What makes a home?
For me it is history; memories embodied everywhere. Familiar faces, current friends or people from the distant past, knowing every shop, every street, every crevice – it all makes me feel like I belong.
I have been relishing this sense of home while on the campaign trail. It has been an unexpected treat to be knocking on the doors of neighbours whose children I once babysat, ‘adopted’ aunts and uncles, former teachers, friends of my parents, familiar names and faces. The support and enthusiasm I have received has filled me with renewed warmth and commitment to my community – that this is worth my time, my energy and the public scrutiny – to contribute further and serve the community that I love.
My parents moved my family to Solomon Street when I was 6, before Freo was trendy. I have thanked them for making that move so many times throughout my life, because this city has shaped me. First attending South Terrace Primary School (as it was then called), roller-skating to Fremantle and busking on my violin in the markets, running amok at the Seaview dancing to the Jam Tarts and Nansing and even being a contributing writer for the first editions of the Fremantle Herald; I am a child of Freo.
My teenage years included less innocent adventures, but I continued to be engaged in Fremantle – establishing an Amnesty International letter writing group at John Curtin Senior High School, volunteering for Greenpeace and organising a petition from young people to stop the (first!) war on Iraq from outside the Freo Library… I’ll spare the more sordid details, but there are memories everywhere…
When I moved out of home, it was to the next street over – Swanbourne Street. In fact, until 2008 I lived within a 1km radius of the house I grew up in on Solomon Street for all but 3 of those 24 years! I’ve lived in Alma Street, McAtee Court (twice!), Wood Street and Samson Street. Then the housing boom happened…
In 2008 my partner and I decided we needed more than 60 square metres between us, so we started looking for a house with a little more space. After much searching and wrestling with conflicting desires, we settled on a modest house on the apex of Beaconsfield, South Freo and Hamilton Hill. That little “West of Carrington Street” pocket that almost feels like Fremantle… just a 5 minute ride to South Beach and ten minutes ride into Freo for work each day, it was a reasonable compromise.
I have spent the last two years trying to move back to Freo again; to move back home. But financial rationalism has stopped me (although I am pleased that goal is slowly becoming attainable once more). In the mean time, I just relish my daily cycle past south beach into work in Freo’s CBD and I’m glad that I still spend most of my days here and remain so involved contributing to the community I love.
Recently, I leased a gorgeous little office studio in a heritage building in the West End. I use it as a base to conduct my volunteer work and a few local projects I’m working on. It is such a delight with its high ceilings, big windows and wood floors. A quintessentially Freo spot opposite the port – I only wish I could live in it!