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.

15 November 2010

More pictures from Mr Venturi

Some months ago Mr Venturi kindly emailed more photographs of the Marayong Camp taken in the mid 1950s by his father. The photographs show the Marayong office and steelworks under construction (1956).

He also sent a black and white photo showing the preparation (cut, shape and galvanisation) of the steel girders used in the transmission line towers.

11 November 2010

Tesatura: photos from Marco Nanni

Marco Nanni has set up a Flickr photostream. These are incredibly evocative images that genuinely provide a sense of the height and heaviness of the work involved. Just look at the acrobatics of the workers! Here is a slide show of the images.

Thank you for sharing Marco!

10 November 2010

Another story

This comment was posted to Transmission Lines and I thought it needed more prominence - another story about an SAE/EPT worker who made the journey to Australia. We may have some more photos to look at. Incidentally, I haven't been working much on the blog but I have some photographs from Giovanni Venturi which I will publish soon. I have also heard received a brief note from a former inspector who I will contact shortly.

Cara Linda,

hoping you do speak and read italian I will write it in italian, if you dont understand please let me know and I will try to write it in english.

Mi chiamo Marco Nanni, mio padre, morto nel 2003, si chiamava Umberto Nanni e venne in Australia nel 1954 insieme a mia madre per conto della SAE spa, approdando anche lui a Sidney e quindi inizialmente a Marayong. Era un geometra-topografo (surveyor) ed ha lavorato in molti dei progetti che hai menzionato nel blog e altri ancora. Io personalmente sono nato ad Adelaide nel 1959 al tempo dei progetti 275 Kv Port Augusta - Magill (Adelaide), della 132 Kv Port Augusta - Woomera e della prima antenna TV sul monte Lofty ad Adelaide di 513 ft.

Ho moltissime foto di tutti i cantieri, personale, operai etc, almeno un 300 foto che vorrei sistemare e pubblicare online pensi possa interessare ?

Dopo Adelaide ho vissuto i miei primi anni sul progetto 330 Kv Tumut-Yass, con campi a Wee Jasper, Goobragandra, Yarrangobilly, Mt.Kiandra fino a Cooma.

Mi ha lasciato degli scritti autobiografici e molte lettere di lavoro con la EPT e EC, oltre che le foto di cui ti dicevo.

Se pensi possa interessare fammi sapere...

salutoni, marco

Google Translate says:

My name is Marco Nanni, my father, who died in 2003, was named Umberto Nanni and came to Australia in 1954 with my mother on behalf of SAE spa, arriving in Sydney, and then he started at Marayong. He was a surveyor surveyor (surveyor) and has worked in many of the projects you mentioned in the blog, and more. I personally was born in Adelaide in 1959 to the time of the project 275 kV Port Augusta - Magill (Adelaide), 132 Kv of Port Augusta - Woomera and the first TV antenna on Mount Lofty in Adelaide of 513 ft.

I have a lot of photos of all the sites, staff, workers etc, at least 300 photos that I would like to fix and publish online you think might be of interest?

After Adelaide I lived my first years on the project 330 kV Tumut, Yass, Wee Jasper with fields, Goobragandra, Yarrangobilly, Mt.Kiandra to Cooma.

He left many letters and autobiographical writings of working with the EC and EPT, as well as photos of where I was saying.

If you think you might be interested let me know ...

Salutoni, marco

28 July 2010

List of places

I was having dinner with my family at mum's place last night and needed to refer to an atlas. So I grabbed the Ampol Touring Atlas of Australia (4th edition, published in 1973) which has endured in the book shelves along with old school books and Readers' Digest editions classics. A yellowed sheet of paper slipped out while I was flipping through the maps. It turned out to be a list of place names where my father had worked. Another attempt at personal record keeping and I sometimes wonder if my father was worried about forgetting. Written in pencil in his ad hoc handwriting, there were new names on this list that aren't on the map or other records. My mother confirmed that the list represented places where my father had worked but that it wasn't complete - she noted a couple of places were not on the list. So I have a new source of information to cross reference with the other documents.

22 May 2010

Digital Story on You Tube

This video was produced during a digital storytelling workshop at the State Library of Queensland - under the watchful guidance of Gavin and David. It extends the work of the Transmission Lines project.

