Hang In There, Sydney: The Love Note From Melbourne We Never Knew We Needed

By Tim Piccione
6th Sep 2021

When Sydney went into a snap lockdown 11 weeks ago, we naively strapped in for what we presumed would be a quick seven days of staying indoors, fun takeaway meals, and overexercising our dogs. Now, Sydney could very well overtake Melbourne’s gruelling record 112-day lockdown of last year.

But as we keep looking towards the double-jabbed light at the end of the tunnel and the promise of open restaurants and buzzing beer gardens for summer (reminder: get vaccinated), Sydney has received some support from a friend who knows a thing or two about our situation.

Despite currently enduring their sixth lockdown, Melbourne’s 1800 Lasagne owner Joey Kellock is spreading some neighbourly love and reminding us of better things to come. “Hang in there, Sydney” are four words you might now see around town, surrounded by love hearts in a popping Coca-Cola shade of red. 

Originally opening in early 2020 as a dedicated lasagne delivery service (ahem, why does this not exist in Sydney?), 1800 Lasagne—now in bricks-and-mortar restaurant form—has established itself as a must-visit dining destination in Melbourne.

Kellock started the “Hang in there, Melbourne” campaign during the Victorian capital’s fourth lockdown last year, with giant digital billboards lighting up streets and strengthening spirits when it was most needed. Now, he’s seen that same need in Sydney.

“It’s really just a genuine hang in there, it’s fucking hard, you know?” Kellock told us. “I truly was just driven by recognising an opportunity to help. It’s nice when you see something on the street that’s meant for you.”

“If I can make it clear to people that those posters are for them, then when they see them, it’s meaningful and it’ll do its job.”

Some 2,000 paste-ups have popped up in a few suburbs to help brighten up your morning walk or daily takeaway lunch run with a sense of solidarity. But best of all is the giant cherry red mural painted up on the side of Inner West institution, Mary’s. Since Melbourne-based Kellock and his team couldn’t fly North to paint the Newtown burger joint—they teamed up with Sydney hospo royalty Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham (Mary’s, The Lansdowne, The Unicorn) with awesome results.

Forget any silly Sydney-Melbourne rivalry that once led to building Canberra to appease two proud cities winging over capital city status—for Kellock, it’s nothing but love for the Harbour City. “FUCK THE RIVALRY,” the restaurant posted on Instagram to announce the Sydney campaign.

“And I just sincerely fucking love Sydney,” says Kellock. “I love everything about it. I’m there all the time—well, I was pre-pandemic. Some of my dearest and nearest live up there.”

In the end, it may just be four words on a wall. But right now, it means a lot. It’s a much-needed reminder that we have each other for support, as well as plenty of friends outside our great city, both sending and needing love.

Now, brighten up your week with these awesome things to do (at home) in Sydney

Image credit: Maclay Heriot

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