2020 Timeline

by Diana MacDonald


I created this timeline to make sense of the nonsense year. I couldn't recall the order of certain events, or get a sense of how much time had really passed. How long was lockdown really? So I recorded all the events that happened to myself and those around me living in Melbourne in 2020.



Expand this summary for the table of data…

This data shows Melbourne in 2020, where Lockdown 1.0, Lockdown 2.0, and the Ring of Steel together take up a little more than half the year.
Date Event Event description Personal or Shared
Tuesday, 31 December Bushfires over New Years The fire in Mogo cut all communication in the region. I heard nothing from my family there for 25 hours. Shared
Wednesday, 1 January Sundown 2020 festival I danced while waiting to hear from my family. Personal
Friday, 3 January State of Disaster in Victoria State of Disaster declared in Victoria with bushfire conditions expected to deteriorate. Shared
Monday, 6 January Cambridge masks We ordered Cambridge masks to protect against bushfire smoke. Personal
Wednesday, 8 January Offsite work activity I was nervous about smoke inhalation and paid for Ubers to the offsite to avoid asthma problems. Personal
Thursday, 16 January Air quality deteriorates We are monitoring air quality before leaving the house. Shared
Monday, 20 January Hailstorms, flash flooding, and thunderstorms Canberra and NSW cop massive hailstorms. Victoria suffers hailstorms, thunderstorms, and flash flooding. Shared
Saturday, 25 January First COVID-19 case reported in Australia It's here! Shared
Sunday, 2 February Went to the zoo This was lovely. Personal
Thursday, 6 February Performance sync This was kinda brutal. Personal
Saturday, 8 February Started Animation course SVG Essentials & Animation, v2 by Sarah Drasner. Personal
Thursday, 20 February Train derailment in Victoria A train derailed in Wallan, killing 2 people. Shared
Friday, 21 February Cancelled my train ticket The train derailment on the line I was supposed to take that weekend to Sydney meant I needed to replace my train ticket with a last-minute plane ticket. Personal
Thursday, 27 February ReactConf AU in Sydney 2-day conference interstate. People were flying in with cases at this time. Personal
Sunday, 1 March First Covid death reported in Australia A 78-year-old Perth man, who was one of the passengers from the Diamond Princess. Shared
Tuesday, 3 March Supermarkets begin rationing toilet paper Panic buying led to shortages in stores. Shared
Wednesday, 4 March We all learn how to wash our hands See also: TikTok hand washing dance. See also: hand washing meme. Shared
Tuesday, 10 March Culture Amp starts working from home A level playing field. Personal
Thursday, 12 March WHO officially declares COVID-19 a pandemic We stop talking about the novel coronavirus and start talking about the pandemic. Shared
Thursday, 12 March Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson test positive Isolated in Gold Coast hospital. Shared
Sunday, 15 March Visited family in Melbourne Who knew there'd be so few trips after this? Personal
Sunday, 15 March Coles imposes 2-item limit on panic shoppers The purchase of mince, pasta, flour, dry rice, paper towels, paper tissues and hand sanitisers is limited to 2 items per customer. Toilet paper remains limited to 1 pack per customer. Shared
Monday, 16 March State of Emergency Victoria declares state of emergency. Shared
Monday, 16 March Ordered food online from CERES I felt so much relief at the ability to order food online again. Personal
Thursday, 19 March Australia closes its borders Closed the borders to all non-residents. Shared
Thursday, 19 March Ruby Princess cruise ship docked in Sydney Celebrity Solstice contributed 11 cases. Eventually 440 passengers on Ruby Princess tested positive. Shared
Saturday, 21 March Social distancing rules imposed Nation-wide social distancing. Indoor gatherings of fewer than 100 people are still allowed. Shared
Sunday, 22 March Dan Andrews says we shouldn't get on the beers “You won’t be able to go to the pub because the pub is shut,” said Premier Dan Andrews. “That doesn’t mean you can have all your mates around to [your] home and get on the beers, that’s not appropriate.” Shared
Monday, 23 March Nation-wide lockdown begins From midday, 23 March, all pubs, clubs, restaurants, cinemas and indoor sporting venues across the country shut down. Shared
Tuesday, 24 March Non-essential businesses closed For Victoria. Limit your day to day activities outside your home. If you don’t need to do it, don’t do it. If you have to go outside, keep a full arm-span (about 1.5 metres) between yourself and other people. Shared
Saturday, 28 March Finished one of Shirley Wu's D3 courses Personal
Tuesday, 31 March JobKeeper wage subsidy program announced $70 billion to pay employers up to $1500 a fortnight per employee. Shared
Tuesday, 31 March South Australia closes its borders Border towns have exceptions. Shared
