I live in a housing co-op which has been a co-op for the past 20 years or more. It used to be a local police station in leafy Haberfield. After it ceased operation it was a place where undercover cops would go to get mic’d up. One of our housemates found an old bug under the house, think early Dr Who props. The main street smells of cigarettes, coffee and the best bread ever. The more suburban parts of Haberfield smell of fresh-mown grass and gardenias.

In our garden there are lots of native trees, including banksias and eucalypts. There is also a water apple tree, which bears mildly floral pink bell-shaped fruit. Once I made a jam out of it when the tree was overladen, it was OK. The communal shelf in the pantry (which used to be one of the old police cells) is often over-flowing with dumpstered veggies and treats that no one would actually buy from the store. Sometimes this ‘share shelf (please consume)’ smells like something has died. This is because something has died.

At the moment there’s a visiting dog at our place and the housemate out the back sends disgruntled emails about having to dodge the shit.


Burnt coffee, rosemary, ripe mango, rotting vegetables, wet grass, baked goods, red wine, gardenia, carbon monoxide, roses brutally pruned because that’s how they like ’em.


P Sinclair