Wittenoom and Fatherhood


Cathie's dad Wilf was working at Wittenoom in WA in 1958 when he contracted mesothelioma. He died when she was eight years old. My lovely wife grew up without a father. Her uncle Bob filled that role to some extent. But he too was killed by Wittenoom's mesothelioma a few years ago.

One of the places that Cathie really wanted to visit on our trip to WA was Wittenoom. Strangely it has gone from all the modern maps and the tourist office at Port Headland was directed to advise us NOT to go there.

There are a few people still living in Wittenoom braving the asbestos cancer risk. But the government provides no services: Police, Post, Courts, Electricity etc. As far as I could work out those living there were squatters prepared to take life in their own hands.

The rest of us stayed in the car. Cathie got out to take a photo of a roadsign, to collect flowers, and to place them under a tree near the town's abandoned petrol station.

My own feelings were muddled. Last time I was at Wittenoom I was single and the town and it's asbestos cancer related history was just a curiosity. This time it is a town from whom the poison came - that has killed two of my relatives - and scarred the life of the girl I care for most.

Tomorrow at church Matt Whitfield is speaking on the Lord's Prayer, where Jesus teaches us to pray 'Our Father.'

[outline | audio]

It is an enormous comfort to me to have a father with whom I am in good relationship. He's not perfect - not like the heavenly father. But he's my dad.

My wife grew up from aged eight with no dad.

I pray for her in regards to this.