Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Australia affordable houses,

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Because a simple small house like this one, would be more affordable than a large one, it will attract more buyers than a large and well decorated house, that is why even today there are builders that will build small houses instead of large houses.  

Welcome to my article, Australia affordable houses

Dear readers, as I have said in our last blog, I was working building these affordable houses. In those times, new affordable houses were built on the fringe of the city in new suburbs, which is the same as today, if you want a new affordable house, you must look for it, in the new suburbs.   We were also talking about earning and saving money, one of the aims for saving money is to buy our own house. So, let us talk the houses that we can afford.

As we know, houses are not all the same. Of course, we want to live in the best houses available, but most of us cannot afford expensive houses, therefore, we should be happy to live in any house that we can afford to buy or rent.

For this reason of affordability, to satisfy the house supply market, there are several types of house that are being built at any given time. In this article, we are going to talk about the type of houses that I ended up working on, in the early sixties. Because this article is meant to cover the story of my life, and what I did for a living.

In the early sixties, I ended up working on average houses that the working class could afford to buy, or at least the aim of the builders that were building them, was based in this affordability, since they had designed them with this purpose, because in the end, even though they had been built cheap not all of us workers would afford to buy these types of houses. But anyhow this was the purpose of building these types of affordable houses in the early sixties.

Now let us try to describe how we were building these houses from scratch.

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Building houses from scratch

Anyhow, I am writing these articles about building houses from scratch, because I want to tell you the story of my life, and what I did when I came to Australia. But at the same time, I want to write something useful for my readers, and I believe that knowing how houses are built is useful to know, since knowing a few things about building houses comes handy at times; you see, we live in houses, therefore, we want to know as much as we can about them. Because we need to know how to do it yourself repairs and other things, since houses need to be maintained, if we want to enjoy them fully. So, I am going to describe how these houses were built, with as many details as I can, so that anyone interested can learn something useful from these building articles.

Now has I have explained in our last article, I was working in the building industry with this Italian builder, which was good for me because my native language is Italian. Now, with this builder not only we were re-stumping or building rooms under the existing houses, which required a lot of work to be done by hand, but we were building new houses from scratch. As I have said at the beginning of the sixties most of the digging were done by hand, specially the type of work that we were doing on these new houses, as machines were expensive to hire then, So, they were used only, if there was a lot of digging to be done, and with the machines of those days we could only dig straight forward things and not small detailed digging, as they were required to build these houses, anyhow as I said, I did a lot of this digging work myself, as I was employed as builder labor, and this was one of the jobs that I had to do.

Therefore now, let us imagine that I have finished digging the foundation and these stump holes for this new house, and now, we need to lay concrete in the foundation, and to concrete the stumps foundation and the stumps themselves. So, let us go over what we had to do, because in those times these things were all done by hand and started from scratch.

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 Making your own concrete.  

Making your own concrete on site from scratch. Anyhow today you might think that this is an old way of mixing concrete, and it may not be used much. But if you happen to be in the middle of  nowhere, this is what you need to know to make concrete. 

So, let me explain, what is meant by concrete in buildings and how it is made You see, if during your life, you are going to do renovations, it is useful to know how to make your own concrete, so that you understand what is required and how and why it must be done in certain ways, you will find this information written in this article. Some people can say that today things are different, so why bother to tell us this stuff about how to mix concrete properly, when we can buy concrete ready mixed by truckload, or in bags and all you need to do is to add water to make concrete. I say, okay, you can do that. But there are times and places, when you must do these things the old way.

Therefore, I believe that you still need to know how concrete is made from scratch, because that is the only way if you don’t want to make mistakes. Therefore, let me tell you how we were mixing our concrete in the sixties, and what is required to do that and how it is supposed to be done, if you want a good job done and the concrete to last a long time.

By the way, here we need to clarify one thing, what is meant by the word concrete, because most people replace it with the word cement. On building sites, the word concrete means the element mixed together able to harden to a solid consistency within a certain length of time, therefore, it has got to be done the right way.

One of the most important things while mixing concrete is that the concrete must be well mixed and to a workable consistency using the least amount of water possible, because if too much water is used then the concrete becomes weaker, therefore, it must be done properly.

