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.

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

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