Saturday, 2 May Outbreak reported at Victorian meatworks 8 cases reported, later linked to 90 cases. Shared
Friday, 15 May NSW eases restrictions on public gatherings Shared
Monday, 18 May Flu shot I took a trip to the Chemist to get a flu shot so I couldn't catch Covid and the flu at the same time. Personal
Tuesday, 19 May Virtual rent inspection This was such a fail. Personal
Sunday, 24 May Rio Tinto destroys historic Aboriginal site 46,000-year-old Juukan Gorge cave in the Hammersley Ranges, WA, was destroyed. Shared
Monday, 25 May The killing of George Floyd Black Lives Matter. Several protests followed in Australia around social issues faced by Indigenous Australians, including Aboriginal deaths in custody. Shared
Monday, 25 May Published “Learning data viz with D3” This Medium article captured my first 30 days of a 100-day project. Personal
Tuesday, 26 May Melbourne quarantine hotel cases escape A night duty manager and 5 security guards at Melbourne quarantine hotels tested positive leading to second wave in Melbourne. Shared
Wednesday, 27 May Culture Amp lets go 36 people ~8% of our global team. Personal
Saturday, 30 May Began two-week staycation I couldn't go anywhere, but it was lovely. Personal
Monday, 6 April Ordered more sweatpants Working From Home this much requires more pants. Personal
Tuesday, 7 April High Court quashes George Pell convictions “… the evidence did not establish guilt to the requisite standard of proof” Shared
Sunday, 12 April Finished second of Shirley Wu's D3 courses This is a great course. Personal
Friday, 17 April Finished third of Shirley Wu's D3 courses I want to visualise things! Personal
Saturday, 25 April Started 100 days of data viz I published Observable notebooks daily. Personal
Tuesday, 28 April Toilet paper panic buying People literally fighting over toilet paper. Shared
Monday, 1 June Victorians allowed up to 20 visitors Up to 20 people in your home or in a public place. Restaurants, cafes and pubs can have up to 20 customers dine in, and businesses such as beauty therapists can see clients again. Shared
Sunday, 7 June Birthday celebration Visited family in Melbourne for birthday celebrations. Personal
Friday, 12 June Friend's birthday I had dinner at a friend's house. It was strange figuring out how to interact and social distance indoors. Personal
Monday, 22 June Victorians allowed only 5 visitors Households can only have five visitors. Shared
Wednesday, 24 June Ended my physio streak I had managed 84 days of consistent physio. Personal
Saturday, 27 June WA relaxes its restrictions Normal life resumes over there. Shared
Wednesday, 1 July Lockdown in Melbourne hotspots Not my area. 10 different Melbourne postcodes. Shared
Thursday, 2 July Judicial Inquiry Into Hotel Quarantine Program Shared
Saturday, 4 July Visited in-laws Further birthday celebrations. Personal
Saturday, 4 July 2 more hotspot post codes locked down Friends are back in lockdown. Shared
Tuesday, 7 July Upcoming Stage 3 restrictions announced Only allowed to leave the house for four reasons: shopping for food and essential items, care and caregiving, daily exercise, and work. This is when we should have fled to the country. Shared
Wednesday, 8 July Victorian and NSW interstate border closed The border closed for the first time since the 1918–19 Spanish flu pandemic. Shared
Wednesday, 8 July SA imposes hard border closure to Victorians Throws border towns into chaos. My family can't do their grocery shopping. Personal
Tuesday, 21 July I officially resigned from my role This is one of the bigger risks I've ever taken. Personal
Wednesday, 22 July Melbourne compulsory masks At 11.59pm, masks became mandatory. A fine of A$200 will apply to those not complying. 3 days notice was given for people to buy masks. Shared
Saturday, 25 July Covid-19 test I had a minor cough. Did drive through test. Personal
Tuesday, 28 July Covid-19 test result was negative That was a good SMS to read. Personal
Sunday, 2 August Finished 100 days of data viz Oof. That was hard work! Personal
Sunday, 2 August Melbourne Stage 4 restrictions Curfew between 8pm and 5am. 5km travel restriction. Reduced business. Only one hour of exercise. Shared
Sunday, 2 August State of disaster Victoria declares state of disaster. Shared
Saturday, 8 August Six year anniversary with my partner We did nothing special. Personal
Monday, 17 August Loved one's 40th birthday Iso birthdays involve lots of delivered food. Personal
Friday, 4 September My final day at Culture Amp People were so nice. Personal
Sunday, 13 September Social bubbles in First Step for reopening Those living alone or single parents allowed to have one other person in their home. Playgrounds reopened. A reduction of the curfew by an hour. Shared
Monday, 21 September Whales beached in Tasmania Within 3 days, upwards of 450 whales were beached. Shared
Thursday, 24 September Released significant changes to Typey Type I redesigned Typey Type for Stenographers, added new lessons, added a metronome, and made a bunch of fixes. Personal