Usually concreting and other jobs are done according to its specifications, you see, any firm that makes building plans, for a house or something of more importance, they must write also the specification how the job needs to be done. In these specifications it will be written what material to use, how to use it and the quantity and quality required. Therefore, to concrete a foundation for an average small house, the specification could state that the concrete must be mixed to a consistency at least 1 to 6; for people that knew this it meant that to mix the concrete you should use 1 part of Portland cement 2 parts of river sand and 4 parts of gravel (aggregate) and mix it as required until an even consistency is achieved. For the stumps usually would be a bit more cement than the foundations. But I must say that sometimes even these rules had to be changed a bit depending on the material that can be delivered on that local site.

Now let us say that we are ready to start mixing the first batch of concrete, as we have made everything ready, and everything has been delivered. To make concrete you need at least four elements of materials plus clean water; 1 Portland cement, 2 washed river sand, 3 clean or washed gravel and 4 reinforcement steel rods, and it is helpful if you have a mixer if you have to mix a large amount of concrete, because to mix by hand is hard work and the concrete needs to be well mixed.

Now let us start the mixer and make the first batch, while the mixer is turning around, the very first thing you put in the mixer is water, one must be careful not to put too much water to start with, it has got to be just enough to mix everything to a certain consistency, so let us say that we put 8 litres of water (the amount of water can be different, since it depends on the amount of water that is already in the (sand gravel) aggregate) then we put in the mixer cement, next is the river sand twice as much as the cement and then the clean gravel 4 time as much as the cement; here the mixer is going around and mixing everything together.

Please note, that if you change the way you put your materials in the mixer, from what I have described above, you may have different result, and usually it would take longer to mix everything properly and to the right consistency.

For people that do this job all the time it is easy for them to see if the concrete that is being mixed has the right consistency required, once you know this, if it is too dry just add a bit of water and if it is too wet you should add a bit of everything else. There you are it is not too hard if you know how to do it.

What I have written above applies only to house building of less importance, for building that are large and important the concrete needs to be to a very high standard and specifications, so, here again you need to know what is needed before you do anything, and if necessary consult the expert. 

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Concrete requires teamwork. 

To concrete well and do a fair amount of work on these houses you need a team, even if it is a small team. Our team was usually three of us, I as builder labor, John as bricklayer and Con the contractor who was a bricklayer and concreted. We didn’t mind if we switched around a bit to do the job. So, I was usually on the mixer mixing the concrete, one was with a wheelbarrow taking the concrete from the mixer to the foundations that we were concreting, and one was fixing the concrete in place.

Fixing the concrete for the foundation was physically the lightest job, when we were mixing the concrete with this mixer on site, but it is the most responsible job, because while concreting the foundations, you must make sure that the steel rods reinforcement was in the right position, at the same time you had to pack the concrete down and then the concrete in the foundations has to be finished level, this was easy when the ground was level, but when the ground was not level, it was necessary that steps were made and they had to be to gauge, which was equal to the thickness of one or two laid bricks or more, or the thickness of a laid block, if blocks were going to be used to build the walls on this foundation, whatever was going to be used to lay on the foundations, we had to try to make an adjustment while we were laying the foundations; therefore, this was the job for the experts, at that time it was not that hard, because mixing by hand even using a mixer was a slow job, so, the bloke that was fixing the concrete had enough time to do his job right.

What I have written above is how we used to lay small house foundations in the early sixties, which are the same as we lay foundations today, except that today we order concrete already mixed, but we have to be ready with everything and everything has got to be in the right place, because the concrete ready-mix truck will unload its concrete quickly, so, there is no time to do anything else, except to fix the concrete at the right level as quickly as possible.

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Concreting stumps on site

Now let me go back again to the early sixties, when we were concreting these stumps on site, this procedure is not done much today, the reasons for this change it is because the buildings have changed, and today these stumps can be made in a concrete factory, and when cured can be delivered to the building site, where the worker can erect them as required.

To concrete these stumps on site we had steel forms of various length, and these forms were assembled together with steel pins, so, we would assemble these steel forms and then start to mix concrete, we had also make sure that the stumps foundations were exactly in the right place by using the marked profiles and tight line between them.

In this case, it was an easy job for the fellow that is mixing concrete, but a lot harder for the blokes that had to pour the concrete in the stumps form-work and make sure that the stump was exactly in the right place and finished at the right height and were also plumb (perfect vertical position). It was also necessary that some reinforcing rods were placed in the right position with a purpose made devise. These are how we made those onsite stumps in the sixties.

