My Dad found work at the Ordish Brickworks on Stud Road, Dandenong a few weeks after he had arrived in Australia in June 1962. He worked there for about a year, but he was hearing everyone talking about this new factory called Australian Window Glass which later turned into Pilkington. He went to enquire and got the job and he loved it. It was also paying a lot more money.
Dad still didn't have his licence after Mum and Dad married so for many years he would have to walk to work. It was over an hour each way from Gloria Avenue, Dandenong to Greens Road, Dandenong South. Occasionally he would get a lift, but as he did shift work, it was a little tricky.
I recently asked Mum the route Dad would take. She said it was heartbreaking for her to see him go, but there was no other choice. She said that he would walk from our home in Gloria Avenue to Cleeland Street and then onto Lonsdale Street. Then he would continue onto the Princes Hwy and take the Sth Gippsland Hwy all the way until he hit Greens Road and then he would turn right to get to Pilkington. I really wanted to walk the route he took just to see if I could make it, but I haven't as yet. I was looking for someone to do it with me and my Luke said that he might one day. I'm so proud of my Dad.
He worked there for over 35 years and saw many changes in the glass industry. His bosses loved him as he was such a great worker and always gave 101%. Even though it is now called Viridian, they have a club called the Silverthread's where they invite staff that gave over 25 years at Pilkington. I recently found a newsletter called the 'The Looking Glass' where they would do a profile on a staff member. When they interviewed Dad, he had wished to stay healthy and win tattslotto, but sadly neither of them came true.
Another magazine that I have which Dad had also given to me was called 'Talk About' from 1983. One of the photos shows an earlier photo of Dad's section of the plant receiving a beautiful glass serving plate. I just recently found out that it was a safety award gift as they had recorded an accident free year.
In 1963, Dad remembers catching the train to go to a festival everyone was talking about. It was Moomba and there were lots of migrants there with their finest clothes on. Across the road is the Royal Botanical Gardens and a photo shows Dad relaxing on the lawn with the Sidney Myer Music Bowl behind him.
I love the photo of my Dad when he first arrived in Australia, living at Giustina's house in George Street, Dandenong. I remember the blanket on his bed and the radio/record player we used to listen to when we were little. Dad gave it to my brother Frank as he had always wanted it one day. You can also see under the bed is the suitcase that he came over from Italy with. Dad eventually moved to an all boys boarding house at 64 Scott St, Dandenong. They had to cook and wash for themselves, but he never complained. He had lots of friends, especially Giovanni and they did lots of things together. I never ever knew that Dad had ever been on a motorbike.
Dad would go where his friends would take him as he didn't have a car. During the Australia Day long weekend in 1965, they went to Frankston beach and had an absolute ball. They would all look out for their future love and later that day, Dad was introduced to my Mum, Nara De Santis.