Changing Places – The Streets Where You Live Three Years after Lockdown.

By Dr. Helen Marshall and Associate Professor Kim Wilkins

 WISH YOU WERE HERE! Postcards from future Queensland is 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. For the two months now we have been helping students across the state to imagine the future after lockdown. How might the coronavirus change the way we think about the cities and towns we love?

In our fourth challenge, we wanted you to write about your hometown, pointing out any new local landmarks. For a writer, instilling a sense of place can be exceptionally exciting. Landscapes reflect the people who inhabit them: they change as we change. If you couldn’t get outdoors, Helen suggested a range of tools you could try out, like Google street view. As begin to come out of lockdown, even familiar spaces are starting to feel a bit different. Perhaps it is parks with fewer people using them or outdoor exercise equipment we haven’t been allowed to use. You imagined panic points and gigantomachy playgrounds, the hustle and bustle of new cafes and markets open for business, museums, your favourite mountains, creeks and lookouts.

Aishah, a Grade 12 student from South Maclean, envisioned a grand monument to commemorate people moving forward:

I strolled through the streets, walking on the cobble pathway as I tugged the leash. "Come on, this way," I spoke gently, as I turned corners and corners until I finally stopped. Glancing up, I watched as the sunlight directly hit the statue, twinkling at me. "This was built three years ago," I murmured to my dog, who was standing proudly with their nose tilted up in the air. "It was built to signify hope... unity... peace. After all the chaos from the virus... it was just we needed," I said, smiling as my bright eyes roved around all the people chatting, laughing and eating their meals together. My eyes twinkled as I lightly placed my finger on the statue, running it along; there was no dust. It was spotless as always.

"Oh, glad to see you back here!" A man from behind the food stall called out to me.

"Oh hey!" I called back, walking over, my eyes scanning the delicious salads and fruit drinks on the menu. "I just can't help it, y'know? I love this place. It's where everyone goes now!"

"I get what you mean, kiddo," He smiled, sighing contentedly as he looked around the area. "Now, what can I get for you this time around?"

But what struck us about her writing was the sense of the people, a renewed community. You can read our favourite submissions exploring the cities and towns of Queensland following our fourth challenge.

Remember, you can still join our project or incorporate it into your own classroom. We have just released our last writing lesson which invites you to write a postcard from your future self in five years’ time! 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:
19 June 2020