The Tunnel

The Tunnel When Dennis McIntosh first walked onto the construction site for the tunnel running from Werribee in Melbourne s west to the Westgate Bridge he d never worked underground before and he was terrifie

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  • Title: The Tunnel
  • Author: Dennis McIntosh
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 429
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • When Dennis McIntosh first walked onto the construction site for the tunnel running from Werribee, in Melbourne s west, to the Westgate Bridge, he d never worked underground before and he was terrified The tunnel was being dug 80 metres below the surface, and lying on his back with the section roof just centimetres from his face caused him to hyperventilate To make matteWhen Dennis McIntosh first walked onto the construction site for the tunnel running from Werribee, in Melbourne s west, to the Westgate Bridge, he d never worked underground before and he was terrified The tunnel was being dug 80 metres below the surface, and lying on his back with the section roof just centimetres from his face caused him to hyperventilate To make matters worse, he was 27 years old and starting again as a beginner He d already done an apprenticeship in the shearing sheds, earning his stripes during eight years of working up and down Australia But he d sworn never to go back to shearing after the wide comb dispute, and having been through four jobs in as many months, he was desperate for work He was an alcoholic and his eldest daughter was on an intensive brain retraining program due to a childhood injury he had to settle This was his last chance.That was in 1985, and when he resurfaced for the final time seven years later, Dennis was a changed man He d survived bitter disputes with the other men on his crew disagreements with management, who set about increasing the men s hours and workload for no extra pay, and cutting their bonus betrayals by his co workers long lonely nightshifts, and the breakup of his marriage.Dennis McIntosh was taught some hard lessons in the tunnel, and not just about the work he was doing He learnt to control his panic attacks and stay off the grog, but his epiphany came with the recovery of his daughter, and the realisation that he too could retrain his brain, by getting himself an education That was his get out plan, and he achieved it by eventually completing a PhD.

    One thought on “The Tunnel”

    1. A working class story from Hoppers Crossing. The politics of work - the dirty, physical, repetitive dangerous kind. The realisation that time is more valuable than money and the satisfaction of gaining an education for a more meaningful job and life. The podcast from Richard Fidler's Conversations is really interesting and worth listening to as well. Fleshes out the brain training Dennis and his wife did with their daughter to overcome a stroke when she was a baby. Also Dennis talks about going [...]

    2. Smart, poignant, uplifting. Writing so real and direct it doesn't need rhetorical grandstanding. Though the styles are dissimilar, the economy of language and trust in the reader resonates with Hemingway and Sargeson (fantastic New Zealand writer and subject of my film "Perfectly Frank" - look him up).

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