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‘We haven’t felt isolated’: Community spirit lifts as restrictions come down in Yarraville

In Yarraville, Lee Smith-Moir has been delighting users of Cruickshank Park since creating her own version of the rainbow trail, with 20 flags to spot, in March.

One of the signs put up by Lee Smith-Moir.

One of the signs put up by Lee Smith-Moir.Credit:Facebook

From a fun facts educational trail to a Ministry of Silly Walks path, she has been setting up different activities to cheer up locals on their daily exercise.

“Every day, we get people saying it brightens their day … they say it gives them a laugh or ‘I learnt something really interesting,’ ” Ms Smith-Moir said.

“It’s become a little happy place at the edge of the park.”

The retiree even built a giant puzzle wall, filled with optical illusions and quizzes, on the side of her home that sits on the edge of the park.

A virtual tropical holiday photo booth decorated with palms and flamingoes attracted hundreds of locals a day over a weekend in April.

People pose in the virtual holiday photo booth.

People pose in the virtual holiday photo booth. Credit:Facebook

And her front garden has a frog-spotting game for children.

Ms Smith-Moir watches from her living room that looks onto part of the park as locals enjoy her creations.

“In the morning, I often wake up to kids at the fence. You can hear them talking and laughing and trying to do the puzzle,” she said.

“We don’t even notice being locked down because we’re having so much fun.

“We haven’t felt alone, we haven’t felt isolated at all. It makes us smile every day.”

Ms Smith-Moir has more plans in store for Cruickshank Park users and has created a Facebook group where she plans to post signs Victorians can print out to put up in their own parks and neighbourhoods.

Public health specialist Charmaine Consul has come across many of Ms Smith-Moir’s activities while walking her dog, including a trail of signs last week that made her laugh.

She said some personal issues on top of the uncertainty of the pandemic had been getting her down.

“I was trundling along quite OK, but then I started to think I’m sick of staying in this house,” she said.

“[The activities] are very meaningful. It just takes your mind off it and you think about something else. It’s good to have a laugh. It really is lifting spirits.”

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