These concrete stumps that we made in the sixties were better that the timber stumps that they were replacing, because it was an improvement as they did not rot with the passing of time and the white ants could not eat them. Here we can say that these concrete stumps on site were easy to make, if you knew the procedure, in fact it was easier to make a set of stumps than to fix concrete stumps made in the factory, as there is no heavy lifting involved.

I believe that we have said enough in this article, as we have explained the work that we did on these affordable houses and we will be coming back to talk about more building work in our next article, house building in Brisbane. See you soon.

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Monday, January 18, 2021

Money and working with this Italian builder.

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The workers cottage, this house can be said that is a much smaller version on the Queenslander house

Learning how to earn and save money

Now let us go back to talk about money, as we were sating in our last post . Whatever you do in life, the most important thing is; Earning and saving money. In my case, because there was uncertainty of not having a permanent job in the building industry, we soon learned that whatever money we earned from our job, we had to save some, otherwise we could have problems soon or later; so, this disadvantage that we had in this job pushed most of us building workers to become good at saving money, because we wanted to feel safe and independent.

So, let me talk about money. In Australia because the economy is based on capitalism the more money you can earn and save the better off you are; of course, this is also true to most other part of the world, but in Australia seems to be more so, because it is a new country, and people rely more on what they can earn than anywhere else in the world. This is because there are not existing reach families that live on the earnings of the properties that have been passed down from generation to generations. Therefore, in Australia is mostly up to yourself, if you want to get richer, you should try harder to earn and save money. You see, most of the people here, have earned their own money.

Therefore, we must understand that in Australia, not only you have to try to earn money, but it is important that you should save it too, and at the same time you have to try to improve your working position, so, you can be more independent and not rely on others. This attitude can help if it happens that you lose your temporary job, and also by saving money you can start one day buying your own house, which is the most important thing that people must do, if they want to live an independent decent life. I know now that most of you are saying that this buying a house is a hard thing to do, but you see, this can be done because I have done it myself.

Anyhow, I believe that I have said enough about this money business; so, let me go back to tell you, my progress in the building industry and what I did to become a tradesman.

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Working for this builder

Working and learning with this small Italian builder

Dear readers, in these articles, while I am telling you the story about myself working in the Australian building industry, I am going to try to give you details of how things were done in those days; therefore, if you are one of those people that want to do your own building renovations one day, on those building that we built then, you can somehow guess what you can find, because you already know how we built them.

Now let me go back to when I started work with this Italian builder, who did bricklaying and concreting, we were working on houses and because there was not enough bricklaying work on these houses, as they were mostly built with timber, we were building only the foundations, the concrete stumps and some brickwork as the base of the house. Of course, we did also some jobs under the existing houses and this has given me an opportunity to learn many things about those old houses in Brisbane.

Just for comparison sake, to see the difference between those times and today, let me describe to you what we did to prepare a new base for a new timber house, which would be setting on concrete stumps and some brick walls.

First of all, we went to set up the site, if it was not set up from the builder or carpenter that was building the timber house. This setting up required that we should fix some timber frame to the ground with pegs and per the measurement in the plan. These timber frames are called profiles, and they are marked accurately to the measurement on the plan, so that we had the right measurement to go by, to start digging the foundations for the stumps and brick walls.

Then we had to dig the foundations and this was mostly my job as I was the labour and I was pretty good at digging, this may seem hard to believe but even digging one has to be an expert to do a good job, as the shape and depth of the foundations is important to do a good job. Just to show you what I mean to dig a hole for a new concrete stump, 20x20 centimetres as most stumps were supposed to be; the hole for this stump should be in exactly the right place, it should be at least sixty centimetres deep in natural ground and at the bottom should have a circumference of at least 40 centimetres or more. These were the average specifications then, unless it was stated otherwise. I know this because I have dug several hundreds of them if not thousands.

All the tools that I needed to do this digging job were a pick a post hole shovel and a crowbar, it usually would take me a couple of days to dig the entire house holes, which could usually be between twenty and thirty holes. You see I was able to dig a hole in less than half an hour, but it was hard work. Sometimes when there was some brickwork to do, we had also to dig these foundations by hand; the foundations were usually dug according to specification, which usually would be 60 centimetre deep in the natural ground, this means that if the grounds had been filled up that filling should not be counted as depth.

