Sausage Sizzles and Gorgeous Beaches — Imagining Queensland Out of Lockdown.

Written by Dr. Helen Marshall and Associate Professor Kim Wilkins

On April 22, we launched WISH YOU WERE HERE! Postcards from future Queensland, a community outreach project that encourages young Queenslanders to imagine the Covid-19 crisis as a turning point on the way to a better future world. The response from primary schools, high school and universities across the state has both staggered and genuinely moved us.

In our first challenge, we invited you to imagine the end of lockdown and the community celebration that will follow. Associate Professor Kim Wilkins gave tips for completing the challenge, encouraging you to focus on overlooked but evocative senses like smell. And boy, did you! Your postcards left our mouths watering as you described barbecues and sizzling hot dogs, dumplings and butter chicken, cotton candy, and salty chips, mingled with flower blossoms and the fading scent of hand sanitizer.

Renewed friendships and family celebrations were some of our favourite themes. You gave us beautiful images of schoolyards filled with thronging children, the first hugs after such a long break, carnivals with toilet paper raffles, beach parties, pool parties, and bittersweet memorials for those we have lost.

Georgia, a primary school student from Bowen Hills, wrote one of our very favourite postcards to her Nanna and Pa.

Can you believe it that we are back to normal? I nervously stepped out of our car this morning, hearing excited people, a noise that seemed so foreign to me. I looked up the stairs and unexpectedly saw teachers, happily having their good old chats as they greeted students with kind voices. I took a deep breath as I walked onto the terrace and smelt the most wonderful sweet smell of the magnolia flowers. Before I knew it I was surrounded by all of my joyful grade 5 friends. It was so wonderful to see them face to face, all dressed up in their blue and white uniforms, with gorgeous blue ribbons in their hair. We hugged, we played and we talked, simple things that we took for granted before this all started. It was so special, we were being our blue ribbon best. I can't believe I am finally back at school.

She wasn’t the only person to miss her grandparents. So many of your stories showed how important your family was to you, particularly those you have not been able to visit over the last weeks.

But there was also a sense of how you have missed being outdoors, whether it is enjoying the stillness of sunrise from Mt. Coot-tha or splashing around in the waves. 

You can read all our favourite submissions from young people like Georgia from across Queensland following our first challenge.

And if you want to join our project, it is not too late! A new writing lesson and challenge will be made available on Wednesday 6 May. Just visit our website so you can learn how to write your own story of a better, future Queensland.

WISH YOU WERE HERE! Postcards from future Queensland is an initiative run by The University of Queensland, with support from UQ's School of Communication and Arts, Centre for Critical and Creative Writing, AustLit and Corella Press.

Last updated:
21 May 2020