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Creating a year of memories for the archives

May 4, 2021

Creating a year of memories for the archives

The year of the lockdown is how the majority of OCAV residents will remember 2020.

Many of those memories now form 2020: A Creative response during the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a publication spearheaded by Rushall Park resident Lou Anderson.

The publication was launched by Carolyn Fraser, senior curator from State Library of Victoria. She has been responsible for collecting material on COVID-19 to go into the State Library’s archives.

2020: A Creative response during the year of the COVID-19 pandemic contains 30 reflections from residents together with artwork and photographs, each highlighting the different ways people had of coping through the long winter months.

Some residents baked, others painted, wrote or learned a new skill. Searching family history and delving into the rich archives of the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria was another favourite. Many took advantage of the one-hour exercise a day with a partner or friend to catch up, deepen friendships, and clock up the kilometres.

“We all have a story to tell and an innate ability to be an artist, as is evident in this book. What
is also evident is the strength of the OCAV community, and how a pandemic has deepened that strength and resilience,” Lou said.

Phillip Wohlers, CEO, wrote in the foreword that he had drawn great pleasure reading the various contributions.

“It forced me to reflect on my own experiences throughout 2020. As CEO, the world became more complicated and urgent as we worked to ensure every village, resident and staff was kept as safe as possible. As a family man, the world became smaller and less noisy without having my grandson around as often, and yet we found new ways to relate: returning to board games, meal catch ups by zoom, reading, and cooking.”

A3 artworks created as part of the project as well as the publication will be placed in the OCAV archives.

Lou Anderson said the project had expanded as the lockdown continued.

“Towards the end of the second lockdown we were feeling the effects of the extended isolation here in Melbourne. It became obvious how important it was for many of us to express what we were experiencing as well as to write about the activities and events that had kept us busy,” she said.

For her and the other contributors, the opportunity to express the challenges of isolation contributed to a sense of strength despite watching in horror as the virus spread rapidly around the world. We felt fortunate and by recording our ‘contained’ experience we knew that we could contribute to an over-arching understanding of how life was for those kept safe during a pandemic.

2020: a Creative response during the year of the COVID-19 pandemic is available to purchase from Lou Anderson at Rushall Park. Either email her on or phone 0448950469.


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