13 May 2010

Digital Story in Progress

I've been working on a digital story as part of a short course I'm doing at the State Library of Queensland. Here's some work in progress ... So far I've written the script - the video and audio is yet to come.

My father, like most, amassed a large collection of tools. If, when visiting my mother’s house, our visitors enter the garage, they are greeted by a massive shifting spanner hanging on the wall. At a half metre or so long, it’s not the sort of tool that easily fits into a utility belt or back pocket – “what do you use that for?” they’d ask. So I would explain that it belonged to my dad, who worked as a rigger and a linesman building high tension power lines for about 20 years. It’s almost a rite of passage as husbands are initiated into our family with each querying that spanner.

The company he worked for in Italy offered him a job in Australia. When his boat landed in Sydney in 1956, he was driven out to a camp at Blacktown to work on power lines in the city’s west. The company’s motto was ‘one tower per day’ regardless of weather conditions and terrain. He often spoke of the rigours of that life – while on the job he lived in camps with other workers, mostly migrants, in makeshift barracks – It was hard work in sometimes harsh country.

I used to think my father was a giant. He built big things, like high tension power lines, and had big tools, like that spanner. His voice boomed and his laugh roared. He had large hands, toughened by working with steel. He drove heavy vehicles and crossed great distances, stringing cable all the way.

He took pride in his work and my mother once told me that no one ever died in my father's gang when he was a foreman. She also told me that he had just the right touch for stringing those lines. My family often recalls its life as an itinerary. We lived here, then moved elsewhere, following the weave of the power lines.

11 March 2010

Rest in Peace

On 10 March, Leo di Rocco sent me another emailing notifying me of the passing of another EPT worker. It's fitting, I think, to honour the memory of these workers on the Transmission Lines blog. As relatives and family friends have passed away, I've realised that we lose our connection to the 'old country'. My heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends of Mr Finadri. May he rest in peace.

Hello Linda,

Today we laid to rest Enrico Finadri a pioneer of EPT, after mass was celebrated at the EPT chapel, fitting for a man who thought so much of EPT and the chapel he contributed so much to. He worked with Edison in Italy and then with SAE before coming to Austrtalia early in 1952 with EPT, he started his time at Menai camp where they lived in tents. It would be highly likely that Enrico worked with your Dad as Enrico spent many years working on Transmission lines he lived in Engadine until he was transfered to Marayong and then moved to live in Marayong. He was from the Treviso region of Italy he was 81 years of age and when I used to see him he would also speak highly of EPT..

Hope you are well..

09 March 2010

More from Leo Di Rocco

Leo di Rocco and I were emailing trying to figure out whether his father and my father knew each other or worked together. The most my mother can tell me is that she thinks she'd heard my father talk about di Rocco. Leo explained the following, with a promise of some photos which I look forward to seeing and posting (thank you!):

My uncle spent the first years in Victoria I believe he arrived in Marayong late 1959 and then was sent to Bonnyrigg and Dural camps but was mainly stationed at EPT Marayong until 1986 when he retired. He passed away two years ago. Together with my dad they were through and through EPT men "lavorare e la pagha tutte le settimana una grande, brava e signora ditta".. no one dare say a bad word about EPT..

I shall send you some photos soon...


26 February 2010

The map has moved

Sadly, I just logged on to update Transmission Lines, only to learn that Platial, the platform that hosts my map, is going under. All Platial widgets on the blog have been disabled. I have managed to partly export the map file to re-establish it on Google Maps but the photographs are not displaying. The map is now online and embedded in the blog, but I will need to restore the photographs. In the interim, you can look at the photos on flickr or facebook.

24 February 2010

A growing EPT family!

Further to my previous post, I received a long email from Leo di Rocco, son and nephew of two former EPT workers. I did ask my mother about this family, and she said that she had heard my father make reference to the name but didn't know the people. From what Leo has explained, his family members and my father weren't working in same the places. I so loved receiving this email - he expresses sentiments very similar to mine. As the children of migrant workers, we are always proud of what our families have contributed to this country. However, I should let Leo speak for himself as he has kindly given me permission to post his email to this blog. He also promises to send some photos.

