The town was born when the booming coastal town of Port
Hedland ran out of suitable building land in the mid 1960s. To solve this problem, South Hedland was established as a satellite located 20km south of
the Port Hedland township. The two centres are separated by expanses of large tidal flats with
Port Hedland International Airport in between. South
Hedland caters for more than half of the total Port Hedland population and is largely residential. In recent years the town has been expanded to provide accommodation and services for the growing population. The town’s CBD has been upgraded to include promenades and an amphitheatre for community events and live entertainment.
The town now has a state of the art sporting a recreation stadium which houses a number of local sporting clubs and hosts live entertainment. South
Hedland has an interactive water-play park, an Aquatic
Centre and public pool plus a water park including a wave simulator. South Hedland has been designed with housing areas surrounding the town centre and can be tricky to navigate so be aware of the signage which will lead you to the town centre. The town contains many facilities including a large shopping centre, South Hedland Health Campus (hospital), medical
centre, police station and a variety of pubs and restaurants from dining in or take away.
There are a wide variety of Aboriginal communities in this area. Some Aboriginal people have chosen to live in town. Others have chosen to stay in their homelands and have very little contact with white people or the ‘sophistications’ of town, in order to better maintain important aspects of their language and culture.
Archaeological sites show the physical evidence of the lifestyle and activities of Aboriginal people. The rocky terrain of the Pilbara is particularly rich in engraving sites.
Other evidence of prior Aboriginal occupation in the Port Hedland area is the many shell middens which contain remnants of everyday domestic activities. Examples of midden material can be seen at the Boodarrie Landing site.
Religious and ceremonial sites take the form of rock or stone arrangements. These sites are special places where various ceremonies are conducted to ‘keep the land alive’. The Kariyarra people, who originally inhabited the Port Hedland region, had a number of stone sites on the limestone ridge running alongside Wilson Street. Indications are that some were rainmaking places and others were for the increase of marine fauna, such as turtles and fish.