View Folio

I spent six years working with these men: in a factory making forms for concrete panels – the ones that are used in commercial construction everywhere. Cheap and quick to erect. The work was dirty and hard; the air filled with hostility: welds being ground off steel beds, the shouts of the pissed off foreman, the exasperated engineer, ripping power saws, the yelp of the overhead crane, the droning concrete vibrator, the flash of the welders arc; all amid noxious clouds of dust and smoke which rose through the cavernous factory. They came from all corners of the globe: Russia, Greece, Italy, Korea, China, Samoa, the Phillipines with a couple of Anglos thrown in for good measure. Many were on 457 visas, and disputes over pay and super were common. They approached their work on the whole with dignity, and bore the scars of their labour: the ruined backs, bung knees and mangled fingers, with equanimity. This is my tribute to them and the countless others like them.