Youssef, Romanos and Tansa Eid

I thought Australia would be good for the future, good for my family. Youssef Eid, 2012

Brothers Youssef, Romanos and Tansa Eid were born in Hadchit, a small Maronite Catholic village in the mountains of northern Lebanon. After receiving a letter from his brother-in-law praising the economic opportunities in Australia, Youssef and his wife Nadimie migrated in 1965 with their three children. He later sponsored Tansa, Romanos and his family. They all planned to stay for a few years and return to Lebanon with enough capital to establish businesses. Instead they settled permanently and can't imagine living anywhere else.

The Eid brothers decided to establish taxi businesses in the early 1970s. After working in textile factories the prospect of greater earnings and 'being your own boss' outweighed the long hours and personal and financial risks. Popping home for lunch or a coffee became rituals that reinforced their sense of freedom.

Portrait of a man, woman and bady Romanos Eid with his wife Yvonne and son Tony aboard the Patris, 1967
Source: Eid families collection

Romanos was the 'King of the airport'. His penchant for multiple-hiring and attracting skybus passengers to his taxi exemplified an entrepreneurial drive. His gregarious and jovial nature made him very popular with other drivers.

Handling 'the good, the bad and the ugly' in the back seat of their taxis became a way of life. Youssef was firm with his passengers and he didn't suffer fools. Tansa was a stickler for rules, preferring to use psychology to get out of tricky situations in his taxi.

With over 75 combined years of driving taxis, the Eid brothers left the industry in the 1990s and 2000s – weary of the working conditions and fearful of the impact of deregulation.

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