Huge weekend for Hedland
Cheering, thumping, bouncing and pom pom waving marked the opening of South Hedland’s iconically named “Wanangkura Stadium” last weekend, with one ripper basketball match to boot.
Minister Brendan Grylls and Town of Port Hedland Acting Mayor George Daccache were among many dignitaries present for Premier Colin Barnett’s unveiling of the new sports and recreation centre, which coincided with the town’s annual Spinifex Spree Carnival weekend on the surrounding grounds.
Wanangkura, the winning name which came from a community call for entries, is the Kariyarra people’s word for “willy willy” or “cyclone”, thus suiting the natural elements of the region, if not sporting venture at its wildest.
Speaking of which, WA’s NBN Wildcats basketball team played a magic game against fellow visitors, the Cairns Taipans.
The Wildcats were victorious, only adding to the enthusiastic, packed house crowd reactions.
Cr Daccache was a proud representative of the town as 100s of local people celebrated the new building.
“What an amazing day, to have the Premier up here, the ministers, the dignitaries, to be part of the opening ceremony is unbelievable,” Cr Daccache said.
“The naming, which was kept secret for a while, now that it’s out there, people should come and see it and be part of the new stadium.”
Cheering from the stands, South Hedland students Shalika and Cynthia were very excited about the match and the new venue.
“It’s actually really nice and I hope it stays this way,” Shalika said.
She can’t wait to get on court in her role as a centre in local netball.
The stadium’s architect, Sophie Cleland from ARM Architects of Melbourne and Perth, was also present with company heads to see the new centre opened, admitting that it was her time to step back now and let the people enjoy what has been created.
The Wanangkura Stadium is already marked up for half a dozen ball sports on centre court, with room for 400 spectators.
It has squash courts, a gym, aerobics hall and conference and function centre among many other top notch facilities.
The iconic $35 million project was funded by Town of Port Hedland and foundation partners BHP Billiton Iron Ore, principal partners the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program, Pilbara Cities and supporting partners Auzcorp, ESS Services and operational partner Fortescue Metals Group.
If Sunday’s opening match was anything to go by, it has set the benchmark for some huge sporting events to come.