Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

Popping in to Maryborough; Jump Back in Time as David Potts Meets Mary Poppins

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

Popping in to Maryborough; Jump Back in Time as David Potts Meets Mary Poppins

Article excerpt


Maryborough is a three-hour drive north from the Sunshine Coast along the Bruce Highway on the Fraser Coast. For more information about Maryborough, visit or

IT PAYS to take your imagination with you when you visit Maryborough on the Fraser Coast. You're likely to run into a magical, mysterious nanny who can fly, with the help of an umbrella, or who can suddenly disappear into pavement art.

You see, this was the birthplace in 1899 of Pamela Lyndon (PL) Travers, creator of the world's most famous nanny, Mary Poppins, who could do those things Co and more.

Mary Poppins is the unique, stern, dependable, businesslike and magical nanny of six books and the award-winning 1964 Walt Disney movie with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.

C[pounds sterling]Mary Poppins is the story of my life,C[yen] Travers once said.

Although Travers left Maryborough as an infant and lived most of her adult life overseas, there are curious links between Maryborough and Mary Poppins.

The eternally loveable Travers characters inhabit the city streets and buildings.

We're being shown some of them by a modern-day Mary Poppins, the grand-motherly Carmel Murdoch who brings the books' fictional characters to life for the thousands of visitors who visit Maryborough each year for a Mary Poppins experience.

C[pounds sterling]I'm not nearly as stern as Mary Poppins in the novels or as sugary as the Julie Andrews film character. I'm somewhere in between,C[yen] said Carmel who dresses in costume of the period and carries the magic umbrella with the parrot head handle and an C[pounds sterling]emptyC[yen] bag.

She plays two characters Co Mary Poppins or Mary Heritage to show visitors two sides of this historic city (she's not beyond breaking into a Mary Poppins song and dance, either.)

The present-day Mary Poppins leads us on a Tea With Mary tour through streets crammed with references to characters from the books. We visit the old Richmond Street bank building in which PL Travers was born (as Helen Lyndon Goff). Outside is a life-size bronze statue of Mary Poppins, complete with umbrella and bag.

The statue is evidence of how serious Maryborough people are about Mary Poppins. As a community, residents worked together to raise more than $60,000 for the statue in a campaign driven by the city's Proud Marys Association.

The association was formed in 1999 to celebrate the 100th birthday of Travers. Connecting the name Mary with the town's name and history, the group set out to research and honour anyone with the name of Mary.

The association has members worldwide.

They document and collect notable Marys, both real and fictional, from throughout history.

The annual Mary Poppins Festival grew out of the association's annual Mary Morning Tea held in honour of author Travers. …

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