Genealife in lockdown – Disappointment

As mentioned in my previous post about genealife in lockdown, I have not had much change in the way I live my life here in Tasmania.

But last night, I felt great disappointment for many of my fellow family historians.

geralt / Pixabay

It was graduation day for students in the Diploma of Family History at University of Tasmania.

Back in August 2017, at the graduation of the first group studying this subject, we filled 3 or 4 front rows of seats at the Hobart Convention and Exhibition Centre (part of the Grand Chancellor Hotel) where the ceremony takes place. We were nearly the first students presented with our diplomas and we had students ranging in age from early 20s to their 90s.

Each ceremony (held August and December) there is 100-200 students graduating with the diploma. The convention centre is usually full of students in the lower auditorium area being presented with degrees, PHDs, diplomas and other awards.  The top seating area is usually filled with family, friends and well wishers.

But yesterday, due to lockdowns in most states and restrictions coming into Tasmania, there was only about 10 family history students going across the stage. Instead of being seated next to each other, there were free seats between them all. There was a limit on the number of family or friends who could also be seated in the convention centre. In the Sunday Tasmanian newspaper printed today, there were nearly 150 students who could have been present.

In the weeks prior to our first graduation Judy Eindorf, a local Hobart student, and Lyn Francis from WA, suggested we all meet before or after the graduation and have a meal together. A way to meet face to face and get to know each other better. Judy booked us in to the Hope and Anchor Tavern across the road from the Grand Chancellor, but due to family concerns, she asked for someone else to take over the organizing of the meal. This is where I came by the job.

At that first meal we had about 80 people (students and their partners) in one upstairs room. It was very crowded. We had pre ordered our meals from a set menu and they came out on time. A bar was available in the room as well.

L to R: Sue, Terry, Prapaphan, Stephen and Anne

But the meal last night had only 5 keen participants – two students and their partners and myself. We got to know each other, chatted about the subjects, how we were planning to use what we had learnt in our future life and what we learnt about our family history from doing the course. Terry and his partner came from South Australia while Anne and her partner came from regional Queensland.

So this is one disappointment caused by Covid and restrictions within states. I hope once we get closer to zero cases in Australia and over 80% vaccination rate, that restrictions will lift and perhaps at the December 2021 or definitely the August 2022 graduations, there will be more students going to the actual ceremony and eating with us at the Hope and Anchor again.

Readers: What is one event you have not been able to participate in due to Covid and restrictions?

Genealife in lockdown – how is it different?

Well I am extremely lucky to live in Tasmania, the most southern state of Australia. Being an island, we have a natural moat around our state and our Premier was very quick to pull up the bridges and put in restrictions to entering the state. As at September 2020, our population was 541,071.

Except for early 2020, we have had virtually no change to our life in Tasmania. The closest we had to a lockdown was a short period in April/May 2020 (during the Ruby Princess scare) when we could only travel within 10km of our houses. This was when people in the northwest part of the state around Devonport and Burnie were following tighter restrictions. Dancing was not permitted and you had to be seated to eat food and drink when at hotels and bars. We had social distancing and the square metre rules for how many people could be in a certain venue.

We recently had a scare though – a person from NSW flew to Melbourne then onto Tasmania without getting a G2G pass. He was caught at Launceston airport when he arrived, was put straight into hotel quarantine and tested then two days later, was sent back to Sydney on a return flight. His test was shown to be positive for the Delta strain. Luckily he wasn’t out in our community during this time. Prior to this case, we had not had a positive case since 19 December 2020.

Personally, the only time I have had to wear a mask is at the airport when I travelled to King Island, then another time to Flinders Island and then a fortnight from Darwin to Broome. Early in 2020, I missed just getting into my car and going for long drives or heading into town to go to the archives.

With my parents being in their late eighties and living in their own home, I was worried about them getting Covid while shopping and eating out in the community. So my brother and I did their shopping early in 2020, then taught dad how to do online shopping from supermarkets. By the end of 2020, they were back to going out for meals and shopping again. Luckily mum’s GP organized for them to be vaccinated earlier this year and a couple of weeks ago they got their second dose.

Being retired, means life is like a holiday all the time. Get up when I want, do what I want when I want and so on. I have taken part in a couple of genealogical conferences this year but have not taken part in many zoom meetings. I have had the chance to do a lot more with my DNA results and adding to my tree. I have also volunteered at the local library to help one on one with family history clients. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading lots of books from the genealogy genre.

Readers: How has your genealogy life changed during Covid?