'It's like living in a fish tank.' A letter to South Australia, from your neighbours in Victoria.

Dear South Australia,

Well, f*ck.

Really I could just leave this letter at that. It feels like an accurate summary of your current situation and restrictions, and the way you as a state are no doubt feeling right now.

Today, as you enter your first day of the six day “circuit breaker” to tackle the rise of COVID-19 numbers in Adelaide, I would assume that you are experiencing a combination of shock, frustration, confusion and anxiety, as well as a plethora of other emotions.

I assume this and I understand if you are, because as a Victorian I have been there myself. As have my fellow Garden State residents.

For the last few days, as Victoria’s new active case numbers have remained at zero and yours have increased, we have watched on with a sense of dread - while simultaneously praying, hoping and crossing our fingers.

We did not want you, or anyone else, to go through anything remotely similar to us.

It is challenging, and it is absolutely unexplainable to anyone who has not had to experience it. So with this knowledge, we held our breath.

But on Wednesday, your Premier Steven Marshall announced the nation's harshest regulations in response to COVID-19:

"We are going hard and we are going early," he stated.

"Time is of the essence and we must act swiftly and decisively. We cannot wait to see how bad this becomes. That is why, today, I am asking you to rise to the challenge again.

"As of midnight tonight we need our community to pause for six days. A series of wide ranging restrictions will be implemented to significantly reduce mobility in the community to stop the spread, to stamp out this virus."


We know the restrictions are as devastating as they are necessary.

And while I could go into how challenging they are for a person and a community - how it can overwhelmingly impact you and your life - I won’t. Because I know it won't help.

I also know that right now hearing me, or any other Victorian refer to their experience, is probably not what you want to hear.

What I will do is say publicly, we absolutely feel for you, we absolutely ache for you, and most importantly, we are absolutely behind you. Every step of the way.

Being the focus of an entire nation’s gaze as you try and curb the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases is like living in a fish tank, where every move you make is analysed. You swim around in the same tightly controlled environment, with the same fish, and you just hope that these laps of the tank will do what they need to do so you can swim free.

Although what Victoria experienced is not the same as you, and although what South Australians are experiencing is not the same as us, know that we fully support you. We absolutely know that you can get this done.

With our love – your neighbours,


Shona Hendley, Mother of cats, goats and humans is a freelance writer from Victoria. An ex secondary school teacher, Shona has a strong interest in education. She is an animal lover and advocate, with a morbid fascination for true crime and horror movies. You can follow her on  Instagram.