This is someone's stash or 'home'. It appeared in this tree some time towards the end of last week. The tree is in a vacant lot that runs parallel to my office building. I pass it when walking in or out of work. (I like the billy can; it's a particularly homey touch.)
You might remember a couple of months back before Christmas when I posted about seeing a collection of 'homes' like this amongst the shrubs in the nature strip across the road. (The nature strip is probably at least 10 m wide.) I was in two minds about publishing this photo, as I felt it might be an invasion of privacy. However, the stash is in a fairly public place already.
I presume this stash belongs to an out-of-towner, who may be here indefinitely, or on a short visit, for possibly any number of reasons such as to visit relatives, seek medical treatment, attend a sporting match and find other entertainment, or to look for a job.
I'm sure that shelters and stashes like this exist across the world, wherever there is poverty. I've been into the reasons before in this blog why housing is such a fraught issue in our particular town, and why it's so difficult for itinerants to find even temporary accommodation. You may have heard that there are plans to salvage dongas from Woomera to address this need -- something I might take up in another post. One aspect of this issue that interests me is that desert people are highly mobile, and have been so historically, because of the need to search widely for food. I guess the days of hunter-gathering are probably numbered and I'm not wanting to deny anyone shelter, but I wonder sometimes about the moral value associated with housing, especially as a source of social and economic capital. Is it so bad to live a highly transcient lifestyle? What if people are happy enough camping in a makeshift dwelling or a dongas for that matter then moving on? If they're otherwise healthy, does it matter whether or not they have a house?