Pop in to Maryborough’s Mary Poppins Festival

28 June 2016

Celebrate your inner child in the most delightful way with a visit to Maryborough’s Mary Poppins Festival this weekend.

Mary Poppins creator Pamela Lyndon Travers was born in this Queensland city that sits beside the Mary River in the Fraser Coast region, and locals have taken the beloved author’s tales to heart. This weekend, they bring them to life as part of a two-week festival celebrating the art of storytelling, through music, theatre, film and art, ending July 10.

People dress up on period costume for the Grand Parade, which graces the streets of the Queensland city of Maryborough during the Mary Poppins Festival. Wave your kerchief at the Grand Parade. Picture: Fraser Coast Opportunities

Mary Poppins in the Park

Children and adults will love Mary Poppins in the Park on July 2, devoted to all things Mary Poppins. Grab your broom and enter the Chimney Sweep Challenge; fire up your pram to compete in the Great Nanny Race; keep an eye out for Mary Poppins characters strolling the streets; and listen for the cannon fired throughout the day by Admiral Boom. There will also be chalk drawings on the footpaths, circus shows and a packed program that includes a Grand Parade at noon.

A man dresses up as a chimney sweep during the Mary Poppins Festival in Maryborough. Chim-chim-ney, chim-chim-ney. Picture: Fraser Coast Opportunities

The town’s beautifully preserved colonial buildings and streetscapes will be transformed into scenes from the stories. And there will be children’s creative workshops, involving storytelling, puppets, kites and umbrellas. Don’t miss the Mary’s Morning Tea, presented by the Proud Marys – an international association for women whose name contains Mary (or a derivative), formed in Maryborough in 1999.

Join Mary Poppins and friends on the Mary’s River Cruise Singalong, with song highlights from the movie musical. Raise your voice, snap a selfie with the characters and enjoy the treats on board. Or raise a glass instead at A Spoonful of Sugar Port & Liqueur Tastings, while you meet the characters of Bond Store.

Art and Inspiration

Cast your eyes to the wall behind P.L. Travers House, above Spoon Full of Sugar Cafe, to see enchanting Mary Poppins characters and children’s dreams and imaginations come to life at Night-time Dream Gallery, an art installation that forms part of the Maryborough Story Trail. The trail follows public art and memorials that bring the city’s stories and characters to life. Until July 10.

Visit the Alpha 31 Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden for The Magical Stories of Mary Poppins, a free exhibition of drawings and moulds inspired by the stories of Mary Poppins, and created by Maryborough artists Monika and Inge Bayer. There are also creative activities for the kids, and a colouring-in competititon. Until July 29.


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But wait, there’s more

If you are in town for the festival, you’ll also find a series of other events celebrating the art of storytelling. Stick around for Sunday Riverside on July 3, a family afternoon of song and creative play by the river, followed by an outdoor screening of The Lion King. Stay a little longer and you can catch the NAIDOC – Moonaboola Street Party on July 7, showcasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performers and artists, along with food stalls and children’s rides. There’s also a range of art, music, films and storytelling activities for kids to enjoy.

Any time of the year

You can get your Mary Poppins fix at any time of year, by visiting the Heritage-listed bank building where Travers was born in 1899 (there’s a statue of her out the front), exploring the streets where she grew up, and viewing the public art based on themes from her novels.

A woman dresses up as Mary Poppins to visit the statue of her creator in Maryborough, Queensland. Mary Poppins brought to life beside her creator's statue. Picture: andrewtallon.com

For non-Poppins spots of interest, take a stroll along the Mary River and through the stunning Mary River Parklands, part of the historical Portside Precinct. Queens Park is another lovely garden, with trees more than 100 years old, and steam engine rides. And don’t miss the Maryborough City Heart Markets every Thursday, where the city centre is transformed into an outdoor, heritage bazaar.

Renae Spinks

Travel for me is about conversations and connections. There’s nothing like setting foot in a new land and meeting people a world apart. From talking to North Sea fishermen in Norway’s Lofoten Islands to breakfast chat at a B&B in my own back yard, there’s always a story to share and a tale to tell.