Giuseppe “Joe” Inserra has lived in Laverton since 1964.
He will be promoting the Victorian Seniors Festival in October, which is when he turns 80.
He speaks with Goya Dmytryshchak at Laverton Skate Centre, which he built for his children.
How has Laverton changed since you arrived in 1964?
When I came to Laverton, there was no one else in Central Avenue, there was no building.
Where the Commonwealth Bank is now, there was a swamp.
When they built the road in Laverton, all the stone and the soil they take off from the street they used to fill up the swamp.
At the time, I bought five blocks of land for $500 each and after two years the council sent a bill for $10,000 for each block because they built sewerage, drainage, road, electricity.
When I buy the first block where I live right now in Central Avenue, there was not even a train line.
I owned four blocks of land where McDonald’s is.
McDonald’s came with an offer I couldn’t refuse.
Where Red Rooster is now, it was a chicken farm.
What do you like about Laverton?
I’ve got a lot of relations in Werribee and Laverton, for me, was the middle way because I go to work in all the metropolitan area.
So Laverton was between Werribee and Melbourne.
On my mind at the time – they were talking about how they were going to build the West Gate Bridge.
Because of that, I thought, if I buy in Laverton, in 10 minutes I’m in the city.
Is there anything you don’t like?
Point Cook Road is terrible.
Do you still roller skate?
Yes, rollerblade, roller skate.
I learned to skate when I was 50 years old.
I never ever skated before.
There was a fellow, his name was Jack, and he was 80 years old or something like that, … he said, “Joe, the only thing you need to do is just listen to what I tell you and you will learn very quick and not fall down”.
I told myself, “I can do it, I can do it”. I never fell down.
From there, you get more courage and you get more skill.
I built this place because I have two children and my sister had another daughter.
What message would you give to young people?
The message I give to the people especially when they come here – a lot of the children are aged between 10 years old or younger and 20 years old – I say, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”.
And they say, “Oh, I don’t know”.
You should think because from now on, if you get a skill and if you go to school and finish university, you have a bright future.
Always, if you’ve got instruction and you’ve got more than one trade, you’ve always got a chance at more than one job.