Anyhow, before I finish writing this article, I want to say that those houses that we were building in the sixties, with this builder contractor that I was working for, they were average affordable house that the average family could afford to buy, and therefore, they were sold easily.

Now, I believe that I have said enough in this article and although there is a lot more that can be said, we are going to tell you in our next article, which is going to be about how we made those concrete stumps on site, while we were working on these,   Australia affordable houses              .

See you soon.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Australian housing industry

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Taken from our Hub Pages article Australian building industry



This type of house were built id the sixties. Today they are being renewed.  

Dear readers, we have said that we are going to write about DIY brickwork and other building things, which we believe can help people that are willing to try DIY small building or repairs, but first let me explain how I acquired that knowledge myself.

When I came to Australia in the sixties I ended up working in the building industry, we were working mainly on fixing old houses, or building new house from scratch, units and warehouses, so, I ended up learning how lots of building things were done, in the end I became a bricklayer, and have worked most of my life as a bricklayer.

Anyhow, in this article we are going to write about; the Australian housing industry in the sixties; Working in the Australian housing and building industry; Earning and saving money if you can; and Working with this Italian builder.

We believe that the Australian housing and building industry, is one of the major employment industries in Australia, you can say that this is so in other countries. But I believe that in other countries building new houses is not as important as it is in Australia. One of the reasons for this is that Australia is a new country, it needs and takes in many emigrants. In the sixties Australia was taking emigrants in a regulated way, now because the population grows steadily also accommodation need to grow steadily, therefore, new houses need to be built to keep a steady balance. This building of new houses gives opportunities for the newcomers to be employed, since there is manual work involved, therefore, a healthy cycle is created; but even with these opportunities the building industry has its ups and down, as we know. So, let us talk about it and try to make sense, if we can.  

You know, the housing building industry and real estate work together to complete the cycle of supplying to the public what is needed, so, both have their ups and downs and it cannot be avoided. It could have been helpful if one could foretell what is going to happen next year, on the housing market, but it is not possible to guess what is going to happen in the future. If people can know this, then they could make money, since they could invest their money at the right time.

Now, for those buying a house and saving to buy a house. We are going to write another article about buying houses, because now I want to tell my story about working in the building industry, building houses.

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Working in the building industry

As I have said, when I came to Australia from Italy, I ended up working in the building industry. Now let me explain this working position, working on building in Australia is a temporary job, because even the employer is subject to the same opportunities of work and he cannot help it, therefore, one is never sure what is going to happen next, when the job you are working on is finished, therefore, there were concerns about our employment status, so, we kept asking ourselves, whether our employer would get another job to do, before we finished the one we were doing, but even though we were thinking that, we still worked hard to finish the job on hand, as soon as possible, because to find work you had to be competitive.

Well I should say that although this small Italian builder did lots of small jobs, it did work out all right most times, so, we were able to move from one job to another all-around Brisbane and to other close by town/s. Of course, this would cause worries if you had no transport of your own and you had to rely on some friends or the employer to take you on the work site, where the building was going to be built, but we managed somehow.

I remember that there were times, when I had to get up early and catch the first tram to the city, and then I had to catch the second tram to another suburb, where the builder would pick me up and drive me to the onsite job, in the evening after eight hours or more of hard work, I had to go back home, which took again a long time, but anyhow we managed all right, after all we were here in Australia to earn money, so, as long as we had a job to go to and earn money, we were happy to do that. You see, on building sites workers can earn above other people wages, but there was this uncertainty because there was no guaranty that the work would last, and it also was hard work all day long.

Anyhow, it was a good job with good opportunities to learn and improve your knowledge of building something yourself. You see, in those times we could improve our working and earning position more easily than today; it was possible then because a lot of things were simple, and therefore, they could be done just by using your common sense. Of course, there were always inspections from local authorities to follow, but once you knew what it was required they were easy to follow, if you used your brains diligently, therefore, we should say that we had more opportunities then compared to today opportunities. I believe that it was so, because the building we were building were small houses, so, if you were a tradesman, you most likely could be the builder as well.

Having said that, now let us see, how this type of work affected us newcomers money-wise. However, this post is already long enough, so, see you in our next post, where we talk about money and working for this Italian builder.     

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Australia building industry

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taken from our article Is Australia the land of opportunity?





