Charlie Santullo

I lost my wallet. Dropped it in Russell Street, near the state library, as it turned out. Almost a week later, I admitted it wasn’t behind a couch or under the driver’s seat in my car. It was lost.

I cancelled all the credit cards and about 10 minutes later received a phone call from the journo union, saying a CFMEU union member had found my wallet and been trying to get hold of me for days. He’d contacted the police, Vic Roads, other places for which I had membership cards. Only the unions cared enough to track me down.

Twenty minutes later, I met Charlie Santullo, who gave me back the wallet, and was dressed in a hard hat, and full building site hi-viz bling.

‘What do you do?’ I asked Charlie.

He replied: ‘I drive that.’ And pointed to the crane on the top of a 40-storey apartment block currently being constructed.

charlie sky1
A photo Charlie took with his smart phone, from his seat in the crane.

And so Charlie’s world became a story, for Royal Auto magazine. A very pale, not-heights-loving photographer, Meredith O’Shea, an I made our way to the roof of Melbourne to see the city through the eyes of these workers who live sometimes literally above the clouds.

I love stories like that: taking me into realms I had never even considered. Plus Charlie is a cracking bloke. We’ve stayed in touch and become friends. His world, driving a crane, sometimes in high wind, sometimes in sunshine, is a wild one. And he got me back my wallet. Thanks, Charlie.

The full story is here.

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