Hector Di Sciascio didn’t speak English when he migrated to Australia from Argentina in 1974, but that didn’t stop the 27-year-old construction worker from finding work and making a good life in his adopted country. ‘When I got a job in Melbourne, I worked through the day and I studied English through the night,’ Hector says. ‘I choose to come to Melbourne because I had a few friends from Argentina who came right before me and I knew Melbourne was an industrial area and there would be a lot of jobs.’
Lending a hand after Cyclone Tracy
Soon after Hector arrived in Melbourne, Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin, so he left his job at the Toyota factory, found three friends and a car, and headed north to assist with the rebuild. ‘We got to the border with Victoria and NSW and they were constructing [the Snowy Hydro] dam and there was a lot of work. We were told if we stayed, they would give us a job. We said, “No” and we got to Sydney and there was a big company there, BHP, and they offered us a job and we said, “No, we'll keep on”.
‘We got to Brisbane and went from Brisbane to Rockhampton and then across and, you don't believe it, there was no road like today, it was all ripples in the middle of nowhere. But we got to Mt Isa and at Mt Isa they offered us a job too. I said, “No way. Darwin, or bust”.’ Hector fell in love with Darwin and stayed for two years before getting work at Port Hedland, in Western Australia, and then heading back to Melbourne, where he met his wife, Caroline.
Making the most of opportunities - and giving back
The couple had a son and daughter but divorced after the children were grown. ‘Australia gave me the opportunity. It opened the door to me, they accepted me, and I fell in love with Australia. I love it here. Everything is good here.’ Now, Hector is a volunteer with the Hands On Learning school program, helping students to work on projects like building chicken pens or kennels. He is also in charge of a weekly sausage sizzle that has, so far, raised more than $18,000 for The Royal Children’s Hospital. ‘I’m busy. There's no time to slow down. When you slow down, you finish.’
Reviewed 10 August 2022