View Transmission Lines 1955 to 1974 in a larger map.
This interactive map reproduces the map produced by my father. It documents the power lines he worked on through image and text. Click on the towers.

30 April 2008

Clare to Garbutt Line, 1967

A couple of 1967 newspaper clippings describe work on the Clare to Garbutt Line around Townsville in North Queensland. Workers used 'rockets' to carry lines across gorges to the towers. My father is pictured demonstrating the technology.

Mapping ... Lost in translation

In my project description I mentioned that English was my father's second language and that Australian place names sometimes didn't make that much sense to him. The result is that the captions on photographs need some verification. So, today, I spent some time double and triple checking the spelling of place names so that I can map them. I've become a bit lost in translation in this process and am thankful for some of Google's second guessing and intuitive rearrangements of spelling. Incidentally, my father also didn't misspell names consistently with inscriptions like Celura and Cheloura (meaning Chullora in Sydney).

I can help but wonder about this doubling of disorientation - in a new language and a new country. Lost in translation and lost in the landscape.

Incidentally, I am also finding Google Maps much easier and preferable to use than Platial and that might cause a rethink of the mapping aspect of the project.

28 April 2008

On Maps and Stories

Welcome. I've been wanting to do something like this for a long time.

In my family home there are two quite ordinary artefacts that focus on my father's life. To provide some background: my father was born in Brisighella in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy on 23 or 24 March 1932. No one is certain of his date of birth as family members and documents tell differing stories. Our family has always celebrated it on 24 March. He passed away in June 2001 in Brisbane.

The first artefact is a tattered old photo album with a black cover that documents two phases in my father's life. First there his military service in Italy as a paratrooper in the 1950s, a marvellously rich series of photos of young men in uniform. Second his life as a rigger and linesman building high tension transmission lines. He began working with in this capacity in the early mid 1950s and the first photographs, of the the Bari to Foggia line, were taken in 1955.

The second artefact is a stained and torn map on which my father used drawing pins to mark the places he worked. He also draw lines between the points marking out where the lines ran. No one can remember when he did this but the map has been in the family home for at least 20 years. However, some of the pins are now missing, leaving small punctures in the aged paper.

These documents are uniquely about his life. There's something about these acts of documentation that I have always loved and through this project, I am hoping to reflect on and honour these artefacts as personal and social documents.

27 April 2008