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Make good memories

As told to Jonathan Donovan

I think for me, even from an early age I always had a dream of having a home and I always thought about having a family and making sure that it was a safe environment, a fun environment, a place where we could make good memories.

Where we could make good memories © Jonathan Donovan Where we could make good memories © Jonathan Donovan

Security and stability is a huge thing and I guess this is what my house represents.

I just look at my daughter and I just want her to have everything that I didn't have.

So I grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney and then later on moved to Northern Beaches.

My home life was pretty scary at times; both my parents were drug addicts.

So there was a lot of anxiety and there was a lot of violence in our home as well.

I guess as a kid I was frightened quite a lot; there wasn't much security or nurturing. I mean, having said that my parents aren't terrible horrible people. But my dad was a violent man towards my mum and he was also verbally abusive to me.

So there were many times where I was pretty frightened and we'd have lots of shady characters come to our house. And I wouldn't even say it was a house. We moved around every six months when the rent went up or if my dad was in trouble with the law or with a dealer or something.

So we kind of moved a lot.

For me it was really important to have a partner that I knew that my daughter could look up to and aspire to. Someone that would love her and be able to provide. Also because we moved all the time, I moved several different school.

I want a place for my daughter to grow up in that she can always look back and go, 'That was our family home'.

Because I don't have a family home to look back on. Because we never owned a house.

I guess the contrast is that she will have more of a normal family setting with a mum and a dad and a brother and sister. And this is something that she'll have a history with, I guess.

I didn't actually ever think I would live in a place like this; I still feel like I'm from the gutter!

This photograph and interview is part of a series called No Place Like Home by Jonathan Donovan. It is part of the Museum's Documenting Homes collection.

More experiences

Independent living
Intergenerational living
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Building your own home

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