I've been working as a relief Family Doctor in the amazing Pilbara district of NW Australia! This is one of those parts of the world where the truly ancient meets the ultra-modern. In this burnt, ocre red and spinifex green landscape, the Aboriginal Australians have been living and thriving for over 30,000 years. They have literally left an indelible record of their culture in the Petroglyphs which indigenous artists have scratched into the rocks that dot the spectacular gorges around the area.
But this place is also mineral rich. Since the discovery of vast iron ore deposits, 21st century technology has arrived to co-exist with our first born Australians. Alongside the enormous ports which export the crushed ore deposits are the vast processessing facilities needed to liquefy the deep water natural gas and load it onto gargantuan sea born container ships for sale to customers around the world.
Everything about this country is HUGE!
Growing up alongside these mega-industries, the City of Karratha and surrounding towns of Dampier, Wickham and Roeburn, have survived the highs and lows of the mining industry and are currently thriving! This is a young area with young families, which brings with it young people's challenges too.
It's been my privilege to share in the care of the people of Karratha and meet some of the fantastic young folk who are bringing this area to life.
I brought Mr Dickens with me and have given out free copies to any grade 5 to 8 child who has indicated that they enjoy a good read! It's given me great joy and by the look in their faces, it's made them pretty happy too.
Today I met with the lovely Joyce Williams who is the Senior Librarian for the Karratha district, and we talked about Mr Dickens and how it might be possible to meet with some young readers on my next trip to this glorious part of the world. The Karratha library is well stocked and well used. Soon it will be moving to the soon-to-be-finished Red Earth Arts Precinct in the middle of the city - a spectacular building which seems to be growing out of the red dirt that it sits upon.
I'm really looking forward to my next visit, when hopefully I'll find Mr Dickens amongst the books on the shelves of the new library.