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New garden adds to The Story Bank experience

12 August 2019

Happy birthday - to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the birthday (Friday August 9) of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers, the Fraser Coast Regional Council is opening a garden at her birthplace in Maryborough.

“Mary’s Garden is the last component of the exciting Story Bank project and adds a beautiful outdoor space to the experience,” Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said.

The project involved Council buying the former Australian Joint Stock Bank in Maryborough, where Travers was born in a room on the second floor, and restoring the building to showcase the city’s unique connection to Travers, the story of her life, her family, and the influences on her writings.

The garden features a decorative fountain, park benches made by Olds Engineering of Maryborough and two of the Richmond Street Mary Poppins story-columns.  

“Gardens and parks were very special to Travers. As a child growing up in Queensland she delighted in creating miniature worlds,” Cr Seymour said.

“She spent lots of time transforming a corner of the family’s backyard garden, making little parks and places for miniature people. 

“Almost every story she wrote had a park or garden in it where wonderful adventures happened.”

The Story Bank has become a very popular attraction since it was opened in late June, to coincide with the Mary Poppins Festival.

“In the first month, 2,630 people have visited, 20% of which have been visitors to the region,” Cr Seymour said.

“And about 15% of those visitors are international guests from places such as Japan, Germany, Canada, the UK and even Tahiti.

“It shows people have a strong connection to the Poppins character and her works.”

At the garden opening today the Mayor was assisted by representatives from the Proud Marys to plant a rose bush.

The Proud Marys, a group of local women, had the vision to celebrate Maryborough’s unique link to the world’s most famous nanny.

The group holds the Proud Marys Poetry and Literary Competition each year, offering the largest children's literature prize in Australia.