We're taking a look back at what made news in Inverell in 2020. This story was published on July 16, 2020.
An Inverell family of six were two weeks into their planned trip around Australia when they had to take a huge pivot due to COVID-19.
Andrew and Elizabeth McArthur left Inverell with their four children Jake (eight), Liam (six), Noah (four) and Ariella (18 months) in October 2019 in search of work.
"Andrew is a shearer and farmer so we fully rely on agriculture for our income, as the drought was worsening, he picked up work shearing near Ballarat until March 2020," Elizabeth said.
The family planned to complete a lap of Australia once Andrew finished shearing at Ballarat so they ordered and picked up a caravan.
The McArthurs set off in early March and two weeks later things started to change rapidly.
Overnight, the family went from happily holidaying to feeling like "refugees in our own country". As free camp sites and caravan parks closed finding a place to set up became difficult.
Wanting to follow all lock down rules, the McArthurs travelled from the isolated West Coast to a small town called Ross in the midlands.
"We had a phone number for a shearing contractor, and within minutes had work lined up and a farm to hunker down on. We felt very blessed, as so many other people haven't been so fortunate."
Other tourists migrated to the mainland, but the local family waited out the lock down, the whole 11 weeks, on farm.
Continuing on with distance education was difficult, along with battling the freezing cold temperatures and trying to keep a toddler, preschooler and two primary schoolers happy, fed and entertained.
Despite the challenges, they never tired of the scenic views, nor the friendliness and generosity of Tasmania's locals.
Once the lock down eased they spent four weeks finishing off their holiday.
"Instead of heading to the Northern Territory as originally planned, we are now on our way home to self-isolate, having successfully crossed the Victorian border yesterday," Elizabeth said on Wednesday.
Jake, Liam and Noah understood what was happening and why lock down was a necessity for the family as Elizabeth and Andrew included them in discussion and decision made around COVID.
"We just continued to explain things in a way they could understand."
The planned trip around the country, turned into a slow loop around the state but the family still made unforgettable memories.
"We have had such an amazing time looking around, making a slow loop around the entire state and taking in as many of the sites as possible.
"The weather made things a bit difficult, but that wasn't enough to put us off from seeing anything we had planned."
Elizabeth said by the end of the trip, it was almost possible to prevent the virus was non-existent.
As Tasmania had zero cases in number of weeks, people were free to travel as they pleased.
Although some attractions were closed, most businesses were back to business as usual. With many highlights, Elizabeth chose a few.
"Hiking Lake St Clair in the snow, climbing up to Marion's Lookout at Cradle Mountain, driving to the southern most point of Australia, camping on Bruny Island and of course spending quality time together as a family and seeing our kids grow, change and learn before our eyes every day," she said.
Headed back to Inverell to re-group after the trip, the family have already planned to continue their travels around the rest of Australia in 2021 - if it is safe to do so.
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