Hello Linda,

My name is Leo Di Rocco and I saw your web page at least a year ago. I was just surfing the net and came across it. I must say I was impressed. I sent you a lengthy message but I believe you did not receive it. My brother recently contacted you and I hope this email finds you well. You appear to have the same sentiment about your fathers involvement with EPT as we do. EPT played a huge role in our family. My dad Donato Di Rocco (operaio specializato) started working with SAE in 1938 before the second world war and in 1951 together with my uncle Camillo Di Rocco (cuoco) came to Australia with EPT, they were part of the original 20 man contingent that arrived and undertook to build transmission lines. They endured many hardships but under all conditions they did not falter and the job got done. They were part of a greater family which was EPT, the modus operandi was set and the company flourished due to the attitude of these men including your dad..

To undertake and tell their story would be a huge task. The men that made up EPT were very unique they were given tasks, opportunity to prove themselves and gave all their ability to criss cross this country and put transmission lines through sometimes very difficult and dangerous places. Rain, hail and/or shine the line went through. The Australian Government at the time gave this team an opportunity to build and they did..A group of men mainly Italian were creative and specialised in setting up new procedures in making the building of transmission lines easier faster and safer.Although at times they had to rely on pure muscle power to get the job done they were undeterred.. I was with EPT as a young graduate engineer the construction manager told me, and I have never forgotten this "Men are not good for nothing they are good for something we need to find out what that is"..

EPT become and was a force in the construction industry it had a very large fleet of vehicles, specialised construction equipment and plant along with an enviable fleet of cranes of every shape, size and capacity.

The years between 1951 and 1980 were the formative years, the ensuing years to 1988 saw the demise as the company could no longer exist in its shape in a changing economic climate, well at least that is what the powers to be led us to believe . I remember as a youngster riding alongside my dad in world war two surplus jeeps and trucks that were used in construction. He would take me from Marayong depot too Dural or Bonnyrig i got a real buzz out of that and my dad telling me to study and get some qualifications or I would have to work hard to make a living, all I was thinking was this life would be for me, wide open spaces. My uncle would prepare a good Traditional italian meal (pasta asciutta and steak for seconds) for the many men that returned from a solid days work. You need to keep the troops fed. EPT camps were fitted out with great kitchens, food was plentiful (the list of food would be to long to describe but just think of a good delicatessen or the buffet breakfast at the hilton) at breakfast there was a variety of foods to eat and one knew to pack a good lunch as the day was going to be long and hard..

Unfortunately the corporate mentality crept in, greed, asset stripping and all value of the past forgotten brought in the demise of Oriolos EPT. I for one experienced the fraternity that existed it is something one cannot forget and it will be difficult to recreate. The chapel on the hill still exists but it fights for its existence, it serves the Italian community of Blacktown, the Italian community that was brought together because of EPT. Inside the church are two plaques that list all the people that died during their service with the company, this in itself is unheard of only men that fight in wars end up on a monument in the town square the resided in before going to war... A company with its own chapel and priest... Many of the older guys of EPT have passed away but many who are in their eighties reflect and talk about their experiences fondly.

There must be hundreds of photographs layng in personal albums... It would be a huge project to bring all the information together but it could be a worthwhile outcome for someone to put it all together.. Anyhow, although I did not know your dad, yourself or his family I feel that I do know you and I do understand how you feel and rightly so we share proudly in their contributions.

Leo Di Rocco

17 February 2010

Another child of EPT

This week, I received a message via facebook from a man who wondered whether our respective fathers had worked together in Sydney. Even though I've received only a small number of messages from people who have had some involvement in EPT, I didn't anticipate that the Transmission Lines project would result in any networking among the children of former EPT workers, both in Australia and overseas.

In the message, the sender explained that his father worked at EPT and his uncle was a cook in the outer Sydney camp at Marayong, where my father lived for a couple of years. The cooks in these camps played a vital role and I remember my father often talking about the camp cooks and the good food he and his fellow workers enjoyed.

I'll investigate this story with my mother who, after marriage, sometimes lived in the camps as well, working in the kitchen. If memory serves, I believe she was living at Marayong and that an EPT cook was responsible for teaching her how to cook.