Sunday, 27 September Restrictions starting to ease and curfew ended Public gathering limits increased up to 5 people from 2 households outdoors for social interaction. Shared
Monday, 28 September Saw a friend at the park First non-stranger I've seen outside my house in 12 weeks. Personal
Monday, 28 September Childcare reopened This was a big deal for many people. Shared
Friday, 16 October Trip to hospital emergency department (not related to Covid) We're ok. 4 hours 51 minutes was the longest I'd been outside my apartment in 14 weeks. Personal
Sunday, 18 October “Get on the Beers (featuring Dan Andrews)” remix goes viral Played at the Wine Machine festival in Swan Valley, WA, the viral remix by Mashd N Kutcher was officially release 26 Oct 2020.
Monday, 19 October Restrictions further eased to 25km radius Two-hour time limit for exercise and socialising was lifted. Hairdressers allowed to open. Many allied health services allowed to have face-to-face services. Shared
Monday, 19 October Visited the beach First time leaving my 5km bubble in 15 weeks (except for the hospital trip). Personal
Tuesday, 20 October Offered a new role Prospect of employment! Personal
Tuesday, 20 October Postal voted in local election Postal voting was so easy. Personal
Monday, 26 October News of lockdown ending in 2 days I cried. Shared
Monday, 26 October Donut Day shows 0 cases and 0 deaths in Vic Victorians celebrate by buying donuts in droves. Shared
Tuesday, 27 October Dan Andrews confirms we can get on the beers “Can I confirm you are saying we can finally get on the beers?” a reporter asked at the presser. “I don’t know that I’ll be drinking a beer tonight,” replies Premier Dan Andrews. “I might go a little higher up the shelf.” Shared
Wednesday, 28 October People no longer require a reason to leave home All retail, restaurants, hotels, cafes and bars allowed to open with capacity limits. Beauty, personal services and tattooing reopened, outdoor community and non-contact sport recommences. A maximum of 10 people allowed to attend weddings. A maximum of 20 mourners allowed to attend funerals. Faith and religious gatherings allowed to resume. Shared
Sunday, 1 November Saw Melbourne family First time since June. Personal
Monday, 9 November Allowed to travel more than 25km Gyms and fitness studios opened, capacity limits for restaurants, hotels, cafes and bars increased, gathering limits for faith and religious gatherings increased, and indoor pools opened. Shared
Monday, 9 November Ring of Steel around Melbourne opened Finally allowed to leave the city. Shared
Monday, 9 November Saw out of Melbourne family for the first time in six months Left the city! It was glorious. Personal
Tuesday, 10 November Traditional Place names addressing guidelines Australia Post's public endorsement of Traditional Place name addressing came during NAIDOC week. Shared
Wednesday, 11 November Warnings of thunderstorm asthma I didn't need a puffer at this time. Shared
Saturday, 14 November Breakfast with a friend at a favourite cafe Potentially the last time we'll be here for years! Personal
Sunday, 15 November Brunch with friends What a concept! Finally met our friends' new twins. Personal
Monday, 16 November South Australia locks down after outbreak Shared
Thursday, 19 November Ate out at a restaurant for dinner First time since… I can remember. Personal
Friday, 20 November Saw Mum for the first time since January Such a moment. Personal
Saturday, 21 November South Australia ends its lockdown Successful tracing. Shared
Monday, 23 November NSW opens its borders to Victoria Progress! Shared
Monday, 23 November We moved out of Melbourne to regional Victoria Fleeeeeeeee! Personal
Tuesday, 1 December Queensland opens its borders to Victoria Sunshine awaits! Shared
Thursday, 10 December Interest rates went negative The interest rate on Treasury notes went negative for the first time. The Australian government was paid to borrow money. Shared
Sunday, 13 December Early Christmas celebration Spent time with one part of the family in outback Victoria. Personal
Friday, 18 December Sydney's Northern Beaches declared hotspot The national COVID-19 hotspot was declared because of the outbreak linked to 28 cases, later linked to 83 cases. Shared
Saturday, 19 December WA closes its border to NSW again The hard border closure prohibits travel from anywhere in NSW to WA without an exemption. Shared
Sunday, 20 December Christmas lunch Spent time with another part of the family in regional Victoria. Personal
Monday, 21 December Applied for and received Queensland Border Pass Phew! There was not a lot of wriggle room for this. Personal
Friday, 25 December Christmas day A small Christmas celebration. Personal
Saturday, 26 December Began road trip to Queensland We started a 4-day drive to move to Queensland. Personal
Monday, 28 December Crossed border into Queensland We made it! Personal
Wednesday, 30 December Victoria ended 61-day streak of no cases There were 3 community cases. Shared

