I recently learned the wonderful history of our beloved “Palms” and really need to share it with you all.
The scene is set back in 1978, a young female apprentice, Leanne Williams, was working in the workshop of Hamersley iron, with the electrical and fitter apprentices, but unlike these other apprentices she was the very first Horticultural Apprentice. Her Supervisor at the time, David Haig, really didn’t know what to do with the young Leanne. I’m sure there wasn’t very many young lady apprentices back in those days.
Leanne was sent off to work for Parks and Gardens and as luck had it the wonderful coconuts palms accidentally arrived in Dampier from Broome. Rather then sending them back up the highway, Leanne who was just a young girl, straight from school at the time, was given the task of planting these trees in the then Coconut Grove on the foreshore. With nothing more than a crowbar and shovel and lots of sweat and blisters the Palms were all dug in by hand.
“The Palms” are as iconic and synonymous to Dampier as Red Dog and Sam Ostojich himself. Wedding ceremonies or after work debriefs, twilight tunes for the masses or a romantic sunset for two. Picnic rugs, eskies, cool beers and games of chasey. People come and go but the beauty of our Palms will out stay us all.
We thank you Leanne Williams, now Leanne May, for nurturing this little oasis in the land of red dirt and rock. Thank you from us current Dampierites and the generations of Dampierites who have gone before us.