A new children’s book written by a second-generation FIFO worker will help parents explain the FIFO lifestyle to kids growing up in mining families.
A children’s book that lovingly explains the realities of FIFO work is set to make bedtime even more special for mining families across Australia.
Written by first-time author Michael Martucci, of South Australia, the beautifully illustrated book is “designed to be a resource to help kids and parents understand why we work away in a fly-in fly-out environment”.
“While the pictures and the message are very much for the kids, it’s also very much for the parents just to reinforce that message about why we go away – and the moral of the story is we do it for the kids,” Martucci said.
Aimed at ages three to 10, the story follows a young boy whose dad works away. You see the stages of his life – including times when the dad is away and times when he’s there.
“So you see a bit of the conflict when the dad comes home and they’re not impressed that he’s home,” Martucci said.
“Then it goes full circle. So you see in the future the son has followed in the dad’s footsteps, and he’s also reinforcing the message of love with his kids and that he’ll be home in only a week or so’s time.”
Children’s book explains FIFO lifestyle to kids
Martucci knows what it’s like growing up in a family where one parent works FIFO. His dad worked for Santos for 26 years, on a two-week-on, two-week-off roster.
“I remember there’s definitely a feeling of longing,” he said. “You notice when your dad is away and you just wanted to see him and give him a hug — and you wanted him to be there for special events, as well.
“I always remember the kiss on the forehead from Dad on the fly-out morning.”
It wasn’t until four years ago when Michael started working FIFO himself that he began to think about the similarities between his life and his father’s – and the idea for the book was born. He started writing it on the plane home after an away swing, after a few lines popped into his head. It turned into a poem, which he showed his girlfriend.
“She loved it and said I should get it published,” Martucci said. So he sent it off to a publisher, who said the book would fill a real gap in the market.
Martucci and his father have built a strong relationship. He said he hopes the book will help many young families working in mining do the same.
“Hopefully the book reinforces the message to make sure your family knows you love them and to keep in touch as much as possible,” he said.Mining & Me is now available for pre-order here.