This digital photograph depicts retired couple Linda and Mick O'Connor standing in their front yard during the State of Victoria's first COVID-19 lockdowns and associated 'stay at home' restrictions. They are pictured with their pet dogs Paige and Rocky. The couple were celebrating their 36th wedding anniversary on the day that this photograph was taken.

In August 2020, Linda wrote a short essay, reflecting on her experience of lockdown:

'We'd returned from holidaying in Tasmania just before COVID-19 changed all the rules. Serendipitously, we visited MONA and Bruny Island prior to the lockdown. Returning to Melbourne, suddenly everyone was hoarding toilet paper.

As we're retired, isolation didn't change our schedules so much as restrict social interactions, including with our two daughters. Our neighbours have been marvellous, though, everyone checking on each other and chatting more than usual. Of course, when we're walking the Golden Retrievers, people stop to talk and have a pet. They're always an icebreaker.

Mick built a veggie garden and I helped populate it with seedlings. It's looking very healthy even though my forte is native plants such as I've nurtured in the front garden. Mick brewed some homemade beer and I failed at keeping a sourdough starter alive. We ate well, nevertheless.

We've learned to Zoom as well as interact more on social media to keep in touch with people, but it's also made us appreciate visitors to our home. Even the delivery people have been a pleasure. Embracing "bear in the window" we rotated stuffed toys (including an Easter bunny in a basket) to entertain the little children on their walks.

The new normal may be that everybody has to live more cautiously, at least for the time being, but we're so very grateful for our home of 20 years, our neighbours and social contacts, and having a good meal and warm bed at night. We have each other and that's everything.'

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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