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Unmasked! Aussies’ great effort in the pandemic

Mark Knight, November 26, 2020 6:30PM Kids News

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Melburnians wearing face masks at Elwood Beach on November 7, before easing of mask restrictions. Picture: NCA NewsWire media_cameraMelburnians wearing face masks at Elwood Beach on November 7, before easing of mask restrictions. Picture: NCA NewsWire


Reading level: green

The success Australia has had in fighting the coronavirus has been outstanding.

“How good is Australia?!!”’ I can hear ScoMo* say.

That is even more so in Victoria where a huge second wave of the virus caused deaths and massive damage to the economy; however it was brought under control by the determined discipline shown by the Victorian population who obeyed some of the strictest and longest lockdowns as well as COVID protocols* to bring the virus under control.

Polite applause here!

One of those protocols was the wearing of face masks when leaving the home. Victorians were the only state forced to wear them everywhere they went. I was amazed how readily most Victorians took to wearing masks. People just accepted it as part of the new COVID normal. I guess when you’ve been through 4 months of hard lockdown you will do whatever it takes to prevent that from ever happening again and masks were seen as an insurance policy to keep us virus free. I even saw people wearing face masks while walking their dogs along a deserted beach at Phillip Island!

So when Premier Dan Andrews decided we no longer had to wear masks outdoors I thought I would make a comment in a cartoon about it. We are into our warmer months now and we were seeing more people going to the beach but they were still required to wear face masks when not in the water.

Despite the warnings about skin cancer, many still love to lay on the beach and get a suntan. I wondered how that might work wearing a face mask? I thought about some of the iconic Australian suntans. There’s nothing more Aussie than tradies with T-shirt tans, or the Truckie Tan of red arms and neck and the white skin outline of their blue singlet. There’s the snow-skier face tan, which is white rings around the eyes where their sunglasses were!

Now we were about to experience the COVID Tan this summer, which as I illustrated in my cartoon is a big white patch over the nose and mouth where the face mask went.

media_cameraMark Knight’s cartoon. Right click to open in new tab and view full size.

With his relaxation on wearing masks outdoors it seems Premier Dan has saved us yet again, this time not from coronavirus but from weird facial tanning outcomes. Can you imagine the horror on those half-tanned faces in selfies on Snapchat and Insta?

And don’t forget to slip, slop, slap this summer!


  • ScoMo: nickname for Prime Minister Scott Morrison
  • protocols: rules


Cartoonist says sorry for taking the mickey

Horse in a face mask another Covid normal?

Karen’s mask fight not just about her rights

Breaking the rules is no laughing matter


  1. Who is the cartoonist?
  2. Describe the news behind the cartoon.
  3. What is the main point of the cartoon?
  4. What does a snow-skier tan look like?
  5. What is Mark’s health advice at the end?


1. Caption it!
Cartoonist Mark Knight has not used a caption on this cartoon, letting the imagery speak for itself.

Read Mark’s explanation of what the cartoon means again and write two, three or four short sentences, just to make sure you understand what the cartoon is saying.

Using your sentences to help you, write a caption for the cartoon or some thought bubbles or quotes from the person or animal in the cartoon that will make Mark’s meaning clearer for children or people who haven’t been reading the news this week.

Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Humanities, Visual Arts, Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Extension
Look through the most recent stories on Kids News and choose one to draw a cartoon about.

Use Mark’s three-step process to get started:

What is my subject?

What do I want to say about this issue?

How do I say it? Do I use visual metaphors (an image that the viewer is meant to understand as a symbol for something else), multiple panels or symbolism (when one idea, feeling or emotion is represented by something else such as a: picture, character, colour or object)?

Time: allow at least 40 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Humanities, Visual Arts, Critical and Creative Thinking

Stretch your sentence
Find a ‘who’ in the cartoon. A person or animal.

Write it down.

Add 3 adjectives to describe them better.

Now add a verb to your list. What are they doing?

Add an adverb about how they are doing the action.

Using all the words listed, create one descriptive sentence.

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