Music has always been a big part of Jan Gillingham’s life, and for more than 35 years she has shared that love with the Hedland community.
Jan is the driving force behind the Pilbara Music Festival, which has provided valuable opportunities and experience to performers of all ages over many years. The festival takes the form of an eisteddfod, where musicians and other performers can take the stage before an audience, including an experienced adjudicator who provides positive feedback.
Since beginning piano lessons at the age of six, Jan has become proficient at playing a wide range of instruments, including classical guitar, mandolin and the piano accordion. She has shared this passion with local children as a well-known music teacher, through private lessons and in schools. And for 25 years Jan has delivered music lessons for children on remote stations through the Port Hedland School of the Air from a base at Port Hedland International Airport.
Jan is also a long serving Town of Port Hedland councillor, having completed a stint between 2005 and 2017 before being re-elected in October 2020 for another three-year term.
The north of Western Australia has long been home to Jan’s family. Her father worked in the Pilbara as a cook in the mid-1970s and she lived on Koolan Island off the north Kimberley coast before moving to Hedland in 1985. Both her adult children also work in Pilbara-based jobs.
Jan has always strived to be a part of the local community and as she says she “finds it difficult not to be a volunteer”.
The Hedland community is grateful for that dedication, and for bringing some music into our lives!