Jobs in Australia in the sixties 

As I have said, my first job in Australia was in the building industry, because I ended up working as a bricklayer’s labour, but I lost that job for a couple of reasons. I believe that I lost the first job, because I didn’t know English and at the same time, I had no experience in the sort of work we were doing, and for that reason I could not guess what they wanted me to do next. After that I had another job which ended very much the same way; but then one day suddenly a small Italian builder needed a labour and he knew that I was available, so he came to fetch me and asked if I would be interested to work for him, and this is how I ended up working in the building industry, I worked for this builder for about two years, but then he went on holiday to Italy for a long time, therefore, he temporary closed down the business, but by then the Italian building community new about me, so, in a few days I had another job to go to, always in the building industry with another builder or contractors working as a bricklayer labour.

You see in those times there was a lot more work for people wanting to work, but at the same time we knew that we had to work hard because there was a lot of competition going on even in those days, so, what could we say if we work hard for it, we would always find somebody that would give us work, because we earned our wage plus a bit more for the employer. This is how I understood the ways of earning your living in this capitalist society, which is based on competition and you are paid with what you deliver. Now, we have to say that this capitalist way is very good, if the workers are not pushed beyond their physical capacity. But let us compare those times with our present times.   

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Compare the old ways with the new

Here we want to compare the opportunities that we had, when we came in Australia in the sixties as emigrant, to the opportunities of the illegal migrants that arrive by boat uninvited.

So, we need to compare what we had to do to come to Australia in the sixties, with what is happening today with illegal emigration, to spot the reasons why things don’t work as good as they used to work, for the emigrants.

You see, when I and the other emigrants wanted to come to Australia during the sixties, we had to be screened before we could have a visa that would allow us to come to Australia and work.

This screening was strict, as they did not want anybody that could become sick, so, we had to go through a medical check, and there was another stricter check about being legally of good character, even if you had ever had trouble with the police, in fact, they were so strict about this that if one had been involved with the communist party, by saying that you would vote for the communist party, you would not be allowed to come to Australia.

I hope that I have explained how strict they were then, before they gave you a visa to come to work in Australia. Anyhow, I can say that this screening the emigrants was a good thing after all, because after that it was a lot easier when you were in Australia, since they knew everything that they needed to know, so, the authorities were more relaxed. As I have said, when I went to the unemployment office even though I did not speak much English they did everything possible to find me a job, and if they could not find us a job soon enough, they would pay us the unemployment benefit.

Anyhow, from my own experience, I can say that anyone that has come to Australia and has seen Australia the same way that I have seen it, they know that Australia is a great country to live in; and if there is somebody that does not like Australia, it must be because they have their own personal problems and they are home sick, or they are unwilling to work hard.

Today Australia does not seem to be as good as it was when I came to Australia, because there are more unemployed people, and it is hard for people to find permanent work. But in my eyes, it is still okay, you need to be more patient until you find a job.

But my impression about Australia is this; anyone that sees Australia the way that I saw it when I came here, would fall in love with the Australian ways of living. Now we can say that today it is not as good as it used to be, but we are still good compared to other countries. So, we want to conclude this article by saying that Australia can be still the land of opportunities, if the people that come here come with the intention of working hard, as we have been working in the past, they should not come with the intention of ripping us off, because they want to have an easy life for themselves.

Now, because today a lot of things are different, most of all the difference that exists between screened legal emigrant, and those emigrants that come illegally and the authorities don’t know anything about them. So, a comparison between these emigrants is not possible. Therefore, measuring the opportunities that exist is not possible either.  

Anyhow this article is becoming too long, so, see you next time with another article called; Australian building industry, where we will be continuing to tell you my life story and what I have done in Australia to earn a living. See you there.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Genzano is now a red zone

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Today the town of Genzano the lucania looks a different town. Because of the corona-virus pandemic, this town looks like a ghost town



This church is one of the main church of this town, but there is nobody to be seen. 

The ancient fountain la Cavallina is just the same there is nobody to be seen. 

Genzano is a red zone

Genzano di Lucania zona rossa

Today Genzano di Lucania was mentioned in the national news, this small town is becoming important for the wrong reasons. You see, it has happened something that I cannot believe could ever happen. So, instead of posting articles from my life story as usual, we are posting what is happening in Genzano now, because Genzano di Lucania has become a red zone, due to the corona-virus positive cases. I am concerned for the people that are living there, but anyhow, let me see what I can write in this blog and if I can say something helpful. Anyhow, I am trying to paste some photos that I found on the internet, to show you what I mean.  


