The day before Lockdown (112 days) ended in Melbourne.    This is the main northern end of the Royal Arcade where it opens on to the pedestrian-only shopping area and main department stores of Bourke Street.

Hairdressers and the 5km close-to-home limit had been lifted the week before, hence me being in the city for a haircut.   Only a minute to take the shot before the lone figure moved on and my appointment were due.

I was surprised at the number of people around on this day compared to the empty ghost-town like images on the TV news some weeks before, but I suppose there were people living in city apartments who had ventured outdoors for a walk.

Melbourne city pre-COVID below.


  1. The images with crowds are pre-COVID, Peggy. I should have typed it in bold before the galleries I guess.

    I have an appointment tomorrow in east Melbourne so if I have time, I will go into the city again.

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  2. Vicki……lockdowns end, but we have found in the UK that it also means that many folk think that CV19 has vanished and of course it is still there. Result is that we head for lockdown again. So take care. But I do love the reporarge collection of street life…some great shots.

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  3. You’re correct David, but to us here in Melbourne, it’s been a long 16 weeks of nightly curfew, no more than 5 kms from home restrictions and mostly, indoors. We still have mandatory masks, social distancing and closed between city and regional areas of our state, but the stores, pubs & restaurants are open (albeit with restrictions still).

    I know folk in the UK, US & Canada and each time I see your numbers on the daily international news, I really feel sad and very concerned.

    I’m sure there are asymptomatic folk around here somewhere, but hopefully not many. At least we’re 97% of the way to halting community transmission in Melbourne which is a relief to our other states which have closed borders to us.


  4. We released lockdown to early, with a rather gung-ho message from our PM of “go out travel, to the beaches,to the country”. Trouble is too many folk really did think life was back to normal. Then we have peacemeal local restrictions which didn’t restrict peoples travels. Now a new national lockdown about 6 weeks too late. Take care

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  5. You also take care, David. In the absence of leadership, accepting advice from the health experts and common sense I think it’s up to the individual to take precautions until the PMs around the world come to their senses and try longer lockdowns.

    I think the virus will never go away, but if we can stop community transmissions and close international, state (and county??) borders for a fair length of time, that’s a good starting point.

    Don’t lose Hope.

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  6. Those pre-Covid pics are like an ode to all that we used to so unthinkingly take for granted!
    I so hope that in Melbourne cases remain under control and everyone observes the protocols as the lockdown eases …
    Take care.

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  7. Looking through my Street Photography (black & white) folder reveals how crowded Melbourne’s streets had become PRE-COVID.

    (I’m secretly hoping when I go to the city again, I’ll see far less crowds as a permanent fixture forever).

    The news just now (midnight) revealed 73% of Melburnians are keen to support their local (suburban) shops and businesses. That’s one good result of this devastating pandemic. I have to admit some pride in the way Australia has handled this pandemic (despite a few mistakes like the cruise ship being allowed to disembark and hotel quarantine fiasco).

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  8. Thanks for dropping by Randall 🙂
    Yes, we’re hoping to get to ‘COVID Normal’ by Christmas i.e. a new lifestyle living with COVID next year and beyond. Not sure how much trust we have in a vaccine being effective and if so, there’ll be many who can’t use it (due to prior health conditions or allergies etc).


  9. Beautiful black-and-white photography! Thanks for sharing. Also, the contrast between pre- and post/during COVID street life images is eye-opening. These images truly bring it into focus. Yes, the pre-COVID shots do hold a kind of nostalgia, reminding of past better times, of a carefree life, in a way, and I agree that many did take that for granted. I also believe that post-COVID we’ll have to find and adjust to a new norm, to a new reality. I think that there’s no way we can go back to a post-COVID life…lifestyle. And it’s possible. We’ve done it with other pandemics, too. Problem is that, like with other pandemics or other similar situations, not long afterwards many will become complacent. Memories of COVID will start to fade away. That’s when images like the ones you share here will serve as gentle reminders and help get us back on the right track…if we let them. Hopefully. Again, thanks for sharing. Beautiful photography!

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  10. Thank you, Alina. I worry about post-COVID complacency too, but Victorians won’t forget how devastating the lockdown/curfew/limit on travel was for months on end. They won’t forget the mental strain and physical restraints on lifestyle.

    I was hoping to get some B & W images of deserted streets for my image library, but its too late now, people are back in the city centre. I was surprised how much traffic there was on the roads again (when I went for my specialist appointment in East Melbourne yesterday). The ring road the taxi took yesterday, was almost as crowded as 2019. It seems only 2-3 weeks ago, the freeways were completely deserted for quite some distance around and out of Melbourne.


  11. That kind of street life is wonderful, and I’ll be glad when it’s possible again. We’re doing pretty well, here. What’s most interesting to me is that even as we’ve continued to open, our infection rate has continued to fall. We’ve been as low as a 1% positivity rate; I think it’s around 3.4% now. In truth, this virus is going to be with us, just like the “regular” flu, and learning to live with it as we do with other diseases will happen. After all — what’s advised, like washing hands, staying home if ill, staying out of crowds, and such, is exactly what our parents taught us when we were children, seventy years ago. Such things aren’t new discoveries!

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  12. I completely agree, Linda.

    From all the research I’ve done so far, the vaccines seem to aim at dealing with symptoms or severity, more than stop you getting COVID. I’ve never had a flu shot and with my track record with drugs and allergies/sensitivities, I’d want to be very, very sure of its efficacy before accepting it.

    Good to hear your positivity rate has been low. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed all the people I talk to around the world remain safe. I’ve seen some chilling figures and real horror stories.

    I’m glued to your elections at the moment 😀

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  13. Thanks Terri.
    We still have face masks, social distancing and restrictions, but with no new cases or deaths for approx. 3 weeks and only 1 active case (who happens to be in the hospital), we should be Zero COVID cases in the community by mid-December in my state. Hard to believe France and Victoria (my state) had 700+ new cases a couple of months ago (almost the same) and now we have virtually none and France has skyrocketed to nearly 2,000,000 active cases (according to Mr Google). I do so wish other countries were able to go into severe lockdowns as hard as we Victorians did. It was like a police state and the end of the world in our empty streets, but slowly, slowly, stores and social venues are opening up since the restrictions are mostly eased.
    ‘Devastating’ on the Victorian economy, but at least that’s better than ‘devastation’ of human life.

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  14. I totally agree Vicki. Your state has done a fantastic job of getting Covid under control. I realize that it took a lot of sacrifice, but I agree that saving lives is the right priority. Here in the US, we went under lockdown in the Spring and it was effective. But things loosened up in the late summer and now we’re paying the price as we head into cold weather. It’s become a very divisive issue, and I think that’s why I enjoyed your photos so much. They give me hope. 🙂 ~Terri

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