The Pilbara is located about 1600 kilometres north of Perth, in the north-west region of Western Australia, with an area of around 500,000 square kilometres and a population of approximately 40,000 people. The primary towns are Karratha and Port Hedland on the coast, and Tom Price and Newman inland.
An area of rugged beauty, the Pilbara has a vast coastal plain, spectacular inland ranges and an arid desert region reaching into the centre of Australia. It is characterised by the rich red hues of its landscape, imparted by the abundance of natural riches in its reserves of iron ore. Mining and offshore oil and gas exploration have given rise to the Pilbara’s economic boom in recent years, drawing large numbers of people to the region on both a temporary and permanent basis.
It has a tropical, semi-desert climate with a mainly summer rainfall associated with thunderstorms. From October to April temperatures throughout the region generally exceed 32 degrees celsius every day, sometimes topping 40 degrees, particularly in inland areas.
There are approximately 46 doctors working in the region in various areas, including general practices, Aboriginal Medical Services, hospitals and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.