On August 13, when ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr held a press conference to thank Canberrans for their lockdown compliance and high COVID-19 testing, a funny thing happened.
“I want to thank all Canberrans for doing the right thing,” he said.
However, the tech that created the open captions on the video translated it as: “I want to thank Ken Behrens for doing the right thing.”
And pretty soon, Ken Behrens was a lockdown hero, and the term ‘Ken Behrens’ quickly started trending.
A Twitter account was soon set up in Ken’s name which began tweeting COVID-related information, and it quickly became fodder for internet jokesters.
I came from Gungahlin
Across wide open plains,
I am a public servant
With a caffeine addiction
And minor back pain.
I stood up on Mt Ainsle (for an hour)
And stayed at home when asked.
For four days now, I’ve been locked down.
I am, Ken Behrens. https://t.co/jBzY1EHEwb
— Ken Behrens (@RealKenBehrens) August 16, 2021
Within days, you could purchase ‘Proud Ken Behrens’ merch. Local Zoe Rose has raised $300 (and counting) for OzHarvest selling Ken Behrens t-shirts. Hoodies, mugs, cushions and more are also available. A Canberra mask maker has gotten involved too with novelty Ken Behrens face masks. “Hopefully it brings a smile to anyone I cross (distant) paths with,” Katina Curtis posted to Instagram.
Internet sleuths went on a hunt for the real Ken Behrens. It turns out he’s a US-born, Madagascar-based biologist and wildlife photographer who couldn’t understand why he was suddenly being pestered on the internet by people from Australia.
While it’s currently more a joke than reality, fans of the Canberra Raiders NRL team are hopeful the team will honour Ken Behrens on Friday night’s clash with Manly, by slightly altering the sponsor’s logo on their jerseys.
The idea is the Canberra Milk logo will instead read ‘Ken Behrens Milk’ with the Raiders to be known as the Ken Behren Raiders for the match.
From the rest of Australia, well done to our buddies in Canberra for turning a Covid presser into a source of entertainment.
We can’t wait to visit and high-five you as soon as we’re allowed.
This article originally appeared on Escape