This digital photograph depicts Wellways Australia team member Angelo Talidis receiving a delivery of knitted garments during COVID-19. At the time this photograph was taken, on 15 July 2020, the whole of Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire were under Stage 3 Lockdown restrictions due to a rise in locally transmitted COVID-19 cases. Angelo was working for Wellways Australia's Pathways to Home Program, which was focused on providing support to community members experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping in the local government area of Maroondah in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
During the early months of COVID-19 in Australia, Wellways Australia's Pathways to Home Program partnered with Maroondah City Council's Knit One Warm One campaign to deliver knitted items to those experiencing rough sleeping or homelessness. Knit One Warm One was developed in response to COVID-19 as part of Maroondah City Council's broader Be Kind campaign and invited the local community to show small acts of kindness by knitting warm items for charity. These knitted items were distributed by local charity organisations such as Wellways Australia.
In March 2021, Angelo reflected on this photograph and his experience of distributing knitted items in the local community during COVID-19:
'I was having a difficult day when this photograph was taken. Two or three of the Wellways participants experiencing homelessness were having crises of their own, in addition to sleeping rough that is! I remember trying to share my time around and show what support I could to our participants. It was a hard time for all Melburnians. I also recall thinking of the thoughtful and generous residents of the City of Maroondah that took the time to create vibrant, knitted wares for the local homeless community during this period. The hand-made scarves and beanies that were provided to recipients during out community outreach really did raise the mood of some of Maroondah's most disadvantaged people, brightening up their day.'
Description of Content
Man beside a car laden with brightly-coloured, knitted garments. He is wearing one of the garments, a blue scarf and holding another in his hands.
Colour diigital photograph JPEG format
This digital photograph is one of three photographs depicting team members from both Maroondah City Council and Wellways Australia working on the Knit One Warm One Project. With the support of the Office of Suburban Development, these photographs have been acquired into the museum's State Collection, providing a lasting reminder of the work of community, Council and not-for-profit organisations during COVID-19.
In particular, these photographs highlight the important role of community-based services and programs such as Knit One Warm One and Pathways to Home, which are just two examples of the many initiatives and programs that emerged across the State of Victoria to support community members through the pandemic. Programs like this, which were focused on small acts of kindness and volunteerism, provided important mental health and community support at a challenging time of lockdown and isolation. Fiona Burridge of Maroondah City Council, who coordinated Knit One Warm One, reflected in March 2020: 'As lockdown continued and we began to look the mental wellbeing of our community, as mental health and loneliness increased, the need for support services and social connections became a more focal point. It was humbling to see the generosity of our community, who were so willing to come together and do what they could to help others in need.'
These photographs also provide an important documentation of the issue of homelessness and rough sleeping during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were significant challenges for community members that were sleeping rough during Victoria's State of Emergency lockdowns and restrictions, with many regular support services cancelled, curtailed or limited to phone services only. Additional collaboration, networking and funding was required to provide emergency relief, and to deliver programs such as Pathways to Home and Knit One Warm One. As Wellways Australia employee Jacinta Fox reflected in March 2020, 'We are very fortunate to have multiple services in the homelessness sector and beyond who work collaboratively to support our community, and the pandemic required even greater collaboration, and highlighted these needs more.'
In addition to these three photographs, an oral history interview, two knitted scarves and a series of photographs taken with resident of the Cherry Grove Retirement Village, Diana Pullin, has also been collected into Museums Victoria's State Collection to document this storyline. These items further explore the role of Maroondah City Council's Knit One Warm One program, as well as Diana Pullin's experience of living in a retirement village setting during COVID-19 and finding comfort and solace in knitting for charity.
Place & Date Depicted
Type of item