This photo here is the center of the town, there are always people around in normal times, but not today. The photo below is the same main street, we call is the corso, where most people use to walk about and chat to their friends at normal times. 

 

Looking at the photos in Facebook with no people around scares me, because Genzano looks like a ghost town. 


The army has come to Genzano to stop people moving around, the photo above are their vehicles, and two photos below are the signs and this huge thing to bloc the road. 





The people are protesting by attaching these signs on the villa boundary, but will they help, nobody knows. Photo below is the other side of the villa, and again nobody is around.   


Having seen all this one must reflect, and and pray God this pandemic will soon be over and fade in the past, so, it can be only a story to tell, for the people that have lived through this pandemic times. We hope and pray god that it will be over soon. That is all I can say, see you next time when I write another blog. 

Friday, November 6, 2020

But is Australia still the land of opportunity

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This is a blog of a fellow from Genzano that migrated to Australia a long time ago. 

Today we are telling our life story, so, we are writing this blogs to tell our story, we hope that somebody will find it interesting enough to read it

Anyhow, let us talk if Australia is still the land of opportunities.

If I use my personal experience as a standard, then I can say that today in Australia work opportunities are not as good as they used to be. But then not everything is as it seems to me, because my judgment is that of a single person and therefore, I might be wrong.

So, let us try to see what has changed since I came to Australia. There are many things that have changed since then, because of the progress humanity has made and continues to make; therefore, working opportunities have changed, so, today it is a lot harder to find a manual job; this is due to the fact that we do not need as many hands to do a job as we used to in the past, because the hard labour is being done from machines, therefore, people that have no skills and rely on their physical strength to work are not required. For this reason, there are less jobs available, but if people have a trade or have studied there are working opportunities for them.

Now that we have explained how we see today working opportunities, allow me to go back to the days when I came to Australia, so that I can tell you what opportunities existed then. In order to understand what we are saying next; it is important to know that opportunities for jobs have high and lows of their own, therefore, this affects everybody around that are looking for work. 

Now let me tell you my experience when I came to Australia, because this is the way that we can compare the work opportunity situation.

Today this sounds an impossible achievement, but there have been times in Australia when everybody had a job, so, there was no unemployment at all, from stories that I have been told from people that were already here when I came, there have been times that the employers had not enough employees and they would go down to the wharfs when the ships arrived and select a few people that seemed good enough for them to do their jobs, therefore, in those days there were no unemployed people, but unfortunately those times do not last long, as I said working opportunities go up and down.

Now to compare those times with today’s’ opportunities, we are going to describe part of my own life story, therefore, what I found easy or hard to cope with when I came here, and how I was able to cope with the hardship of those times, until those things became solved, this is the way that I know how to compare and see, whether Australia is still the land of opportunities, so, let us see what opportunities were available then.

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What sort of opportunities were available in Australia?

What opportunities were available in Australia in the sixties?

When I arrived in Australia in March 1961 my relative and friends were all working, at the same time they were telling me that there were not many job vacancies available, so, I had to be patient until a job was available. But what sort of work I could do they were not sure just we had to wait and see, what I knew about working for other people was that if a job was offered to me I had to work hard, since in my country when we hired workers to work in our family farm, we expected them to work hard so that they would earn their pay, therefore, I was in my right frame of mind to go out and work hard, whatever job was offered would do me just fine. I have said this, because it is necessary to understand that whoever attempts to migrate to another country, he/she must be ready to work hard if they want to succeed, and it all boils down to this that you need to do a fair work day for fair daily pay.

Beside my willingness to work I was also young and fit enough to do any manual job that I was offered, the only problem was that I didn't speak English, I had learned perhaps a few words on the way to Australia while we were sailing, as there was an English teacher on the ship for that purpose. But as we know English is a hard language to learn, especially if one comes from a country that their language is phonetic and once you know some rules, one can read from a book and come close to the sound how those written words are pronounced, but English is not written phonetically, so, to learn English one must be exposed to the English speaking people and slowly learn from them, so, I and other emigrant like me had a lot to learn, before we could speak English well enough to look after ourselves, and to fit in the Australian speaking community.

Anyhow, let us tell you that although I had very little English, things turned out all right in the end, perhaps this is another reason why people think that Australia is still the land of opportunities.

For me when I came to Australia I was still thinking the Italian ways, so, I was thinking that I was on my own and I had to find my own way around, but here I had a pleasant surprise when for the first time some relative took me to see the unemployment office.

