Even after completing 47 years in the power industry, retired ETU member Domenic Luvara misses getting up and going to work.
Domenic came to Melbourne from Italy in 1964, and a year later started as an Underground Assistant Cable Joiner in Footscray. A couple of years on, a shop steward sat next to him in the caravan and explained the benefits of being a member of the ETU.
‘It seemed like a good thing to me, and I’ve been in ever since,’ Domenic told The ETU as he reflected on his 45-year membership of the Union.
Power companies’ name changes make heads spin
From Footscray, Domenic then moved across to Richmond, where he undertook further training as a cable joiner. However, an opportunity arose to take on an Overhead Mains Linesman’s spot closer to home in Moonee Ponds, so he transferred there.
After taking the Linesman courses, Domenic eventually achieved an A-Grade qualification. He spent eight years as a supervisor and 37 years as a crew leader.
And while his work and the base location (Depot 7, Moonee Ponds) have always remained the same, Domenic has found it hard to keep up with his employer’s incessant name changes: first the original SEC; then, in order, Solaris, North West, AGL, Agility, and finally, Jemena.
Getting Canberra back online
When bushfires devastated the outskirts of Canberra in mid January 2003, Domenic was among the volunteers who went up there to help restore the capital’s power and repair its lines.
‘We were so good at it,’ he recalls, ‘they had us back for a few years afterwards to maintain the lines.
‘The trouble was, it was all ladder work, as the lines were over the back fences of houses, not in the street. It meant that sometimes we had to lug our gear through people’s homes to get the work done.’
Plenty going on with the family
A keen Geelong supporter, Domenic says he now spends more time watching local Essendon Districts League footy, where his sons have distinguished themselves. During the week, while he misses the blokes on the job, Domenic finds himself busy enough being a house-husband.
'My wife looked after me all those years – I didn’t have to do a thing. Now it’s my turn to look after her.’
He still finds time to grow a few vegetables, and particularly looks forward to Sundays, when his daughter, three sons and two grandchildren (‘plus one on the way’) come over to share a meal at home.