This digital photograph depicts family members Nichola, Ryan, Olivia and Dallas Benjamin playing in their front yard during the State of Victoria's first COVID-19 lockdowns and associated 'stay at home' restrictions. Olivia, aged 6, and Dallas, aged 2, are pictured balancing on an outdoor play gym. Also pictured are the family's Australian Shepherd dogs Harley and Pixel.

When interviewed in June 2020, mother Nichola Benjamin reflected that parenting during lockdown had some significant challenges, but also some silver linings: 'We have been spending more time together as a family connecting with each other. Lots of arts and crafts! We made gingerbread cookies! We drew rainbows in chalk on the footpath. I got three different round canvases and we slowly added acrylic paint to them, one colour at a time. And we have spent a lot of time running around outside in our garden, and playing on the trampoline and play equipment. Despite things being really tough, we have a lot to be grateful for - we have our health and we have our family. We are blessed.'

With many family members living overseas, in different countries across the world, the children also took up letter writing, and posted drawings and handwritten letters to their loved ones. 'I was actually booked to take the kids to visit my mother in Hong Kong, reflected Nichola in June 2020, 'but due to COVID-19 that was cancelled and who knows when we will next be able to see her. So we have taken up the art of letter writing. We have also used Facebook messenger a lot!'

Nichola was working in the childcare industry when the COVID-19 lockdowns began in March 2020. 'The childcare industry has been an interesting one to work for during this period', she reflected in June 2020: 'The centre that I work for is amazing, but small and not run by a major organisation. So it means that as staff we have had to band together.' Despite the challenges that childcare centres across Victoria were going through at this time as lockdown restrictions impacted on childcare provisions and services, Nichola was grateful for her colleagues and teammates, who all worked together to support one another.

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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