Meet the faces behind the highway upgrade: Pt III
MICHAEL Pattinson, originally from Scotland, arrived in Australia about 10 years ago and one fateful day pulled off the road in Maclean for a sleep while driving from Brisbane to Sydney.
"I stopped off at Maclean on the way back, just by sheer chance, and when I woke up the next morning, here I was in Maclean, the Scottish capital of Australia and I was like 'oh, this is a bit surreal'," he said.
Now Mr Pattinson is working on the Maclean to Ballina section of the highway with Pacific Complete and living in Yamba.
But he does have a soft spot for Maclean.
"I mean, seeing all those power poles around the place, it does make you feel a bit homesick," he said.
"And on my mother's side, they are all called Macleans as well, so there is clan Maclean on the west coast of Scotland."
Mr Pattinson said he'd enjoyed moving to the Clarence Valley because it gave him the opportunity to meet more people and enjoy everything the area has to offer.
"Getting to see the area, not that I've got to see much, it's really nice and there is a lot of adventure," he said.
"I've met some really nice locals down here in Grafton and Yamba."
Since arriving in Australia, Mr Pattinson has been working for Lang O'Rouke on a number of projects, including a few mining projects in central Queensland, water treatment jobs and in Newcastle in mining.
But Mr Pattinson said one of the most interesting experiences was working on the train lines in Moranbah, Queensland, during the mining boom.
"You couldn't get accommodation at all, we were staying in camps in Coppabella," he said.
"I was basically 20m away from the main rail line and I had a coal truck going past every half hour.
"You'd wake up in the middle of the morning and your bed had rolled out into the middle of the room.
"That was also my first introduction to really, really hot weather, which coming from where I'm from, I don't survive too well in."
Following his stint in Moranbah, Mr Pattinson headed to Chinchilla and Wondoan where he worked on a water treatment plant in the gas fields.
"Chinchilla is a very happening place, Wondoan on the other hand, is not," he said. "It is very quite and remote but I loved it out there."