Jasmine evokes the vine-covered verandah in my childhood home, which was a reading place; a sunlit room outdoors.

The industrial smells of solvents represented the adult world of my father, who worked in a chemical factory along the Lane Cove River.

Metaphorically jasmine represents the intoxication of imagination, the world of reading and writing.The solvent is another powerful and equally creative world that is starkly different. Fortified and impenetrable; my father’s world that I didn’t enter into.

They are scents that compete for their places and spaces. A solvent smell is designed to strip away.


Jasmine: there is a top note but a little bit goes a long way, it settles like sugar at the bottom of your cup and lingers.

Acrid industrial solvent: pungent, overpowering and physical. A kind of smell that would attack your nostrils. A sense of hot metal, something molten.

Hot dry summer bush: Sandstone mineral element – serrated and sharp.

The heady oils coming out of the leaves as they heat up and resin from the trees themselves.

There’s a verticality to it. You’d be smelling things at head height and when you sit down in the shade, at ground level there would be dead grass, massed dry leaves. There is something very Sydney in the combination of sandstone and certain kinds of gums in summer.