This digital photograph depicts Northcote neighbours having a socially distant drink and catch-up together during the State of Victoria's first COVID-19 lockdowns and associated 'stay at home' restrictions. Pictured in this photograph are Marie and Gerard Canty (in the household to the right) and Michael Falkinder, Dee Wardrop, Lucy Falkinder, Sam Falkinder and Gwenyth Falkinder (in the household to the left).

Marie and Gerard Canty, both 64-years-old, had been married for 34 years and living in their Northcote home for 33 years when this photograph was taken. Two of their adult children had moved out of the family home several years prior, and both Gerard and Marie had stayed connected with their children during the COVID-19 lockdowns via Skype and Zoom. 'Missing our family has been the biggest challenge for us', reflected Marie and Gerard in August 2020, 'we have both learnt not to take family for granted.'

Living in the house next door, Dee Wardrop and her family had moved in to the street six years prior. With their children's own grandparents living overseas in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, they had forged close connections with their neighbours Marie and Gerard: 'Before COVID-19 Marie would often have our kids over or bake them things', reflected Dee in August 2020: 'the restrictions of the COVID-19 lockdown mean we've been missing seeing our family and friends, especially my Mum and Dad in New Zealand. It's so good that we can still have a wine with Marie and Gerry over our fence and look out for each other. They're the perfect neighbours and we're very lucky.'

Pictured standing in the background in this photo is Gwyneth Falkinder, aged 72, mother to Michael Falkinder, who is hugging his roller-skating daughter Lucy, aged 8. Gwyneth was visiting from the United Kingdom after the death of her husband Malcolm the previous year. 'Gwyneth had only just lost Malcolm after a long and happy marriage, and they normally travelled over together to summer with us. So she was coming to terms with some big life changes in her life in Yorkshire and had taken the very brave step of coming on her own anyway', reflected Dee Wardrop in August 2020. When COVID-19 led to lockdowns and flight delays, Gwyneth ended up spending much longer than anticipated in Melbourne, with her 7-week trip extending out to 5 months. Dee commented that 'to have all that special time with us for such an unexpectedly long time was amazing for the kids.'

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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