An Open Letter to Australia

Dear Australia,

I’m scared. A lot of us are.

People are ambushing supermarkets, hoarding items and leaving the shelves bare.

The government is enforcing tough new restrictions every single day.

Our healthcare workers are suffering under mounting pressure.

There’s constant talk of recession.

We can’t even hug or kiss the ones we love.

It’s a completely unprecedented situation for our generation.

Our Prime Minister could only liken it to scenes post-WW1. And it’s this comparison that I want to explore further.

When Australia returned home from the first world war, we’d lost thousands of soldiers with many more injured. In fact, we lost the most soldiers per-capita of any allied nation.

Fascinatingly the final year of the war coincided with the outbreak of a deadly virus known as the Spanish Flu. It resulted in a global pandemic, killing more than 50m worldwide.

In Australia, people were quarantined, states setup their own boarder control and entertainment venues were shutdown. None of this stopped the spread, however it did slow it down.

By the end of 1919, the influenza pandemic was over, drawing a close on the two-year crisis.

At last count, over 40% of Australians contracted the Spanish Flu, while 15,000 more lost their lives, adding to the 62,000 we already lost at war. A staggering figure considering we only had a population of 5 million at the time.

What followed was years of economic turmoil, leading to the Great Depression during the 1930’s.

This made work incredibly hard to come by with the unemployment rate climbing to a record high 32% in 1932.

It was a time of terrible uncertainty. Some Aussies weren’t sure where their next meal was coming from or if they’d be able to keep a roof over their heads. Two fundamental human needs.

I can’t even begin to comprehend the anxiety our ancestors would’ve felt during this period.

To try gain some perspective and with no living WW1 veterans left, I often ask my grandmother what it was like growing up during WW2. Her most vivid memories revolve around rationing. Exchanging coupons for a limited supply of everyday items. Items that our current society, including myself take for granted like tea, sugar and clothes.

Grandma, aka Joyce Robertson can’t remember being scared, she simply says, “it’s just the way things were. We didn’t know any different.”

I’m not condescendingly asking Australians to consider how good we’ve got it in comparison because every situation is unique and should be considered on its own merits.

Instead, I’m asking us to consider the emotional state of our relatives. The fear they felt, the anger they faced and the pain they endured. The circumstances are different, but our emotions are the same.

The good news? Our families got through it. You and I, we are living proof that things get better.

So, while things may be grim now and they’ll likely get worse, be sure that this too shall pass.

In the meantime, we don’t have to look far to see the countless acts of kindness, inspiring and uniting us as one.

I Lost my Gig, providing live entertainers a platform to help and support one another during this tough time. GetUp, encouraging neighbours to help lend a hand. Solidarity Sessions, featuring international superstars performing their hits for live audiences on Instagram. Countless health and fitness organisations offering free online workouts, including Marvel superhero, Chris Hemsworth. Buy Them a Coffee, encouraging Aussies to donate money to real-life superheroes- doctors and nurses so they can stay caffeinated during their long, gruelling shifts.

With love, resilience and sacrifice we will get through this scary time, together.