Interstate travel chaos

Ruby Shirreff at the Junior Academy of Country Music in Tamworth. (Bec Gracie)

By Luke Voogt

Scores of Geelong locals currently interstate face lockdown, quarantine and uncertainty amid worsening COVID-19 outbreaks in NSW and Queensland.

Aspiring singer-songwriter Ruby Shirreff was in Tamworth this week with her mother for the Junior Academy of Country Music.

“It got cancelled last year due to COVID,” said the 18-year-old, who graduated Geelong’s Matthew Flinders Secondary College last year.

“We got into Tamworth late last Friday night. Then we joined the bubble and we haven’t left since. No one can have any contact with the outside world.”

Ms Shirreff and her mother underwent precautionary COVID-19 testing before travelling as a requirement of the academy.

But the Victorian government has declared regional New South Wales an orange zone, meaning they will have to get tested within 72 hours of arriving in Victoria and self-quarantine until they receive a negative test result.

“We’re just taking it day-by-day at the moment,” Ms Shirreff said.

Hamlyn Heights resident Robert Saunders was on vacation with his young family in Noosa Heads in southeast Queensland, which is in a three-day lockdown due to end today.

The area is a red zone, meaning Mr Saunders and his family would have to quarantine for 14 days after returning home if the lockdown does not end before his family’s scheduled return on July 9.

Recent Order of Australia medallist Brian Edward had to isolate in NSW for 14 days before crossing into Queensland with his caravan after leaving Geelong on May 27.

Mr Edward and his wife are in Burleigh Heads, near the Gold Coast, to visit their daughter.

“Another daughter and her son, who live in Tasmania, have had to cancel their plans to fly up here,” the 81-year-old said.

“This is the second time they’ve cancelled – we were meant to do it for my 80th birthday.”

“So I still like to think of myself as 79. But you couldn’t find a better place to be in lockdown.”

Leopold retiree Ian Norton, 67, and wife Jenny, coincidentally camped next to Mr Edward, also travelled to visit a daughter in Burleigh Heads.

Mr Norton had planned to join a reunion with old navy comrades on the trip.

“It’s 50 years since I joined the navy as an apprentice fitter,” he said.

“We put that off last year and now it’s been cancelled again.”