A new Balonne Shire Facebook group is connecting the community so they can capture and share images of the region re-emerging after the COVID-19 lockdown.
Balonne Shire Council Mayor, Samantha O’Toole said the Welcome to Our Place Facebook group encourages locals to post a photograph of the places in our shire that mean the most to them to create an extraordinary record of this challenging and changing moment in time.
“The timing is perfect,” she said. “Current travel restrictions are easing from May 16, so locals can now take their camera and travel up to 500 kilometres within our outback region.”
Cr O’Toole said the community demonstrated strength and solidarity during the pandemic restrictions, and now was the time to enjoy reclaiming their freedom while still practising social distancing.
“Collating a pictorial collage of our region at this point in time is important to re-establishing our identity and celebrating the beauty and diversity of where we live.”
Cr O’Toole said as businesses throw open their doors to customers again, the photos could be inspired by the simple pleasures people have missed while in lockdown.
“Or the photos could be of your town, the main street, a park, a river, a favourite fishing spot, or somewhere around your home or property.”
Cr O’Toole said the photographs with the most ‘Likes’ would be used in a Virtual Online Exhibition which would be shared digitally to the broader community. Some images may also feature in the 2021 Community Calendar.
To push the creative boundaries, there is one stipulation, the photos must not contain people. “The focus is on rediscovering our landscape through the eyes of our friends and neighbours.”
Cr O’Toole said people simply submit one photo at a time and explain where the photo was taken, and why it has special meaning to them. Only Balonne Shire residents can join the group. “We want this to be about our community coming together to share our part of our region with each other.”
Cr O’Toole said with so many unique places in the shire, she was hopeful the photos may inspire residents to explore their region and even consider local staycations.
“Now is the time for all of us to think about what we can do to support the re-opening of our local community and economy as the pandemic restrictions ease.”