Nor West Friends

Dingo Dreaming

A few weeks before we went to Sydney to record our first CD ‘Nor West Friends’ we were  in Karratha and we found out that a Sydney based company was interested in filming a movie to be called ‘Dingo Dreaming’ near Roebourne. We were told the name of the company and the producer and advised to say hello when in Sydney. When we arrived at Fox Studios by some strange twist of fate the film company offices was right opposite our studio, so we introduced ourselves to the Producer and asked if he had a title song for the movie. ‘No’ was the answer so we offered to write him one. That night we sat in our hotel room in George Street and wrote this song which like the movie was inspired by the story of two old aboriginal ladies who wandered around the Western Desert during the dreamtime.



Nor West Friends

The Pilbara region of Western Australia is a place where people from all around the world unite to work on the large mining and oil & gas developments. They work in hot and often challenging environments and friendships are forged in the red dust. Like the early pioneers of the region in the 1860’s those residents who live and work in the Pilbara have become affectionately known as ‘Nor Westers’. They work bloody hard for six days a week and by Saturday afternoon they are ready to rest and relax with their ‘Nor West Friends’.



Dancing in the eye

The homes and buildings of the first settlers at Cossack and Roebourne were destroyed by powerful cyclones and ever since then every year between November and April the residents of the Pilbara keep one eye on the barometer. Nowadays homes are built to withstand cyclones but a good cyclone still causes havoc throughout the region. It is an awesome experience to sit through a large cyclone especially if you can actually experience the eye of the cyclone passing over head. For a short period of time the powerful wind stops and all is very still. Then suddenly it starts again and the wind blows from a different direction. This song describes the arrival and passing of a cyclone over a town along the Pilbara coast and the customary desire of the people in its path to come out of their homes and ‘dance’ as the eye passes over.

 

 

Karijini

The Karijini national park is situated in the heart of the Pilbara region, and it contains some of the most picturesque scenery in Australia. It is a very mystical place with a very contrasting landscape – rugged spinifex covered hills, flat grassy plains and deep gorges with crystal clear pools of cool water. It is the home to a myriad of animals with a select few found nowhere else in the world. One those animals are the tiny Western Peeble Mouse a tardy creature that was close to extinction ten years ago. We were once fortunate late one night to witness the mass migration of these mice as they crossed an outback road we were travelling along late at night. We watched in awe as the thousands of mice packed tightly together ran across the road ahead. Amazingly their flight resembled water flowing across the track. The song describes a typical Karijini day from dawn to dusk, and how nature influences the event.

 

 

We wont forget wittenoon

In the 1960’s a blue asbestos mine operated at Wittenoom in the central Pilbara. Many young men from Perth ceased the opportunity to go and earn big money and they toiled in the primitive working conditions totally unaware of the dangers of the blue asbestos they were mining. Every day within minutes their bodies would be covered in the grey dust no matter where they worked underground, the packing shed or on the jetty at Point Samson, the dust was everywhere. Over the years the deaths through mesothelioma of those young men has been well documented. The once vibrant township has now been closed and all the services disconnected. This song is a tribute to those ambitious young men who paid the ultimate price.

 

 

People like you and me

The Pilbara region is known globally as an area from where Australia exports iron ore, oil, gas and salt to an ever increasing global market. The names of the major companies who operate in the region, frequent the business pages and stock markets from Tokio to London, but we wonder if the analyst and stockbrokers ever stop to think about the people who toil in the sun to deliver the quality products. From a vantage point near Dampier, you can view three well known  operations that produce iron ore, gas and salt. This song is a tribute to the people of the region who toil in the harsh conditions with very little worldwide recognition.

 

 

Timeless Land

The Pilbara region has the oldest rock formations in the world, over billions of years many of the rocks have been worn away by ice, rain and the searing heat leaving ranges of flat top hills called ‘Mesa’s’ that stand high above the spinifex plains. When walking between these hills one cannot help but feel a sense of being in a timeless land.

 

 

Fly in Fly out

Fly in Fly out’ is a term that started to creep into the Pilbara vocabulary in the early eighties, by the mid nineties the major resource companies began extending their operations dramatically and the demand for ‘fly in fly out labour rocketed. Sadly, it also began the demise of the company towns as the companies reduced their commitment to housing local workers and their families. But Fly in Fly out although now popular has brought with it many social problems especially the strain put on mothers who are left to raise children for two thirds of the year. This song tells of a young father going to work at a remote site for the first time.

 

 

Kanaji Binbaku

It is a common occurrence on many an evening along the Pilbara coastline to look inland and see what the local aboriginals call “Kanaji Binbaku’ which means the lightning flashing across the tops of large grey clouds that roll majestically across the sky. If you had not experienced this before you would be certain that much needed rain was on its way to drench the coastal plain around you. But it rarely rains on the coastal plains instead the rains fall over the hills far inland. Occasionally, those inland rains are very heavy and large volumes of water runs down from the hills, along the dry creeks of the coastal plain and out to the sea. Our next song is called ‘Kanaji Binbaku’ which is the start of the songs story.

 

 

Pilbara Moon

For those people who have spent any amount of time in the Pilbara, then I am sure that one of their most unforgettable memories would have been that of seeing a full ‘Pilbara Moon’. It’s a majestic sight especially watching it rise over the rugged landscape. The early construction workers on the Pilbara railways used to talk of its magical ability to make them feel closer to the land and that it was responsible for drawing past residents back to the Pilbara . This song tells the story of a group of construction workers who at the end of projects have found it hard to leave and then after a while they are drawn back to the Pilbara to work again.

 

 


Sample Mesa Band music above.

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