Mary Poppins statue, Maryborough, Queensland, Australia

Mary Poppins statue, Maryborough, Queensland, Australia
Photo credit: zpunout on Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Website: www.marypoppinsfestival.com.au

Physical address: Corner of Richmond and Kent Streets, Maryborough, Queensland 4650

Phone number: +61 800 214 789

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Standing 5’ tall and weighing only 100kg, this unassuming bronze statue of Mary Poppins, the world’s most famous nanny, keeps an eye on the comings and goings in Kent Street and Richmond Lane, in Maryborough (Queensland, Australia). With her umbrella pointed skyward, she looks ready to take off at any moment, but with tourists constantly popping by to take photographs with her, she has been stuck in once place since being commissioned in 2005.

Mary Poppins’ creator, author P.L. Travers, was born Helen Lyndon Goff, in one of the rooms on the second floor of the building adjacent to the statue, and she lived in Maryborough for roughly the first 18 months of her life. Formerly the Union Bank, Travers’ first home provided lodgings to the family of the manager – a position occupied by her father, Travers Goff, and immortalised in the character, Mr Banks. Although she later went to some lengths to hide her Australian origins, the writer’s home town has gone to quite some effort to commemorate her life and work.

Funds for the statue, amounting to $60,000, were raised locally by a group calling themselves the Proud Marys. Their mission, to promote the city’s links with Mary Poppins and P.L. Travers, has brought about the foundation of the Mary Poppins Festival in September of each year, and the establishment of the Proud Marys Poetry and Literary competition, which is now the largest prize for children’s literature in Australia.

The birthplace itself is a private residence and therefore not open to the public, but there is an exhibition dedicated to P.L. Travers and her famed character in the town’s information centre. In recent years, Maryborough’s city council also opted to transform its traffic lights, with the red and green pedestrian crossing signals depicting the unmistakable silhouette of the magical nanny.

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