About this timeline

You might also enjoy reading The Year of Blur By Alex Williams - The New York Times. This explains the brain fog, the strange sense of time, the drinking, the worrying, and other bizarre aspects of experiencing 2020.

Here are some of the things that happened throughout the year that this timeline doesn't capture:

  • The ambiguity and fuzziness of rule changes and guidance. While I've noted the major "lockdown" periods, there were periods before, after, and in between when we were still fairly significantly impeded. Between lockdowns, we were technically allowed out to cafes, but strongly discouraged. It was hard to know what to do.
  • The bushfire season in Australia that burned 18.6 million hectares, destroyed over 5,900 buildings, killed at 34 people, and killed 3 billion animals.
  • The uncertainty of what risks we were taking leaving the house when we knew so little about the disease and how it was transmitted.
  • Every time we discovered a horrifying new symptom of the COVID-19 disease.
  • When we stopped being able to make plans. The future was so uncertain and there were so many restrictions that our horizon shrunk down to a day or two at best.
  • Anxiety about shopping and buying food. How would we safely acquire food to eat? How would we deal with panic buying? Where would we get toilet paper from? How would we deal with 2-item limits? How would we deal with restrictions on online grocery shopping? How would we manage dietary needs and physical challenges?
  • Sewing masks, baking sourdough, and all the hobbies we started.
  • Deteriorating relations with China.
  • The wider racial justice movement.
  • Everything else that happened abroad: Captain Sir Thomas Moore raising £30 million for NHS Charities Together by walking, climate change, Scotland making sanitary products free, Trump's impeachment, Trump suggesting people drink bleach to cure the coronavirus, the Harvey Weinstein verdict, Kamala Harris as Democratic Vice President-Elect, the US election, the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Brexit, the COVID-19 toll, Ukrainian Boeing 737 plane crash in Iran, Elliot Page announcing he is transgender, and so much more…

Notes about the data

I focused on events that I personally remember happening when it happened, rather than those I heard about later. I also focused on events that directly affected Victorians and Australians, especially in Melbourne.

For rule changes implemented at 11.59pm, I rounded up to the next day, because that's when the rule started having an impact on me. I also focused on when rules came into effect rather than when they were announced, except where the announcement itself was significant.


Here are some useful resources I found for looking up dates of events:

About the code

You can see the code on GitHub.

About Di

👩‍💻 Front-end data viz & design systems engineer

✍️ Author of Practical UI Patterns for Design Systems

⌨️ Creator of Typey Type for Stenographers