Did you know that the world-famous story “Mary Poppins” was written by an Australian, author PL Travers? And that her birthplace – the delightful country town of Maryborough in Queensland – hosts an annual “Mary Poppins” festival in her honour?
If you didn’t then, you do now, and there’s no excuse not to make the journey to our Number One favourite festival event in Australia. (Closely followed by Woodford Folk Festival!)
- 1 Mary Poppins Author Hometown of Maryborough hosts the Mary Poppins Festival
- 2 Let’s go fly a kite! Mary Poppins in the Park
- 3 The Inside Scoop – Mary Poppins Maryborough Festival (250kms from Brisbane, 3.5 hours drive time)
- 4 Map of Mary Poppins Festival in Maryborough
- 5 Looking for MORE SUPER DOOPER FUN places to visit in Brisbane and surrounds
Mary Poppins Author Hometown of Maryborough hosts the Mary Poppins Festival
Just like Mary Poppins, the Mary Poppins Festival is practically perfect in every way.
1. Save the date and make a big weekend of it.
The main festival happens from 10am to 4pm on Saturday July 7th 2018. But Friday night is the time to join in a Mary Poppin’ street party with live music, entertainment, games, amusement rides, and fireworks to boot.
Our tip: don’t miss Mary’s Morning Tea at 10am on the Proud Mary’s Stage – be reintroduced to all the different characters from the novel during this performance, with morning tea provided too.
2. At 12pm, mark your spot and watch the Grand Parade.
This procession is filled with adorable costumed characters and themed props. Join in if you feel the inclination with your own Mary Poppin’s inspired outfit, bottomless bag, and umbrella combo.
3. Listen to the yarns, the tall tales, and the storytelling
Book to join a story trail, take a seat on Mary’s River Cruise singalong, or stop by the Storybook Nook with the kids
4. Join in a Mary Poppins themed art or craft activity
Find activities such as umbrella painting and kite making, and remember to take a walk through the Heritage Art and Craft Extravaganza to see the Quilt show and forgotten crafts
5. Become a chalk artist
Just like Dick Van Dyke’s Cockney chimney-sweep Bert – there’s a rainbow of chalk for everyone to join in the pavement art
6. Immerse yourself in history and culture
Wander around Maryborough’s town to see all the historical buildings and signage – the Bonds store, Customs House and Residence, the Bank, City Hall, the Military and Colonial Museum, the green expanse of Queens Park, and the house where PJ (Pamela) Travers spent the first few years of life.
7. Ride the miniature MESLA train
Or jump on board Whistle Stop’s replica steam train, the Mary Ann, on the riverside track or return to simpler days with a horse and carriage ride
8. Follow the entertainment
Hear the City Big Band in action, spy a Larrikin puppet show, and pick up a hula-hoop at a circus arts workshop. Then eat lunch from one of the mouth-wateringly good food trucks
9. Laugh your lungs out at the Competitive Games
The Great Nanny Races pram push, and the Chimney Sweep Challenge are a highlight of the Mary Poppins Festival
10. Step back in time
Buy a bag of sweets at the Lolly Shop, and duck your head when Admiral Boom fires his cannon!
Let’s go fly a kite! Mary Poppins in the Park
Interesting titbits about the Mary Poppins author’s connection to Maryborough (Story credits)
- In the novels, the father of the children is a bank manager not-so-inspiringly named “Mr Banks”. JL Travers’ father was a bank manager in Maryborough.
- The building where she lived (for the first couple of years of her life) is just a short stroll from Maryborough’s majestic Queens Park. It is very likely she was a regular visitor to the park with her mother.
- Heritage listed Queens Park is one of Australia’s earlier botanic gardens, and with its heritage listed features it shares many similarities with the park of the novels near the Bank’s home, which the children and Mary Poppins frequented.
- The first book includes a party at the zoo among the animals, and in the years before and after Travers youth Queens Park also hosted a zoo and aviary. It was also a common social practice for people to dress in their finery and promenade through the park along the river.
- There is also Admiral Boom, the former naval officer who lives next door and fires his cannon to mark the time. In Maryborough, it was once practice to fire a canon every day at 1pm to mark the hour, and let the workers in the cane fields know it was time for lunch.
The Inside Scoop – Mary Poppins Maryborough Festival (250kms from Brisbane, 3.5 hours drive time)
“Winds in the east, there’s a mist coming in, like something is brewing, about to begin.”
Mr. Dawes Sr.
- The Mary Poppins Festival is 10 days of events and fun, running from Friday June 29th to Sunday July 8th 2018. – Find the 2018 Mary Poppins Festival program here closer to the date.
- The Mary Poppins Festival in the Park is the main event on Saturday July 7th from 10am – 4pm, in the middle of the June/July QLD school holidays.
- The location of the Mary Poppins Festival and associated events is in the Maryborough township main streets.
- Want to book events held during the festival? Book at via the web, by phone on 1800 214 789, or in person at the Brolga Theatre Box Office at 5 Walker Street
- Check out your Maryborough accommodation options here.
Map of Mary Poppins Festival in Maryborough
Looking for MORE SUPER DOOPER FUN places to visit in Brisbane and surrounds
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