This digital photograph depicts housemates Larissa Fogden and Hannah Haines sitting in front of their rental property in Northcote during the State of Victoria's COVID-19 lockdowns and associated 'stay at home' restrictions. They are depicted tending to their front garden, enjoying a drink and cross-stitching.

Larissa and Hannah, both in their early thirties, were working in the family violence sector when the COVID-19 pandemic reached Australia. They began working from home as soon as Victoria's lockdown measures came into place, and subsequently found themselves spending more time in the garden, watching television shows and discussing political issues, such as the Black Lives Matter protests and climate change.

Although COVID-19 posed challenges for Larissa and Hannah, they both reflected that 'it's been really nice to have each other', and that the lockdown provided an opportunity to slow down, prioritise rest and learn new ways of connecting. For Hannah, gardening became a way to unwind and recuperate: "This little garden has been such a source of comfort and practice of reciprocity and connection with space and land. I love watching it change and grow; every day it is different." For Larissa, craft and television provided an outlet: 'cross-stitch has definitely been a form of escapism and has generally occurred in front of Buffy or Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.'

When asked what they had learnt through COVID-19, both Larissa and Hannah reflected that lockdown had given them more time to reflect on world issues and inequalities, and what kind of future they wanted to inhabit. Larissa hoped for 'an end to Aboriginal deaths in custody, widespread acknowledgement of the existence and impacts of white supremacy and stronger action on climate change from our leaders.' Hannah looked forward to 'a big long swim, hugging people I love and a slower, kinder and more easeful life for more people.'

This photograph was taken by Melbourne-based photographer Julie Ewing as part of her 'Across the Fence' photographic series. This series documents life in Melbourne's Darebin region during the first COVID-19 lockdowns that began in Victoria on 14 March 2020. Julie photographed 120 households and 60 businesses during March to May 2020, and this digital photograph is one of 24 images that were acquired into Museum Victoria's Collecting the Curve Collection. These photographs provide a lasting reminder of how neighbourhoods and households in Melbourne were impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic, as well as the unique ways through which individuals and communities adapted their lives and found new routines, traditions and ways of supporting one another.

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Digital TIFF file

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