and Chinese people worked on the pearl luggers, as gold prospectors, or as cooks.

Set opposite the Port Hedland Community Park and the Indian Ocean, the Old Port Hedland Cemetery is a place to visit and to reflect upon times past.

Port Hedland Cultural And Heritage Trail

Commencing at the Port Hedland Tourist Bureau this trail includes glimpses of the town’s colourful past as well as present features.

Collect a Trail Brochure from the Tourist Bureau and take a leisurely stroll around down town Port Hedland Interpretative signage tells the story of heritage buildings, natural features and cultural sites. View the original medical staff quarters; learn about the harbour tunnel, the old Methodist Church and the port Tower and Tide indicator. A great way to learn about our colourful heritage.

Public Art

Public Art & Community Involvement 

Community Well-Being I Contributing to Economic Growth I Ensuring Design Excellence

On behalf of LandCorp, UDLA initiated community engagement, beginning with formal conversations in early planning phases with school-children, Karriyarra Mugarinya traditional owners, a range of community representative groups (cultural, historical,  women’s health), the Town of Port Hedland council, residents and workers of South Hedland.

Community preferences include having shaded areas where the community could gather, utilising local artists to capture local themes, having a venue where performances could take place, and integrating public art installations. The comprehensive community engagement process ensured the vision and outcome matched the community’s needs. Community groups are encouraged to use the Town Square space for their programs. (small LandCorp grants are available. Please contact the Town of Port Hedland for more information)

Local artists have incorporated locally relevant cultural, social and historical themes into the artworks displayed in the town square, consulting extensively with the Karriyarra people to ensure the appropriateness of their artworks. For a detailed overview of the public artwork in place and its meaning, click here.

Artist Rozy Dann said of the Town Square “… it has helped bring the local community together and looks beautiful. It has enhanced the town centre by giving it a more social and family oriented atmosphere”.