Not many people know what makes Kalgoorlie-Boulder hum quite like Con Funazzi.
The Goldfields stalwart started out working as a courier for the Town of Kalgoorlie 42 years ago, and in 1985 moved into his long-term role as the City’s open space and reserves supervisor.
Today marks his first day of retirement.
“All my kids and grandkids are in Mandurah, so it’s time to spend a bit of time with them,” he said.
“This place was a good area to bring kids and family up and the Town of Kalgoorlie was excellent to work for.”
Mr Funazzi started work at the Great Boulder Gold Mine in 1973.
After being retrenched in 1975, he spent a few more years in mining before being offered a courier job. The highlight of Mr Funazzi’s career came in 1982 when he was enlisted to collect and install the replica Paddy Hannan statue from Perth after the original kept getting vandalised.
Funazzi recalls making a pit stop in Cunderdin with the new statue tied down on a mattress in the back of a ute.
“We parked right out front and the bloke says ‘you can’t park there’, so I replied ‘well, we’ve got to keep an eye on that in case anyone pinches him’,” nodding to the trailer, to which he was given the OK,” he said.
In the meantime, the original Paddy Hannan statue was brought back to Kalgoorlie by plane with the statue taking up seat one of the flight.
“We had a parade where we marched him back up Hannan Street, where I played Flanagan and someone else was O’Shea,” he said.
The original statue now sits in the Kalgoorlie Town Hall foyer, with the replica being the one outside the hall, on the corner of Wilson and Hannan streets,
Mr Funazzi took a parting shot at the increase in fly-in, fly-out work practices, claiming the practice would lead to fewer people calling Kalgoorlie-Boulder home as long as he has.
“I think it has ruined the chances of local people getting positions with mining companies,” he said. “The population has dropped from 36,000 to just under 30,000 now with the FIFO, that’s a big drop.
It’s the worst thing they ever brought in
City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder chief executive John Walker said Mr Funazzi was a legend of the organisation.
“When you’re looking at the retirement of someone like Con Funazzi, who has such a wealth of corporate knowledge, you know you are really going to struggle to fill that gap,” he said.
“Con has been the main point of contact for so many City officers … as well as for many community groups for major events, like the Anzac Day parades, so he will definitely be missed.”
Mr Funazzi worked his final day with the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder yesterday.
He was highly regarded in the local lawn bowls scene. Head of City presentation and open space Lui Camporeale said he would keep Mr Funazzi on speed dial.