Between the covers are ten gripping tales of migrant workers who brought the Tasmanian highlands to life in all its post-war uniqueness. With hope in their hearts they set out for a land half a world away. They came from Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Germany and England. They came often with nothing more than an old uniform and a blanket. They lived in tiny huts during their two-year contracts in villages called Butlers Gorge, Bronte Park, Tarraleah, Wayatinah and Waddamana.
The Hydro needed workers, particularly pick and shovel men, to transform an inhospitable landscape and build the dams and pipelines that would industrialise the state.
‘It was a mini-United Nations where the villages reverberated to the tunes of many languages. We wanted to prove we could be good citizens and good Australians.’ (Milan)
‘They came to build a hydro electric scheme and they stayed to build a community.’ (Frank Madill)
‘They constructed one of the largest projects ever undertaken in Australia. It produces twice as much electricity as does the Snowy Mountain scheme.’ Peter Rae AO, Chairman Hydro Tasmania 1993-2004.
They came from the ashes of Europe, some had fought side by side with the Australians at Tobruk, others had endured forced labour camps under the Germans and then the Soviets; all had suffered the horrors of war.
On the dark side there were suicides and depression but most of the men worked and lived hard, survived to move to other Tasmanian towns. They settled down and married. These people from the highland villages have remained lifetime friends. Many are among the best-known of Tasmanians with numerous awards and achievements. They are proof that humans can endure atrocity, build a new life, and keep giving to their communities.
‘Echoes on the Mountain’ has just been reprinted and is available from the author and leading booksellers. This book contains stories of migrants who came to Tasmania 1949-1956 to live and work with the HEC in the Central Highlands of Tasmania. The book relates their early lives in the country of birth, experiences of war and becoming a migrant. These people are now aging and this has been a rare opportunity to record their stories. The book has achieved a lot of publicity and sales around the state, interstate and overseas.
ECHOES ON THE MOUNTAIN by Marilyn Quirk
Published May 2006 – Bokprint Tasmaniaemail Marilyn to buy a book
GENRE: Biographical; historical.
ISBN: 978 0 646 45711 6 or 0 646 45711 X
RRP $30.00 including postage in Australia