‘It really was an icon for the Valley’

Tessa Randello

Mary Ann Sammut worked at Hazelwood Power Station for eight years and was sad to see the “reminder of (her) achievements” gone from the skyline.

Ms Sammut said she knew the Hazelwood chimneys had to go, but they represented fond memories from her time working there.

“I went past yesterday (Tuesday) and the power station looks so small now without the towers,” she told The Express.

“I know that they had to go but it is still sad to see that memory gone and as I think about it I was probably one of the only women to climb that chimney.

“It really was an icon for the Valley, it is a part of Morwell and the surrounding town’s construction.”

Ms Sammut started as a personal assistant at Hazelwood in 1978 and spent most of her time there climbing the towers at Unit 3.

Ms Sammut said being one of few women working at the station made her “much more determined to prove (herself)”.

“I think there were only two or three other women working there at the time,” she said.

Ms Sammut was asked if she wanted to scale the tower for maintenance work and jumped at the opportunity.

“The ladders (to get up the tower) were rounded bits of metal and each one has concrete on it, so you didn’t slip halfway up, you look down and people are like ants,” she said.

“At the end you feel like you are pushing yourself to keep going up, I had blisters all over my hands from the climb but it was such an achievement.

“One of my first days up there I was supposed to go down and get the boys’ lunch and I thought ‘there was no way I was going down and up again for lunch.

“I used the walkie-talkie to contact people on the ground and we tied a weight on the end of the string and they put pies on the end and brought them all the way up, they were actually in great condition when the pies got to us.”

At the top of the tower, Ms Sammut said she and a few colleagues had the “pretty dirty job” of cleaning the lightning conductors and metal rods that could not be seen from the ground.

“If you hold a screwdriver out your hair would frizz right out from all the static electricity,” she said.