21 May 2024

Community turns out to farewell East Weipa

| Lyndon Keane
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Laser tag was a must-do event at Saturday’s East Weipa commemoration, with hundreds of kids taking to the Weipa Aquatic and Sports Centre outdoor courts to battle family and friends in a bit of competitive fun. Photo: Lyndon Keane.

Laser tag, mini golf, live music and fireworks were just some of the activities hundreds of residents and tourists participated in to farewell East Weipa mining operations on 18 May.

The commemoration was co-ordinated by Rio Tinto and Weipa Town Authority (WTA), and came on the back of a similar event on 11 May, and gave attendees an opportunity to reflect on 60 years of bauxite operations at East Weipa as they let their hair down in perfect weather conditions.

Events started at the Weipa Aquatic and Sports Centre before the crowd moved to Kumrumja Park to watch the sunset and fireworks, and WTA Chair Jaime Gane said she had not been surprised by the show of community support.

“It’s been fantastic, but then the Weipa community are always very supportive of community events; that’s part of what makes it such a great place to live,” she said.

Rio Tinto acting general manager Weipa operations Mark Arkell said the commemoration of East Weipa’s closure represented a “new chapter” for the township.

READ ALSO East Weipa nearly ready to be returned to Traditional Owners

“The end of mining operations at East Weipa marks the beginning of a new chapter, which will see us working closely with Traditional Owners of the land and our agreement partners as we transition through the next stages,” he said.

“This new chapter brings opportunities for economic development, local business partnerships and capacity building within our community, ensuring responsible practices that support the environment.

“Rio Tinto is committed to the future of Weipa as we continue to support the town through projects such as housing development, local business support and the funding of community development projects.”

Ms Gane praised staff involved with planning and delivering both events, adding her favourite part had simply been “seeing everyone getting involved and enjoying themselves”.

“It’s no easy task organising these type of events, and the Rio Tinto and WTA staff who put it all together have done a fantastic job, so it’s just great to see that the community appreciates the effort,” she said.

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