2020 Year in Review
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2020 Year in Review

Suzi O'Shea

Suzi O'Shea

26/03/2021 • 28 minute read

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What a year!

2020 – It’s been a hell of a ride. Thinking back to January almost seems like a lifetime ago. Yet, here we are, weeks away from concluding possibly the most tumultuous twelve months we have collectively endured. Well done to us.

Let’s go back to the beginning and take a look at the events that unfolded.

January

2020 did not get off to a good start. Australia experienced some of the worst bushfires in history during a prolonged bushfire season. Resources were stretched thin as large parts of the country sweltered in record breaking heat. As the country burned, leaders were called to account and the ‘debate’ around climate change took centre stage.

Scott Morrison made headlines for all the wrong reasons and our farmers and rural communities suffered great losses.

We still held major sporting events and Melbourne hosted the Australian Open. Novak Djokovic and Sofia Kenin took out the titles and were crowned respective champions.

On the 25th of January, a man that flew into Melbourne was diagnosed with the first case of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Australia.

A day later on the 26th of January, the sports world was reeling from the loss of arguably one of the greatest basketballers, Kobe Bryant. Kobe and his teenage daughter died in a helicopter accident that shocked the world.

And lastly, we were on the brink of World War III. That might be slightly dramatic, but there was a whole lot of tension and eyes were on Iran and Trump’s erratic, highly unpredictable temperament, i.e; his twitter feed.

All this, and we’re only 31 days into the year!

February

Very shortly after the most devastating fires the nation has ever seen, the country contended with floods. Some areas reported a 200 milliliter deluge in just 24 hours. All that rain extinguished most of the remaining fires and brought some much needed relief to farmers that had suffered years of drought.

Holden, an iconic, Australian brand, called last drinks. General Motors, based in the US, announced their decision to close the factory in Thailand that produces the vehicles that are just as Australian as Vegemite & kookaburras. The end of an era.

And in entertainment news, Parasite took out the Oscar for Best Picture, (and a bunch of other Oscars too) making it the first non-English language film to do so. Then, director Bong Joon Ho dropped, possibly one of the best one-liners of all time.

Oh February… it was a simpler time.

March

We were only two days into the month when Australia recorded the first COVID fatality. It shook the nation and set a pretty dark tone of things to come.

We had a momentary reprieve from the gloom that awaited us, celebrating the Women’s T20 World Cup victory against India, the team’s fifth World Cup win in total. The MCG hosted over 86,000 fans, making it the biggest crowd of a women’s sporting event in Australia, all on International Women’s Day.

Parents across the country soon had a newfound appreciation for schools and the tremendous jobs teachers do, when schools shut their doors to students. The shutdown of schools and daycare centres left many parents questioning their life choices and may have led to an increase in day drinking.

For several reasons, unbeknownst to me, there was a collective freak out that sparked the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020. This will be a moment that is documented in history books for future generations to rightly mock. This hoarding and crazy behavior was met with a very cranky PM who gave, in my opinion, the greatest press conference of all time. In that moment, Scott was Australia’s dad, and Australia was a petulant toddler being sent to their room. Stop it!

Whether it was the toilet paper crisis or sage advice from epidemiologists, the severity of the virus started to take hold and a national cabinet was formed. It was the first time the country saw all the state and federal leaders get along and play nicely, which made for a refreshing change.

One by one, countries closed their borders, restrictions were put in place, and in the short space of a week, the world shut down. People shared photos of famous landmarks completely deserted as an eerie, dystopian feel flooded every corner of the world.

 

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As the world was closing down, closer to home, locals started receiving letters from a random law firm. The law firm in question Gordon Legal, took a class action suit against the Commonwealth of Australia… and won! The government had to pay back $550 million to over 400,000 Centrelink recipients that fell victim to the ill-fated Robo-Debt scheme.

Keeping to the tune of justice prevailing, Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of criminal sexual acts in the first degree and third-degree rape, being sentenced to 23 years in prison.

To wrap up one of the most tumultuous months on record, Netflix gifted the world Tiger King. One of the most insane documentaries that follows a bunch of crazy people doing wild things, Tiger King perfectly sums up the chaotic, unexpected drama that this year has proved to be thus far.

April

After about two and half centuries, April rolled around. A team of researchers led by Australian Professor, Andy Heries, discovered the remains of an infant skull. The discovery showed that our Homo erectus ancestors were in fact 200,000 years older than once believed. In any other year, in a normal world, that would have been a major story. In April 2020, no one cared.

Another story that was swiftly forgotten was that of George Pell. That is, until his conviction was quashed and he was released from prison.

Then there was that time that we thought Kim Jung Un died! Turns out, he’s absolutely fine, riding horses in the snow.

By far the best thing that happened in April was the inception of bin isolation outing. What started as a joke turned into a viral sensation and the outfits brought us all some much needed joy.

Coming in at a very close second is this glorious bit of goodness.

May

Back in March, NRL chairman Peter V’landys made the outlandish promise that the National Rugby League would resume on the 28th of May. The whole nation scoffed and thought he was mad, but V’landys was determined. Sure enough, the Parramatta Eels thumped the Brisbane Broncos at an empty Suncorp Stadium. The game was broadcast to a sports starved audience around the world, with fake crowd noises and all.

It wasn’t quite the moon landing, but SpaceX made history with its launch of the Crew Dragon Spacecraft.

Australian sculptor and deadset legend by the name of Dr. Farvardin Daliri built a giant kookaburra that actually sings to cheer people up.

