This New Regional Australian Museum Celebrates All Things 'Mary Poppins'
Ride the east wind to Maryborough's new museum, which commemorates the city's status as the birthplace of 'Mary Poppins' author PL Travers.
Whether played by Julie Andrews in the original 1964 musical film or Emily Blunt in its 2018 sequel, Mary Poppins has always been a quintessentially English character. The beloved nanny is as well-known for being British as for her magical abilities and winning ways with an umbrella, after all. However the famous fictional figure also boasts a link to regional Australia — and now there's an Aussie museum dedicated to that fact.
While Maryborough in Queensland's Fraser Coast region may seem worlds away from London, let alone Cherry Tree Lane, it's where author PL Travers was born. She also lived there until she was five, when her family relocated to Allora on the Darling Downs, as the 2013 movie Saving Mr Banks explored. Later, in her twenties, she moved to the UK, where she penned the eight Mary Poppins books that she's best known for.
Because claiming any and every possible connection to fame is a thoroughly Aussie trait, Maryborough has long marked its link to Travers — the city hosts an annual Mary Poppins Festival, has been home to a bronze statue of the writer since 2005, and even has Poppins-shaped pedestrian crossing symbols on its traffic lights. With that in mind, the opening of The Story Bank of Maryborough is just the latest step in the town's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious celebrations, forming part of a hub focused on the Aussie-born writer.
Inside The Story Bank, which is located in the heritage-listed Australian Joint Stock Bank building where Travers actually entered the world, visitors will find a whole showcase about Maryborough's ties with Travers. The museum steps through her life story, her family and the influences on her work — and, as well as featuring plenty of Poppins-themed items (yes, expect umbrellas), it includes images and documents from Travers' estate.
If you've ever wanted to Mary Poppins figurines everywhere (including sliding down bannisters, obviously), feast your eyes on book and film memorabilia, or pretend you're in Cherry Tree Lane, here's your chance.
The site also features a theatrette, gallery and workshop space, all as part of a $1.5 million restoration project. As well as Travers and Mary Poppins, The Story Bank highlights other talented local artists, as well as the art of storytelling in general.
Published on July 21, 2019 by Sarah Ward