This digital photograph depicts family members Colin Chamberlain, Susan Chamberlain and Sam Chamberlain standing in front of their home during the State of Victoria's first COVID-19 lockdowns and associated 'stay at home' restrictions. They are pictured posing with surgical masks and gloves.

At the time this photograph was taken in April 2020, wearing gloves and masks was not compulsory (wearing a mask was not made mandatory in Victoria until 2 August 2020 ), however for Susan Chamberlain, a fertility nurse, 'wearing surgical masks was not unfamiliar to me.' Working in the fertility sector, Susan reflected in August 2020 that 'COVID-19 caused a heap of anxiety and raised questions about whether people should still try to conceive, and what the effects of COVID on the unborn baby might be.' Susan was able to continue working through the first lockdown, but recalled in August 2020 that the uncertainties around the virus 'made my employer and I very anxious.'

Susan also reflected that having family portraits taken during lockdown was a momentous occasion for the family: 'I felt these photos documented and acknowledged that this indeed was an extraordinary time, and would be an important and significant time of our lives.' For Susan's son Sam, a university student and Army Reservist, day-to-day life was altered drastically with the arrival of COVID-19. He was stood down from his job as a customer service officer at Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre, and his university course was moved online. 'I have been more socially isolated and have had to remain home with my parents as I don't have any work prospects', recalled Sam in August 2020. Daily life was also altered for Colin Chamberlain, who previously worked in an I.T. job with D-Link Australia that required a lot of interstate travel and in-person contact. 'The most challenging thing has been not being able to go out to work with customers and build new opportunities', he reflected in August 2020.

Despite the challenges of lockdown, the Chamberlain family relished being able to spend some time together, and being able to tend to domestic and gardening chores around the home. 'Not rushing and getting chores done that have been on the to-do list for years has been a highlight', reflected Susan, 'and learning to live together again as a family, with time to appreciate the little things.'

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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