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Marble Bar respite now operational
Marble Bar respite now operational

An old cattle station east of Marble Bar was officially opened two weekends ago as a retreat for returned servicemen and women.

Located on the banks of the Nullagine River, the 281,257ha Meentheena Station has been reopened as a place for respite for front-line emergency workers and war veterans.

Regional Development and Lands Minister Brendon Grylls attended the opening, alongside Shire of East Pilbara councillors and hundreds more from across the Pilbara.

Veterans Retreats of WA president and Vietnam War veteran Norm Whitburn said it was a relief to finally have the station open.

Mr Whitburn said the remoteness of Meentheena was one of the secrets to overcoming post traumatic stress disorders often experienced by those returning from service.

“No government department has recognised that veterans need a place to talk with their friends and wives, because they won’t do it at home,” he said.

“There is no outside influence out there. There may be prospecting or fishing, but there is little else to do but talk.”

Mr Whitburn said he hoped the camp would be used by future generations of soldiers.

“Those in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan, they need to know about it,” he said.

Mr Whitburn said the station was not a resort but had showers, toilets and dongas, and can cater for people with disability.

Mr Grylls said it was great veterans now had somewhere to come for contemplation and reflection.

“Norm Whitburn and the veterans should be very proud of their hard work that has got them to this point,” he said.

Assistance is still required for a solar hot-water system and the station’s generator fuel. More information can be found at www.veteransretreatsofwesternaustralia.org.au.