17 October 2021

Reflecting on the good news stories that got us through lockdown

| Damien Larkins and James Coleman
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Andrew Barr giving press conference with 'Ken Behrens' captioning

Our Spartacus moment as ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr gave a shout out to us all: Ken Behrens. Photo: Twitter.

The ACT’s COVID-19 lockdown may have been hard, but it also brought out the best in the Canberra community.

The daily COVID-19 update had us all tuning in at 11:45 am, but it was the local and positive stories that really caught our attention.

Community spirit, local heroes, creature features and a few surprises gave us all a boost during tough times.

So let’s take a look back at some of the best local stories to come out of the ACT’s lockdown.

COVID-19 ‘patient zero’ speaks out

Cedric Nyamsi

Cedric Nyamsi, the Canberran who contracted COVID-19 in August 2021. Photo: Supplied.

Cedric Nyamsi is believed to have sparked Canberra’s COVID-19 lockdown in August 2021.

He spoke from his sickbed to dispel rumours that he brought the infection on himself by acting illegally.

“Because of me, Canberra is in lockdown,” he said. “But I didn’t do anything wrong. Someone gave it to me, too.”

Later, when Mr Nyamsi left isolation, the usually fit, healthy 27-year-old said he was still not fully recovered, suffering from lingering tiredness weeks after the initial infection.

Proud Ken Behrens: Canberrans embrace the lighter side of COVID-19 lockdowns

'Proud Ken Behren' bumper sticker on car

Need a ‘Ken Behren’ bumper sticker for your car? Photo: Kristy Darmody, Facebook.

‘Ken Behrens’ may have started as a mistranslation, but it fast became a shining example of Canberra’s indomitable spirit and humour during COVID-19 lockdown.

When a caption of ACT Chief Minster Andrew Barr saying ‘Canberrans’ was translated as ‘Ken Behrens’, the gaffe took on a life of its own.

It spread like wildfire across social media and ended up on shirts, hats, coffee mugs and stickers, with many people donating the money raised to charity.

Malhotra family dishes up free meals on wheels for locals in need

Garry Malhotra cooking in kitchen

Garry Malhotra and his amazing volunteers dished up thousands of free meals for needy Canberrans. Photo: Garry Malhotra.

The way Canberrans stepped up to help each other became one of the most heartwarming parts of lockdown.

Indian cook Garry Malhotra and his amazing volunteers dished up thousands of free meals to locals in need.

People such as Garry, and the many others doing similar selfless work, made us proud to be Ken Behrens.

Hopping mad! Kangaroos taking over Canberra’s city centre

Kangaroos in Canberra's city centre

Cheeky kangaroos reclaiming Canberra’s city centre. Photo: Umair Rehmat.

Leave Canberra alone for five minutes and there’ll be kangaroos in the streets.

A viral TikTok video a month into lockdown showed kangaroos hopping through the centre of Civic.

In September, another kangaroo caught our attention after being saved from the bitterly cold Lake Burley Griffin by a group of brave passers-by.

Sadly, the much-loved kangaroo didn’t survive long past the ordeal and had to be put down.

Magpie attacks soaring due to face masks

Flying magpie

Face masks may cause more magpie swooping. Photo: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos.

It wasn’t just kangaroos catching our attention, as lockdown fell right in the middle of swooping season and magpies took centre stage.

Our precious one-to-two hours a day of outdoor activity saw us ducking from magpies confused by our face masks.

It’s no wonder Canberra is known as Australia’s ‘swooping capital’.

Getting to the bottom of Canberra’s little green boxes

Green box beside Canberra road

What are these little green boxes beside Canberra’s roads? Photo: James Coleman.

With daily limits on time spent outside, many of us found ourselves exploring our suburbs like never before.

Our daily walks become journeys of discovery and a new look at familiar places.

We started wondering about things we may have previously overlooked, such as those little green boxes at the side of the road.

Of course, the painted rocks craze also turned our walks into artistic, whimsical treasure hunts.

Dobinsons is on the move

Dobinsons food van

Dobinsons was on the move (or should that be on the roll). Photo: Dobinsons Facebook.

Hungry and thirsty Canberrans turned to home delivery during lockdown and the city’s businesses really stepped up.

Food vans such as Dobinsons took to the suburban streets, restaurants pivoted to takeaway, and many stores offered free delivery to help keep us safe.

Crack Bakery’s epic 1kg apple pies were a particular standout.

$20 million Powerball call makes lockdown a lot sweeter

Man and woman celebrating with Powerball ticket

Winning big with Powerball. Photo: File.

Life in lockdown was sweet for one Belconnen couple when they won a Powerball draw.

After initially ignoring their phone, the young pair eventually answered it to discover they were $20 million richer.

Thanks to everyone in Canberra for coming together and hanging tough during COVID-19 lockdown – we should all give ourselves a pat on the back.

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