Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

Mary P Is in Demand on East Coast; Bowral and Maryborough Both Claim Mary

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

Mary P Is in Demand on East Coast; Bowral and Maryborough Both Claim Mary

Article excerpt

SHE'S doubtless the most-famous nanny ever, and as we roll into next month, the name Mary Poppins will be on the lips of the world.

From Bowral in the picturesque Southern Highlands of NSW where she came into being in 1910, to Hollywood where she filled-up her famous carpetbag with five Oscars in the mid-1960s and within a year became one of the highest-grossing stars of her time.

And while Bowral will unveil a life-size, opened-umbrella and carpetbag-tottin' bronze statue to her in a park adjacent to its equally-famed Bradman Museum on Sunday, December 8, around the same time Hollywood's Disney Studios will release world-wide a multi-million dollar movie about how the original movie Mary Poppins came about in 1964.

And that latter proved anything but an easy spoonful-of-sugar between a strong-willed Walt Disney, and an equally strong-willed, prickly and pragmatic PL (Pamela Lyndon) Travers, the Australian creator of the flying nanny.

Travers, whose real name was Helen Lyndon Goff, came up with the Mary Poppins character in bizarre circumstances as a young 12-year-old one night in July 1910. Her bank clerk father, Travers Goff had died prematurely some five years earlier when the family was living at Allora in Queensland, and her mother had moved Lyndon and her sisters to Bowral where a formidable, no-nonsense Aunt Ellie provided them with a house free of rent.

On that July night as a massive storm swept Bowral, Lyndon Goff's mother, who had been struggling emotionally and financially since the death of her husband, suddenly ran out into the storm and, in an attempt on her own life, jumped into a flooded local creek.

Failing, she returned bedraggled to the house - to the horror of the young Lyndon and her even younger sisters.

As their mother retreated to her bedroom, to get their minds off what they had seen, the quick-witted Lyndon gathered her siblings around the fire and started telling a fanciful story of a magical white horse that would float down from the heavens and perform amazing deeds, making-up the story as she went along, and until the younger girls eventually slipped into deep sleep. …

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