Maryborough is the birthplace of PL Travers, the creator and writer of the well-known story Mary Poppins. A bronze statue of Pamela Lyndon Travers is outside the building, with a brown sign for Cherry Tree Lane.
PL Travers was born in 1899 as Helen Lyndon Goff, sent to boarding school in Sydney. It was when she emigrated to England in 1933, she took the name Pamela Lyndon Travers having used it as a stage name in Australia.
P. L. Travers was used as her pen name while writing the first of the eight Mary Poppins books, published in 1934. The last sequel was published in 1988.
The story of Mary Poppins has her blown by the East wind to Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane, London. Cherry Tree Lane is also in the title of the 7th book, Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane.
The life-size statue of PL Travers is on the corner of Kent Street and Richmond St, on the Richmond St side. The statue is holding a partly opened umbrella, symbolic of the scene where the wind blows away all of the waiting nannies and Mary Poppins gracefully flies in with her umbrella.
The red and green crossing lights at the intersection have been changed to look like Mary Poppins standing with her umbrella down and walking with her umbrella up, a nice touch.
A plaque in front of the statue reads;
Maryborough is the birthplace of P L Travers Creator of Mary Poppins.
This statue was unveiled on 9 August 2005, the 106th anniversary of P L Travers’ birth by her friend Patricia Feltham.
It is a tribute to the author and the important place she holds in children’s literature.
Sculptor: Dr Ryl Hinwood Hon D Phil (QLD)
The building has been purchased with intent to turn it into a museum about Mary Poppins and PL Travers. It had been cleared out when we were there and preparing for an open day to have a look inside.
An annual Mary Poppins Festival is held the first week in July, celebrating Mary Poppins and PL Travers and their connection to Maryborough.
To get there:
Head south on Bruce Hwy, take the exit towards Maryborough and Hervey Bay onto Walker St. Follow Walker St for 3.5km and turn right
Heading north on Bruce Hwy, on crossing Mary River continue on the highway for 900m passed the first exit for Maryborough and turning right at the next into Walker St. Follow Walker St for 3.5km and turn right into Ferry St. Follow Ferry St for 450m and turn left into Kent St. Follow Kent St for 950m, and the Mary Poppins Statue is on the left at Richmond St with the brown sign for Cherry Tree Lane.
Coming from Hervey Bay, head towards Maryborough on Saltwater Creek Rd. In Maryborough, Saltwater Creek Rd bends to the right becoming John St. Continue on John St for 1.1km to the end and turn left onto Kent St. Follow Kent St for 550m, and the Mary Poppins Statue is on the left at Richmond St with the brown sign for Cherry Tree Lane.