This digital photograph depicts family members Monique Silk, Peter Howells, Louis Howells and Toby Howells standing in their front yard during the State of Victoria's first COVID-19 lockdowns and associated 'stay at home' restrictions. The family are pictured standing with a 1971 Triumph Bobber motorbike and their pet dog Rex. The motorbike pictured in this image was custom built by Peter over a number of years, and during COVID-19 it remained a point of discussion - and a welcome distraction - for Peter, Louis and Toby.

At the time this photo was taken, Monique Silk was working as an art curator at St Vincent's Hospital, Peter Howells was a self-employed builder and their sons Louis, aged 20, and Toby, aged 17, were both working and studying part-time. When COVID-19 lockdowns were introduced in March 2020, Peter was able to keep working as an on-site builder, but Monique began to work from home and her sons began to study from home. 'The household became more busy', reflected Monique in June 2020, 'and it was a challenge trying to keep the boys positive when at home so much.' Despite the challenges of lockdown, however, Monique reflected that she enjoyed 'eating dinner together every night' and learnt 'not to take anything for granted.'

Working as an art curator for St Vincent's Hospital, Monique Silk had a unique insight into the experiences of medical staff working at the hospital. 'I kept thinking about how our art collection and art program could support the staff during these very stressful times. It was a challenging yet inspiring time to be working in a health care setting.' Realising the immense pressures and stresses that staff were under, Monique worked on establishing a project called 'Thank You Posters: Expressions of Heartfelt Thanks', whereby she invited members of the creative arts community to submit posters in thanks to the staff at St Vincent's. 'We wanted all staff to feel thanked whether on the frontline of the COVID crisis or working hard in the background', Monique reflected, 'Everyone who works here has helped to keep the wheels of the hospital turning diligently and above all safely for our patient community during this unprecedented time.' Her resulting exhibition, 'Tunnels of Love' was established in the underground tunnels of St Vincent's to provide a space where staff could view the posters, and other related material, anytime, at all hours of the day.

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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