This digital photograph depicts Fairfield residents Maria Geary and Les Kitchin during the State of Victoria's first COVID-19 lockdowns and associated 'stay at home' restrictions. They are pictured standing in front of their home on Anzac Day after participating in a dawn service on their street.
With usual public commemorative events cancelled due to social distancing and lockdown restrictions, neighbourhoods across Australia were invited to 'Light Up The Dawn' by standing at the end of their driveway at 6am and participating in a dawn service. This campaign, initiated by the Returned Services League (RSL), took several forms including from homes, at the end of driveways or via balconies. Communities and individuals spread the word via social media using the hashtag #LightUpTheDawn, and guidelines were made available, providing information on how to hold a service.
Les Kitchin, who had served in the 5th Battalion during the Vietnam War in 1966-67, decided to help organise a service on his street. In August 2020, he - along with his partner Maria- wrote a short reflection on their experience of commemorating Anzac Day differently during COVID-19:
'A significant day in our history - Anzac Day - commemorated in a different way under COVID-19 times in 2020. Neighbours in Darling Street Fairfield came out to the end of their driveways at dawn with flags, candles, lights, rosemary and a wreath, to reflect the day and 'Light Up The Dawn.'
This silent moving experience whilst listening to the Last Post was in contrast to previous years when we attended the Ivanhoe RSL service. Reunions with family and friends, as well as the city march to the Shrine of Remembrance with Vietnam War Veterans and mates from 5RAR were also cancelled.
The Fairfield community spirit was alive and special though, so we felt proud - not realising sharing this moment was making history itself!'
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.
Digital TIFF file
Donation from Julie Ewing
Collected as part of the Museum In My Neighbourhood project with support from the Office of Suburban Development.
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