Goal Posts

Michael Moments

by Michael Weston

Recently I was providing some talks for “Men’s Health Week” in the Pilbara, Western Australia and the Pilbara certainly put on all its glory.

It was 26 degrees with a bright blue sky, stunning backdrops of the ranges and a beautiful moonlit sky at night. Just stunning!

I lived and worked in the Pilbara region for 16 years with my family before relocating to Perth in 2015. You don’t realise how much the Pilbara gets into your blood until you return… its home.

Whilst most of my time in mining was living residentially in mining towns, I also had my fair share of Fly-In-Fly-Out (FIFO) camps. I’ve lived in some crappy camps in my time, including having sleeping quarters with no air-conditioner or fridge and a communal bathroom.

Every time I visit a new FIFO mine site these days, I have noticed a massive improvement in the quality of the camps. The donga’s are now decent sized rooms with ensuite bathrooms, TV’s etc. What really stands out these days is less focus on the wet mess (pub) and a greater focus on workers’ recreational needs.These camps have gyms, pools, tennis, ovals, walking and bike riding tracks, golf driving nets and the list goes on. It’s these improvements that support a person’s mental health whilst they are away from loved ones at home. It allows them to have some decent recreation time outside of work whilst maintaining a healthy lifestyle and healthy mind.

Now I’m not one for spreading rumours, however, I found myself doing just that unconsciously when I recently arrived at a mining camp in the Pilbara. When I arrived at this camp, I was really excited to see that this camp had put up AFL goal posts on one of their ovals. I remember thinking to myself that these mining camps are just getting better all the time. Imagine doing a 12-hour day, return to camp and get to kick the footy for an hour… just awesome!

So when I arrived at the mine site to provide my talks to the teams, I couldn’t help but share with everyone the AFL goal posts that had been put in at one of the camp ovals. To my surprise, everyone was unaware that these had been installed and they were all talking about kicking a footy after work.

The next day as I was checking out of the camp to fly back to Perth, I jumped on the bus that was heading to the Newman airport which drove past the AFL goal posts. As the bus got closer to the goal posts, they got smaller and smaller before I had an “uh ha” moment whilst the feeling of blushing embarrassment rushed through my face.

The goal posts were in actual fact flag poles and there were 5 of them not 4.

So I’m sitting in my home office today writing this whilst reflecting and thinking of how many arguments are happening right now as to what score does a team get when they kick the footy between the 4th and 5th goal post… umm flag poles.

fifo, mental health, michael weston, safety speaker, Safety Talks
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