Margot Currey is an artist who lives in a housing cooperative in Erskineville. In this interview she recalls the different houses in which she has lived, the logistics, finances and background to the purpose-built apartment block which she now calls home; and the practical and bureaucratic challenges to co-operative dwelling in New South Wales. In the excerpt below she outlines the many benefits of living in a co-operative.
It was through me being at art school, I met someone who introduced me to an artist-run collective. It was a well organised, functioning organisation and it was registered as an association, so the idea of that kind of organisation was already established there. We had single males, single females, couples, couples with children, single mothers with children. Some people have taken partners outside of the co-op and brought them in and some people have separated from their partners; children have been born here; there were other children that were not born here that were part of the original group; but we’re very family oriented. Someone said to me yesterday “Oh, the co-op seems a big part of your life”. I said “It is my life. I mean, that’s just all there is to it”. And, for me, if I go away, I can come back and I know I’m surrounded by a whole range of different people that I’ve known for a long time and I can just pop in and maybe just meet down there and have a drink, or go into someone’s place and do something; I can just sort of come home and I’m surrounded. It’s just an extremely supportive situation. Co-ops that I know, the older co-ops which are ones that I know mostly, the main participants are extremely forceful about hanging on to what they’ve got. We’ve had to present a very strong front at quite a few occasions.