View Transmission Lines 1955 to 1974 in a larger map.
18 June 2008
In the meantime, please make sure you go to see the exhibition Freestyle Books at the State Library of Queensland, opening 27 June.
12 June 2008
More information about Freestyle Books is available at http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/freestylebooks
08 June 2008
07 June 2008
c. 1990/1, Queensland. My father was approaching 60 years of age.
LC: Can you tell me when you came to Australia?
LC: How did you come?
QC: Well, I was working for a company in Italy and, well, they asked me if I wanted to come to Australia. I thought it was a good choice for me, you know, and here I am.
LC: What were you – what was the company – doing?
QC: Building power lines.
LC: And when you came to Australia, did you start building power lines here?
LC: For the same company?
QC: Well, different name but it was the same company.
LC: And was that company working on the Snowy Mountain Scheme?
QC: Well, after a while, we went to the Snowy Mountains. After a few years. The first job was in Blacktown, building a power line from Chullora to Canterbury (1956).
LC: So, after you worked on that you went to the Snowy Mountains. Then what did you do?
QC: Well, build more power lines down in – we came to Queensland from the Snowy Mountains and built a power line from Tully to ???. Not really, that was from Townsville. We were camping at Tully (1956/57).
LC: Camping? So what were the camps like?
QC: Oh, it was not too bad. You know, it was huts. It had about three or four people each hut. We had a cook to cook for us. It was not too bad. It was nothing special.
LC: So when you were in the camp, what did you do when you weren’t working?
QC: When we weren’t working, we used to play cards between ourselves, or go to the pub, or go out to a dance, or whatever we could find.
LC: Did you play soccer?
QC: I played soccer once in Ingham, I played soccer in Darwin. Another time in Blacktown and also at Biggendon. That’s it I think. (Note: He is talking about competitive soccer.)
LC: I thought you played more soccer than that?
QC: Not in Australia. (Note: QC played in soccer fixtures in his home town in Italy as a boy and young man.)
LC: I thought even at work, in the camps?
QC: We played around the camp. You know, we played nearly every evening. (Note: So after a day of back breaking work, they found the energy to play soccer!)
LC: What were the wages like when you were working?
QC: It was not too bad because we were doing quite a bit of overtime and, you know, we had had very little school (Note: My father had to leave school in grade three or four to work). It wasn’t very easy to get any other job, plus the language was a problem for us, because we were all Italian there [in the work environment], we didn’t really need to speak English. If we needed something in English, we’d go and ask the clerk or someone and it was done.
LC: Did you ever have a chance to learn English while you were working?
QC: After I became a leading hand, after a while I had to start speaking with Inspectors and things like that. That’s when I started learning.
LC: So the whole company was Italian? What about engineers and people working higher up?
QC: Mostly Italian. There weren’t many Australians (Note: he means Anglo-Australians or English-speaking Australians) with us for the first 10 or 15 years. After that a few engineers came in, but mostly it was new Australians – Italians, Spanish, Yugoslav. And they all had to learn Italian because that was the main language spoken around there.
LC: Did everyone get on well?
QC: Mostly. Once in a while somebody had an argument, but it wasn’t because he was Greek or Italian.
LC: You’ve worked all over Australia. What were the jobs you worked on?
QC: I can see what I remember. The first job was in Blacktown (Note: He is probably referring to Chullora, 1956), from Blacktown we went to Engadine and we did a job there - from Waterfall down to Wollongong (c. 1957). After, from Wollongong, we went to Moss Vale and we did a power line from Yass to Wollongong (c. 1958) – more or less – Dapto. And after, from there, we went up and did a line to the Snowy Mountains. That was from Yass to Cabramurra. And after, from there, we went down to Penrith and built a power line, a small job, from Blacktown to Penrith. After that we went down to South Australia and we built a power line from Port Augusta to Whyalla (1964). From there, we went back to Port Kembla, worked about a year there and we built a log bridge to take the material from the ship to the depot (1965). From there, we went back to Moss Vale, Goulburn, Yass, you know, from Yass to Dapto again to build another power line (1966). Well, I should write it down. I can't remember any more. (Note: This work was done between 1956 to 1966.)
Some fragments and quotes will soon be entered into the blog and attached to sites marked on the map.
06 June 2008
Despite yesterday's wind and rain, work continued on the latest power line to cross the Swan River. These workmen climbed the 70 foot steel pylon on reclaimed land near the East Perth power house (background). The work is part of a program to upgrade the power line from Kwinana to East Perth.
03 June 2008
The article features an interview with Dr Enzo Oriolo, Managing Director of EPT, who said that the company motto was "One tower per gang per day".
He discusses the 90 mile line between Yass and Tumut, which piped the first major output of the Snowy hydro-turbines into the NSW grid.
Mr Oriolo's reference to the 'art of threading cables' has some resonance. When speaking with my mother about my dad's work, she said that he had a reputation for having the 'right touch' for the lines. I'm not sure if this was mentioned earlier, but my mother also told me that no one ever died in any of my father's gang when he was a foreman. And, as you can imagine, there were fatal accidents in this industry.