feeling safe in her new community, and strolling Sydney Road
— at
Nightingale Studios
Nightingale Skye House
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How did you come to move into Nightingale Skye House?

I lived on a farm for 20 years, up in Rosebank in northern New South Wales. Now I've been in Melbourne for about a year and a half. 

In between moving from Rosebank to here, there was a three-year gap when I was unable to find accommodation. I was up in the Northern Rivers staying with friends, and then I ended up going to the Gold Coast to move in with my mum. Then I came to Melbourne where I've got two adult children, living in sharehouses. I stayed with a friend, thinking, ‘I'll be able to get accommodation, easy.’ But then it wasn't so easy. 

A person from Juno, which is an organisation that helps women experiencing homelessness, got me into emergency accommodation, and then helped me with applying for houses. Then I finally got an interview with Women's Property Initiatives, and that's how I ended up here. 

Those three years of being homeless were stressful. But in that time I managed to do a course in sound healing, studying online, which kept me going and really helped my mental health. I'm also an artist. Since I've been down here, I've started doing workshops for women's circles, including sound healing, dance, and art-making. 

How are you finding your new home?

I am so happy. It's like a dream come true, living right near my older kids. I would never in a million years have thought I'd be in a brand new apartment in such a safe place. It took me a while to actually settle in, because I just couldn't believe it for so long. I didn't unpack my bags for a few months. 

I just feel so much more confident in myself, and safe, and grateful - really grateful. For WPI, and for Nightingale, because I know if it wasn't for Nightingale, we wouldn't have this sort of housing here. 

I've also got a son, Sunny, who's eight years old, soon to be nine. He's loving it here as well. He's made a friend over the road and they talk to each other across the balconies. He joined the local football team, so we walk down to the park for training. 

What are your thoughts on the communal laundry space on the rooftop?

Oh, I'm fine with it. I love the laundry. I know that sounds weird, but I like going up there because you bump into people, and I just like that the laundry is not in the house. 

Did you have a car before moving in?

I do have a van, but I’m getting rid of it. We used to go away a lot, and I actually lived in it for a while when I didn't have anywhere else. I'm about to sell it and not have a car at all, which will be great. I love being able to walk everywhere and catch public transport, and now I've got a bike which someone gave me. Sunny will soon be going to school locally too, so we can ride our bikes there.

What are your favourite local spots?

Ceres. I love that place so much because it reminds me of where I used to live on the farm, and it's just a beautiful space to go. 

Sunny's favourite places are A1 and Tabet’s. The other place he loves is Don Bosco - we go there a lot. I really like Kines. We love just wandering up and down Sydney Road.

First published in
August 2023