In Italy when you go to an Italian office if you want something done quickly you need to know somebody in there, otherwise before your turn comes the office hours are over and you have to come back the day after, so, I was wondering how could we succeed in these Australian offices, since I didn’t speak English and my friend was just a little bit better than me.

Anyhow we waited our turn and soon we were being interviewed from this middle aged man that seemed to have so much patience and understanding of the situation, he slowly worked out what we wanted by asking and repeating what we did not understand, and he noted everything down as he asked me many things to see what sort of job I could do, I remember even now that one of his questions was if I were afraid of heights and I said no, as I was going up some tall trees to prune them, he also asked if I knew anything about building or building maintenance, here again I said yes as we sometimes repair some farm building. I believe that these two things gave me the first job in the building industry, as I was called one day to go to work for the first time in Australia. My first job was that of a bricklayer labour, and we were working on a chimney stack in the brickwork's where bricks are made, which I managed to hold for a couple of weeks, until a bigger gang came and I became a bit confused in the middle of all those people, and I lost my first job for lack of knowledge or lack of understanding English. But anyhow I had my first work experience and I was sure that soon there was going to be another one.

Anyhow, I need to say that Australia is a great country to be in, because people are given their opportunities as they deserve, if you are willing to work hard for it.

And in the unemployment offices the officers are just great people to deal with, or at least they were when I came to Australia in the sixties. Now, I am going to talk about how I ended up working in the Australian building industry for good. 

This blog is already too long, so see you in our next post, Australia building industry. I know that what we are telling you are things that have happened in the past, but even the past has a story to tell. 

See you soon.  

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020


WELCOME TO FRANK MENCHISE BLOG OF GENZANO DI LUCANIA, YOU ARE INVITED TO BROWSE AS LONG AS YOU LIKE.

The town history and heritage

Looking at old history books, we must admit that there is not much written about Genzano di Lucania town history. However the myth says that Genzano is very old and it was named from a legend that tells us that a young guy called Iens (yens) fell in love and eloped with a young princes called San, they went to live in the caves in the chasm, which today are below the town of Genzano, and then, they started to build a small castle, where the old town of Genzano is now, the name is virtually the two name of the lovers put together Iens-san (yensan, or jenzan) I am saying this because I know that in strict dialect of the town even today it is pronounced Yenzan with no G at the beginning and no O at the end. I know I have said this before, but I want to explain it a bit more to make sense.

(For those people that can read Italian, I am going to paste here a couple of links that modern writers have written about the history of Genzano di Lucania: One writer has these two link, here, Arch. Pietrapertosa - Storia e dintorni - Genzano di Lucania, this writer has two links and both are very interesting,

http://ass-gentius.blogspot.it/ , let us hope they work)

Now let us talk about more recent history that a recent write has discovered in the archive of Potenza; this writer is Ettore Lorito and you can find his writings, if you follow the link of (scrittori e poeti, (as shown above)) one of the first times that Genzano is mentioned in the archives is that of two brothers Secondo and Donato who were Christian martyr in the year 258 AD, as they were beheaded in Genzano ordered from council Valeriano, which I guess was a Roman council for that part of Italy. This seems to be the oldest written record found written about Genzano history and not much else; so, let us go back to the Greek chasm story.

Because in this article we want to describe to you the chasm on the other side of Genzano that we call the Greek chasm, we have to say that this chasm starts about fifty meter from the fountain Cavallina, or perhaps I should say that at the beginning of the Greek chasm is where the fountain Cavallina is, then suddenly the chasm becomes very deep and a real chasm that is hard to go into it, and nobody goes there, unless you have to go there and know the way how to get there; anyhow this part of Genzano is called the Greek chasm, so, by this name it is understood that a very long time ago there must have been a colony of Greek people living there.

About the Greek people and whatever happened to them nobody knows today, as there is no trace of them and there are no records to check with. So, we are forced to assume that there was a war, or something like that and they were driven out. Or perhaps they mixed with the rest of the inhabitants of Genzano and nobody remembers, or perhaps, as time went by lots of other things happened that changed the shape of the chasm; so, it became impossible for them to live in the chasm, because of the erosion and other natural factors which slowly changed the shape of the chasm, and the use of the chasm, there might be other factors as well, but let us now talk about the more recent history of this place.