Shadow Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt says an event to be held in Western Australia this weekend will pay tribute to a little known feature of Torres Strait Islander history.
Due to prior commitments Mr Pitt said he was disappointed he was unable to accept an invitation to attend the unveiling of the commemorative sculpture of a rail worker organised by the Kuyk Kirim Torres Strait islander Corporation.
“At Port Headland on Saturday the special sculpture will be unveiled to recognise the role of Torres Strait Islander men who helped build the Port Headland to Mount Newman railway in the late 1960s,” Mr Pitt said.
“The men who worked so hard on that contract managed to complete construction of more than 400km of track.
“The work was completed in just nine months which was within the original timeframe projected by the consortium that held the contract to construct the line.
“One section of 7.2km was completed in just 11 hours 40 minutes — setting a world record for track laying.
“The involvement of the men in this project remains a vital part of the history of the Torres Strait, as well as of the Pilbara region of WA.
“It should never be forgotten so I am pleased a last memorial in the form of a sculpture will now serve as a reminder of this fragment of our nation’s past.
“I know everyone who attends will have a great time with music and traditional dancing.
“It is quote fitting that there will also be a recognition of the 20th anniversary of the landmark Mabo ruling by the High Court of Australia” Mr Pitt said.