There's a shipping container rusting in Bernard Collaery's driveway.
When I eventually find the door, past netted fruit trees, an overgrown children's play fort, and a peacock preening its damp feathers, I learn why.
It's been there since the high-profile barrister's Canberra law practice was raided by Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation officers in December 2013.
Collaery, 75, was in The Hague at the time helping the Timor-Leste government in its case against the Australian government, after the developing nation discovered its trusted ally had spied on it to get an upper hand in treaty negotiations over oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea.
The shipping container has remained so if another operation is attempted, Collaery has time to seek an injunction.
The raid shattered Collaery's law practice, which ran high-profile cases like the Thredbo landslide and Canberra Hospital implosion.
His practice also served another kind of clientele - one that made it necessary to move the office from Kingston when the ACT government unwittingly placed CCTV cameras outside the front door.
He represented people like Witness K - the Australian Secret Intelligence Service officer who blew the whistle on Australia's Timor spying operation.
The knowledge that his files were seized and premises bugged made the phone stop ringing, Collaery says, while tamping coffee in his wide, wooden kitchen.
"It's ruined my practice. It's ruined it. My law practice, which I'd built up over all these years with integrity and honesty and compassion has been ruined."
He's living on borrowed money, although one private philanthropist has put his 30-seater jet at Collaery's disposal (he doesn't want to use it to fly to Dili as it would make him look like an intriguer).
The revelation he was writing a book about Australia's history with Timor as part of a posting at Cambridge University prompted a sharp letter from the Australian Government Solicitor in March 2018, threatening him with jail if he exposed information about ASIS.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions then charged Collaery and Witness K in June 2018 of conspiring to share information with the Timorese government.
As the case ekes its way through court, the book, Oil Under Troubled Water: Australia's Timor Sea Intrigue has exploded onto shelves.
It's not the book he set out to write. He had to drop some 30,000 words after former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull orchestrated his own "Spycatcher coup" against it.
But like a conversation with Collaery, it's densely packed with information, and more than the occasional piece of buried gold.
He hopes the section about the Balibo 5, which suggests Australia could have saved the lives of the five murdered journalists by warning Indonesia's leaders, isn't the only takeaway.
What's clear is this book has been written carefully - and is designed to be read with equal care.
As he tries to guard his spoken word as thoroughly, he packs too much ground coffee into the basket and has to scrape it out.
"I never do that," he says.
He later assures me he is "not in the least" bit afraid of going to jail, but he's "not on a gandy" either.
"I commenced writing about failed foreign policy. As I untangled it and later as I reviewed it in Timor I realised that it's not just an individual sickness in our policy. It's endemic. We need a reformation. We need a political Macron movement. We really do."
This story doesn't begin though when Australia planted listening devices in 2004.
It starts when Flying Officer Edward Collaery's plane went down just off the Peace Palace of the Hague in 1945, four months before his son Bernard was born.
The war claimed many Edward Collaerys. In his class of 80, eight or nine also lost fathers in the war.
It marked Collaery's generation with the idea that democracy was worth fighting for.
"Not having fathers only made sense if they died for some real purpose," Collaery says.
It is why he has dedicated his life to the rule of law.
Remarkably when Collaery held an emergency meeting with staff in a Bel Air hotel room after the raid, it overlooked the stretch of ocean where his father ditched his plane, although he didn't know it at the time.
"I'm not arrogant as to think of leaving a legacy but I've never gone into a McDonald's in my life and I've never ever to my knowledge departed from the ethics of my profession and the rule of law," he says.
That dedication is also why his house remains unfinished after all these years.
As a young public servant in Canberra, he threatened to quit after he felt he had been asked to act against his principles.
"I was in the middle of rebuilding the house to get more bedrooms for our four kids and I came home early and told my wife I'd quit and she said 'go back and apologise, we've got the roof off'. So I never quite finished this house because I ran out of money," he says.
"That's when I went solely into law practice. I rode a bike into town because we had no money but I stuck to my principles."
He doesn't know if young public servants today have the courage to do that. He hopes they do. He tells me at least twice former diplomat John McCarthy needs to be brought back from retirement.
Collaery could have tried to evade Australian authorities. The Timorese wanted him to stay abroad so he could continue with the case and he knew the British and French would never have given him up.
But the man who raised him - his stepfather John Carr - instilled in him the concept of duty.
Carr - who fought in the ninth division during the war - would rouse the young altar boy so he had time to peddle to morning mass, even though he couldn't stand the Irish church himself.
With godchildren and grandchildren of his own running around his cork floors, he knows now how hard it can be to raise kids who aren't your own, and is even more grateful to him.
"It's not only the duty I owe to recognise my father's sacrifice but this duty I owe to this wonderful man who served in the desert and in the jungle for bringing us up with values."
And he knew he had to come back to help K.
- Bernard Collaery will be in conversation with Andrew Wilkie about Oil Under Troubled Water:Australia's Timor Sea Intrigue at a freeAustralian National University-Canberra Times Meet the Author event, on March 10 at 6pm, Manning Clark Hall, Kambri Cultural Centre at ANU. Bookings via anu.edu.au/events or 6125 4144