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The Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia Inc has launched a community education campaign to discourage visitors to the closed mining town of Wittenoom, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Follow us on Facebook to watch the campaign's progress.
After disturbing images were flashed across social media of ‘adventure tourists’ playing in the deadly dust of Wittenoom, we decided to monitor this behaviour to develop a communications strategy that would get the message through that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure, especially in relation to contracting incurable mesothelioma cancer.
It appears that many people today are unaware of Wittenoom’s legacy - that it continues to kill. Sadly, we know the death toll from Wittenoom won’t stop, until the visitors stop.
We are currently hosting an online petition for a permanent memorial to be erected in Karijini National Park with the names of the thousands of Wittenoom workers, residents, traditional owners and their family members who lost their lives to asbestos-related diseases.
As the time between initial asbestos exposure and the onset of symptoms is usually 20 to 50 years, we will also be allocating space on the memorials for the hundreds, even thousands, of victims that have yet to be diagnosed.
We hope these memorials will create a beautiful place for loved ones to reflect and grieve. We also hope it will act as a deterrent for those tempted to visit Wittenoom.
ADSA CEO Melita Markey speaks to The West Australian travel writer Will Yeoman about the dangers awaiting tourists in Wittenoom. Listen to their discussion on West Travel Club's The Pod Well Travelled.
- August 2021
Midnight Oil's "Blue Sky Mine" was released in 1990, inspired by Wittenoom's mine workers who contracted various asbestos-related diseases. The ‘blue’ refers to blue asbestos, and the "sugar refining company" refers to the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Ltd, the owner of the mines.
Bronwen Duke has lost 14 family members to asbestos-related diseases. She speaks to ABC Radio about the Wittenoom Closure Bill, which was recently introduced in WA Parliament. This interview highlights the importance of placing names on our proposed memorials, and also allowing extra space for new victims - this industrial disaster is far from over!