The winner of May, if not the whole year, has to be Jennie Stejna. The feisty 103 year old nana that beat Covid and smashed a Bud Light to mark the occasion.

The tail-end of May had enough tales of human greatness to lift our spirits. Those spirits were quickly shattered on the 25th of May after the death of George Floyd was captured on film and showed around the world.

June

George Floyd’s death fanned the flames of frustration and anger, resulting in a worldwide movement of (mostly) peaceful protests for Black Lives Matter. The continued killing of innocent black lives, capitulated by a pandemic, increasing unemployment, poverty and helplessness, led to worldwide protests that lasted for months.

 

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Not to be outdone by the inferior league (depending on which state you’re from) the Australian Football League resumed its season with a Richmond, Collingwood match.

July

July saw Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, make the tough call to declare a state of emergency and place Victoria on a strict stage 4 lockdown. It was the strictest impositions the country had seen due to such high case numbers, that had unfortunately resulted in several deaths.

 

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As the pandemic worsened around the world and the death toll kept rising, more and more people began to question their obsession and fascination with celebrity culture. The rich and famous complaining about how tough lockdown is in their mansions started to wear thin. What even is this?

 

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A post shared by Gal Gadot (@gal_gadot)

The decided irrelevance of celebrity culture did give rise to a new cult hero. Medics, nurses, doctors, scientists, and essential workers all received the idol status they truly deserved. Several restaurants around the world provided meals and coffee for medical staff and communities pitched in with acts of kindness and generosity.

August

On the second of August, what started as a large fire in the Port of Beirut ended in catastrophe when a huge explosion killed 200 and injured more than 5,000 people across the city. A warehouse containing 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, exploded in a supersonic blastwave that left a 140m explosion crater. The devastation left close to 300,000 people homeless and led the Lebanese Government to resign.

Amid the Black Lives Matter protests, Jacob Blake, an unarmed black man, was shot several times in the back by a police officer. The 29 year old father of six may be left paralysed from the waist down as a result of the shooting. No police officers were charged.

One of the most beloved Marvel superheroes, Chadwick Boseman, lost his battle to colon cancer at age 43. His bravery during his battle against his illness was well documented as an outpouring of grief consumed the internet.

 

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A post shared by Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman)

Wakanda Forever!

September

After a grim August, we kicked off September with some finance news. Australia had officially entered the first recession in close to 30 years. After severe bushfires and a pandemic, it came as no real surprise.

The NRL season came to an end and saw the Brisbane Broncos last on the ladder, making it the first time in the clubs history to get the wooden spoon.

Indigenous artist, Vincent Namatjira, claimed the coveted Archibald prize for his portrait Stand Strong for Who You Are. The portrait featuring Adam Goodes, is the first Archibald prize to be rewarded to an Indigenous artist.

 

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A post shared by Margie Harris (@tinkerbellpt)

October

Despite the pandemic and lost rounds, October remained footy finals season. The Richmond Tigers & Melbourne Storm claimed their titles as champions of their respective leagues. After a brutal lockdown and a pretty average year, Victorians were dealt an awful blow with their beloved AFL final being played in Queensland for the very first time.

Usually handed down in May, the 2020-21 Federal Budget delivered some bleak news about the state of our finances. Josh Frydenburg laid out some plans for recovery with a surprising boost for young people in this year’s budget.

As the month drew to an end, an emotional Daniel Andrews declared the time has come to ‘get on the beers’.

Melbournians were freed of their hard lockdown restrictions and were allowed outside again.

November

I think the word for 2020 would have to be “unprecedented”. Like so many unprecedented events, the NRL State of Origin series took place in November over three consecutive weeks. Utterly exhausted players took to the field and Queensland held on to a bit of league dignity by clinching the series win against New South Wales.

In the first of many defeats, Donald Trump lost the US election to President-Elect Joe Biden. With the whole world locked down and not much else to watch, Trump has provided entertainment to the world with his absurd antics, conspiracy theories, and a solicitor whose face melted on live TV.

On a much brighter note, the eternally fabulous Cher saved the loneliest elephant in the world, proving that there is hope for humanity yet. Kaavan was rescued, rehomed, and is now living his best life.

December

What started off as a truly disgusting year is ending with a flurry of hope and optimism. Breaking all kinds of records for research, testing, and awesomeness, scientists all around the world have achieved what was thought to be impossible, and have begun rolling out vaccines. With Britain the first western country to start administering vaccines, several countries are soon to follow. Given the fortunate position Australia is in, the timeline for our vaccine rollout will be around March next year.

In other good news, we found a pygmy possum on Kangaroo Island, suggesting that these balls of cuteness survived the horrific bushfires.


Then, if that wasn’t heartwarming enough, an anonymous shopper went into Mr Toys Toyworld on the Gold Coast and paid off more than $16,000 worth of lay-bys to make life a better place for total strangers. Humans are amazing.

And finally, lobsters are crazy cheap now. Granted, this price reduction has emerged as a result of an ongoing trade war with China that has the potential to economically destroy our country, but hey, when life gives you 2020, eat cheap lobster.

 

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Ultimately, this year has been a hell of a ride. No matter where you are or how you’re celebrating this festive season, the team here at Oiyo thank you so much for showing us love and wish you all the happiness you deserve. Here’s to surviving 2020!

 


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Suzi O'Shea

Written by Suzi O'Shea

Suzi O'Shea is a contributing writer for Oiyo. She has a Bachelor of Arts, Communications with honours from Southern Cross University. Suzi has worked in media for over 15 years and has been published in several online publications as well as print magazines. She has worked as a freelance writer, speaker, and change management facilitator.

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