In April, come time for her first class, Emily Wykes climbed into her car and drove up the hill to get mobile reception - her front seat becoming a classroom every day for six weeks.
Her cousin Lilly, living on the same property at Euchareena, wandered around her house on top of the hill, moving from room-to-room in search of the best connection to tune into Zoom classes.
This year has thrown countless challenges our way. Jobs lost, plans put on hold - the future has become an impenetrable haze.
The city's students have had to grapple with the challenges as much as anyone else. Instead of following tries and tested rites of passage in their final years of school, year 11s and 12s have had to learn coursework at home instead of in the classroom.
Those homes have been cramped, stressful and for the Wykes - remote, meaning James Sheahan Catholic High School students Emily and Lilly had another barrier to overcome.
"For Lilly and I, we live on the same property so we both had satellite internet which is very prone to dropping out and just not working ... we're in a gully out there," Emily, who's in year 12, said.
Now I'm thinking about next year and if everything going downhill again and the same thing that's happening to Emily [and her year level] might happen to us.Lilly Wykes
So she went up the hill.
"My sister would walk up with a camper chair and I'd be in the car with a cow just licking my window," she said.
"Being back at school is so much better, I didn't enjoy home schooling at all.
"As soon as the school opened back up I came straight in and it was so much better internet-wise."
Both had to use roaming data on their phones and topping it up while they were learning from home, but Emily would be sitting trial exams now if COVID hadn't hit.
And with fears of a second wave running amok, how they'll sit their exams this year is a topic of constant unease.
"It's a bit like 'what's going to happen'. Everything's going to be so different, what's uni going to be like?" Emily said.
It's a constant worry, and while some of Emily's friends talk about it, school has in some ways become a coronavirus-free space.
"Everyone knows it's going on but when you're at school you focus on other parts of life," she said.
Lilly said more of her friends were discussing it, and they were fully aware Australia might not be out of the woods for some time.
"We make jokes out of it really, we make it a giant meme to be honest. That's our way of coping with it," she said.
"When we were at home I was a lot more stressed, more panicky because I went 'what do I do?' because I couldn't get the same help I would at school.
"Now I'm thinking about next year and if everything going downhill again and the same thing that's happening to Emily [and her year level] might happen to us."
Until then, they're just hoping they don't have to go back into lockdown and go back to home schooling, hoping to ride out the stress of exams and finishing high school in the middle of a pandemic.