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.

05 January 2012

Pilgrimage to Marayong

From Matthew Quomi

I made a pilgrimage to Marayong, deep into western Sydney. I easily found the E.P.T. chapel incongruously hidden in a small industrial estate, within walking distance of the Marayong train station. I parked on the street, just in front of the church and as I got out my mind started to spiral back over time to fifty (50) years ago. I tried to contemplate what it was like when E.P.T. first arrived; why did E.P.T. select that particular site, what did the Italian workers think about their new surroundings and what did the locals feel towards these migrants. Through some of Sig. Venturi’s photographs that I saw on your blog, I have an appreciation for the physicality of the site however it is impossible to recognise it today. Socially Marayong has changed dramatically and what I saw yesterday was a suburb which is in desperate need to some love and attention from the government. The pocket of Marayong that I visited felt abandoned. It was quite sad.

However amongst the industrial building and adjacent to the rear of the property on which the chapel resides and being an architect, I found a curiously sited, solidly built, red brick house. The building has long since seen better times however in its day it would have been an extremely elegant and prestigious home. The building is now utilised as an office for a small powdercoating business which operates out of a small factory of similar age at the rear of the site. This factory building is accessed by a driveway down the western boundary of the site. As I was taking photographs, a multicoloured vehicle with part of an old ute mounted on its roof, slowly drove drown the driveway and with suspicion, observed my movements. As I attempted to depart in my car, my egress from the street blocked as the strange vehicle cut off my access. I then tentatively put down my window and proceeded to be questioned by the two (2) interesting characters inside the vehicle. After I convinced them that I was a good person and was not from the NSW Police of the local Council, they cleared my path to leave. However I then started to question them and as it turns out, it seems that they lease the subject premises from the current Indian owners. These two (2) guys then mentioned that they remembered hearing stories from a couple of the local elders at the local pub of the “power company” that used to own and operate a large business on all the surrounding property and were responsible for building the chapel. They then added that “Transfield had bought the company” and that the red brick house was full of marble. I asked if I could have a look through the property to which they replied, “no worries, just say that Ray said that it was ok.” We then said goodbye and in their unusual looking vehicle, the two (2) men departed in a northerly direction towards Marayong train station. I parked my car again and approached the side driveway on foot.

As I approached, my attention was caught by another man standing at the entry to the site in overalls, who it seemed had been observing my confrontation on the corner. As we made eye contact, he made me aware that “those two are mad.” I acknowledged his comment with a smile and made my way up the driveway which was strewn with all types of things such as old cars, a forklift, lengths of steel tube on racks, 40 gallon drums, etc. Since I didn’t know where to go to announce my arrival on site, the open roller door to the rear factory seemed like a good place to start. However as I entered the building, the two (2) men working there seemed oblivious to my presence. Obviously the consent given to me by the man who identified himself as Ray didn’t mean much to the two workers who were happy to ignore my presence. I walked around the building and again using my architect’s eye, I noticed that the steel angle used for the roof trusses looked remarkably similar to the gauge used for transmission line towers. As I exited the building to the courtyard which separates the factory and the red brick house, I again met the character in overalls. I asked if I could look inside the house and he said that the ground floor was open and that I could find the secretary inside. Upon opening the screen door, I bumped into the friendly secretary who was a thin, chain smoking, blonde haired, fifty (50) or so year old woman who was scantily clothed in tight jeans and a singlet, which left absolutely nothing to the imagination. She welcomed me into the office which even though it was extremely dilapidated, I discovered some wonderfully beautiful terrazzo floors. Unfortunately she couldn’t access the first floor but she said that it could be organised by Ray, who it seems is the head of that peculiar organisation.

Therefore considering its age, design and vicinity to the chapel, I wondered whether these two (2) two buildings were built by E.P.T. to form part of the Marayong complex. I have attached a few images which illustrate my memorable adventure. Ray said that I am welcome to visit at any time and that I should track down a local by the name of Dave at the local pub. Apparently this Dave character has lived in the area for over forty (40) and therefore will definitely be able to assist with my research. I was hoping that through your blog, some of my questions could be answered. Maybe some of the people who have connected you may be able to recognize the building.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The building was built by Mr. Assanti, he was from Calabria. The house is where the family lived and the rear warehouse was the bakery. This bakery supplied a good quality Italian style crusty bread and serviced the local area and the EPT mess hall.The home and warehouse was not part of EPT.
Leo Di Rocco