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Home > Collective Isolation Project, week 8: Special occasions

Collective Isolation Project, week 8: Special occasions

Front cover of Australian Women's Weekly depicts a nurse cradling a newborn
12 June 2020

Life doesn’t stop for a pandemic. Babies are born, anniversaries roll around, people die. 

Through history, human beings have gathered to celebrate and to mourn. How do we do this when safety demands we keep 1.5 metres apart?

In future, will we remember the ways in which we’ve marked these occasions with fondness or with regret?

This week, tell us how you’ve overcome social distance or isolation to mark a significant life event.

Share your response in words or pictures at our Facebook Memory Bank group and tag us with #SLVMemoryBank.

About this collection item

Most babies born in hospitals during the 20th century spent their first days on display behind glass viewing windows.

Ostensibly a sanitary barrier to protect newborns from germs, the other significant purpose of the window was a social one – it allowed fathers, grandparents and siblings a first glimpse of their new family member. Other hospital visitors, perhaps attending friends or family in less celebratory circumstances, could be uplifted by the sight of a sea of babies in their tiny boat-like cribs, a bittersweet reminder of the cycle of life.

The image above shows the front cover of The Australian Women's Weekly, 1 May 1948. The Australian Women’s Weekly was first published in 1933 and was marketed to a national audience of women of all social classes. For 87 years, the magazine has recorded significant life events and advised on the best ways to celebrate these events. Many Australians fondly remember birthday cakes made according to recipes from the magazine, whose publication frequency was reduced from weekly to monthly in 1982.

How to respond

Please feel welcome to respond as creatively or literally as you wish.

We collect all kinds of materials including photos, diary entries, letters, written lists, oral histories, poems and objects ... our collection policy covers almost everything you could imagine, so try us!

If you contribute, we may contact you to discuss collecting and using your images, stories, objects and experiences. We may not be able to accept everything, but we will endeavour to do so! With your permission, your contributions may be added to the State Collection or used in future Library programs.

About The Collective Isolation Project

The Collective Isolation Project aims to cement this current moment in history, and is our inaugural Memory Bank campaign.

Find out more about Memory Bank, including details about how to contribute each week.

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