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.


Transmission Lines 1955 – 1974 is a project that documents my father’s working life as a rigger and linesman with the Electric Power Transmission Pty Ltd. This blog accompanies a number of content sharing and social networking efforts to archive and present this story.

Transmission Lines 1955 - 1974 was commissioned and presented as part of the Freestyle Books exhibition at the State Library of Queensland. The exhibition featured artists' books from the collection and explored means and methods of redefining the book as a contemporary artwork including engagement with new media.

My father, Quinto Carroli, kept a photographic record of his working life and the photographs featured in this map are his personal photographs from various transmission line projects around Australia and Italy in the period 1955 to 1974. His migration to Australia in 1956, to work on electrification projects, was sponsored by the company.

The photographic record is far from complete and I have also used other sources in the compilation of this work. Those sources are an oral history interview conducted with my father in 1993 and a map produced by him on which he used drawing pins to mark out the transmission line projects he worked on. The map has remained in place and intact in my family’s home for more than 20 years in suburban Brisbane.

Transmission Lines 1955 – 1974 is a personal history and a personal account of creating a story. In compiling the information, I realised there were many gaps, especially dates, and these gaps become part of the story by provoking questions and assumptions. The postwar electrification projects, powered predominantly by migrant labour, were essential for building and modernising this nation.

Migrant workers, in photographic and historical records, are often unnamed and anonymous. My father wrote place names, dates and voltage on many of the photographs. English wasn't his first language so many of the place names are incorrectly spelled.

For me, it is vital to avoid objectifying my family history or emptying out my family life for public scrutiny as some kind of object lesson in what ‘seeking a better life’ meant for migrants. So I have negotiated some boundaries in this process, particularly in terms of thinking about public life and, so, there are very few pictures of my father in this work. Transmission Lines 1955 – 1974 is about drawing attention to the work and its magnitude; a legacy of hard work. I also searched Picture Australia, which includes documentation of transmission projects, but was unable to verify if my father worked on any of these projects. However, I have linked to some of those photographs to add other perspectives to the work.

As a writer, I am always concerned with narrative and form. I enjoy the fragmented, the partial, the open and the incomplete. I am concerned with and explore the environments of publishing. In these explorations, I am acutely aware of questions and propositions surrounding media specificity and remediation. While I am certainly not immune to the charm and lure of books, I am keen to ensure that our thinking about artist publishing and the sort of experimentation this enables does not end with the book.

And maps? These tell stories too. They instruct and enthral. They help us find our way.

The web environment is increasingly becoming more open, social and accessible. It provides new opportunities for everyone to create, participate in and share stories. For this reason, Transmission Lines 1955 – 1974 endeavours to be an open work and a work in progress and I will continue to develop it as more information comes my way or as I encounter new ways of telling the story through this remarkable web environment. Pieces of this work have been distributed around and through various online content sharing platforms such as photo sharing, social networking, mapping and others.

While my initial intention was to document my father's story, former EPT workers and their families have found the site and kindly shared their own histories, photos, documents and films. It goes to show that history is collective and social. The site has grown as a socially networked history. All these stories are important and provide personal insights and perspectives into so many aspects of Australian history from migration to electrification.

Linda Carroli

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