Bricklaying is what happened while Sam was making other plans

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Learning about Sam Worthington’s progress from bricklayer to movie star for this blog, made me reflect on those John Lennon lines, ‘Life is what happens while you’re making other plans’. What took Sam, who was probably always destined for acting, from bricklaying and other construction roles, along a very tenuous, high risk path in pursuit of fame? I think I could take a pretty good stab at how bricklaying became a formative part of his journey.

There aren’t many trades that combine the enjoyment of the outdoors, with the satisfaction of seeing the results of your labour, working with your hands, learning some real skills, getting fit and having the company of like-minded people around you. You experience a lot as a bricklayer, with different job sites and types of clients, working in gangs and learning to take direction and pushing through to get the job done on time. There is a lot of satisfaction and its very grounding, as they say so my belief is that this time of Sam’s life would have been a valuable period of reflection and settling.

Sam was literally sent on a journey by his dad, Ronald W. Worthington, a power plant employee in Rockingham, Western Australia (about an hour from Perth), near where Sam grew up, brought up though by his mum, with his sister alongside. Sam had a big dream and he attended John Curtin College of the Arts, a school specialising in the dramatic arts, located in Fremantle, given that he had this passion for acting. However, he clearly wasn’t ready just yet, as he did not graduate at the time.

When he left the College, his father gave him $400 and sent him on a one-way trip to Cairns, Queensland, telling him to “work his way home”. Sam began working on construction and odd jobs, eventually at 19, settling in Sydney where he had taken on bricklaying. With the trades now giving him some real life experiences, he was more settled in himself. So at this point he auditioned for the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and low and behold he was accepted – with a scholarship! In my humble view, I believe that you can learn a lot about life on the job in the trades and ‘bricklaying opens doors’ as you settle in and explore your options. As they say, it’s never over ‘til it’s over! Bricklaying provides lots of opportunities to advance for those who get started with the Apprenticeship.

Sam was actually born in England but the family came to Australia when he was just six months. Sam says “I didn’t set out to be famous; if I’d wanted that, I would have gone on ‘Big Brother’.” So glad you didn’t Sam!

Just to wrap on some of Sam’s career highlights to date, (a summary from Wikipedia) he is best known for the portrayals of Jake Sully in Avatar, Marcus Wright in Terminator Salvation, Perseus in Clash of the Titans and its sequel, Wrath of the Titans, and Alex Mason in the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops and its sequel Call of Duty: Black Ops II. During its theatrical run, James Cameron’s Avatar broke several box office records and became the highest-grossing film of all time,
In 2004, Worthington received Australia’s highest film award for his lead performance in Somersault.

Well done Sam, we love your work!

Geoff Noble


5 Responses to “Bricklaying is what happened while Sam was making other plans”

  1. Martin

    Such an interesting article and great take on the subject that I havent read before. employees a lot of bricklayers and they would find this article quite good to read.

    • BAB

      Hi Martin, thanks for the feedback, we’re always keen to know what works with our stories, and showing some examples of people who’ve worked in bricklaying, regardless of where they end up, is relevant to young people considering the trade. Please feel free to share this blog with your audience, just mention ABBTF (Australian Brick and Blocklaying Training Foundation). Cheers, Geoff Noble, CEO.


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