Every time I walked through that gate, I’d marvel at the pawpaws, bead trees, palms, bromeliads, and magnolias that surrounded me, noting the difference in heat from the street to the carport.
It was set high in the northern coastal suburbs of Perth. The neighbourhood, Hillarys, had been a suburb for less than twenty years; before that, I don’t know.
My apartment is part of a council housing estate, which means it’s one in a honeycomb of 260 versions of itself.
I’ve returned this year, like I do every Christmas, to my parents’ home on a busy street in Lenah Valley, Tasmania.
You’re on the decking of our Christmas Hills house, the Yarra Valley stretching out like patchwork between your knees.
There is nothing uniquely ‘Canberra’ about our apartment. It is a generic yellow block, built in the ’90s, with a manicured yard and a body corporate that sends us letters we never read.
If northern NSW has ever had a ‘type’ of house, it’s a fibro two-storey with seams on the outside and a massive backyard, built high to avoid the floods.
While the city flooded, one of the timber stilts holding up my mother’s house uprooted.