When one attempts to write a story about Norwegian born Reidar Herfoss' life working on the Snowy Hydro it's hard know which angle to take or where to start.
There's the time he almost died when he was operating the rock crusher, the belt slipped and a 90 pound piece of steel hit his head.
"There was blood everywhere and I just thought Reidar... what a stupid way to die," he says with his raspy chuckle before taking another drag on his smoke.
He admits he had a fortunate escape, although be careful not to mention the word luck, because he doesn't believe in it. He reckons you create your own luck.
A young man in Norway in the 1950s, Reidar heard of the Snowy Hydro Scheme from a relation who was going to Australia to work on tunnels and power stations.
"I said to my Mum and Dad I reckon I might just get a boat and jump ship in Australia."
Although his parents warned against it saying: "You'll get into trouble" - he decided to try his luck.
The 19-year-old Norwegian boarded the Titania, journeyed across the world and swiftly jumped ship in Newcastle.
And as fate would have it he happened to meet two Norwegians who'd been working on the Snowy. They gave him a lift to Sydney, dropped him off at the "Mayfair", a popular watering hole for Norwegians, where he got a lift to the Snowy and landed himself a job.
Life as one of the new Australians on the Snowy Hydro came with its ups and downs.
Reidar soon came to be known as the "right hand man", a story he tells with a bittersweet tone resounding in his words.
"There was mix of everything - Greeks, Italians, Danes, Swedes, Germans, Yugoslavian. And between us we never had any trouble. Except for the Australians... If you weren't born in Australia you were known as a useless wog bastard.
"I could handle myself you know. Boom boom and down they'd go," he says, making a charged fist with his large right hand.
"I'd let 'em know if they'd done the wrong thing, they'd collect."
Maybe he's right that luck wasn't always on his side after all - you've also got to have a bit of nous.
Like the time a couple of years after he'd jumped ship when the immigration officers caught up with him.
"I was staying in a hostel in Canberra. One morning two blokes walked in... I could bloody near smell em.
"I never forget...they said 'we'd like to see your passport'. I said I don't have one. They looked at each other and giggled as if to say at least he's honest."
The officers took Reidar to their office where he recalls they gave him a rap on the knuckles for jumping ship and a lucky break - a temporary visa, but not without conditions.
"I had report to them every week. So I let 'em know I had a bloody job to do and that was that."
Working as a carpenter, rigger, driving dozers, loaders, excavators over the 25 year construction phase of the Snowy Hydro has given 85-year-old Reidar Herfoss more stories and angles than one could possibly follow in one sitting.
With a bit of luck we'll get round to all of them. But then again, luck's got nothing to do with it.
Former workers, their families and numerous other stakeholders and community members gathered in Cooma on Saturday, October 19, to mark 70 years of the Snowy Hydro Scheme.