As one of Queensland’s most historic towns, Maryborough is a natural drawcard for grey nomads. Situated some 250 kilometres or so north of Brisbane and sitting on the banks of the Mary River, the old buildings of this magnificent Heritage City have been beautifully preserved.
It is a truly fascinating place to walk around, admire the heritage architecture, and soak up the relaxed country town vibe. The now dormant port was once one of Australia’s biggest, and the original wharf district is packed with galleries, museums and eateries. But that really is just the start.
Maryborough is famous for its giant outdoor markets every Thursday with everything from arts and crafts to hot food and fresh produce on offer. Here also you can see the heritage-listed building where Pamela Lyndon Travers, the creator of Mary Poppins, was born; and then there’s Queens Park with its rotunda, fernery and views over the river that makes it one of the most delightful parks in Queensland.
There are free camping options at Tiaro and Bauple some 30 and 40 kilometres to the south, and a number of genuinely well thought of caravan parks in town. As with many regional towns, the debate about whether or not to establish an RV park for self-contained travellers has been raging for some time. At this stage though, the wait continues.
Maryborough really shot to prominence after the establishment of the Maryborough Sugar Company in 1865, and then the discovery of gold in nearby Gympie in 1867. This new found wealth was the trigger point that saw many of the town’s magnificent buildings constructed. The post office was built in 1869 and many other architectural wonders followed. At that stage the likes of Rockhampton and Charters Towers were left trailing in the wake of majestic Maryborough.
The rich history is hard to miss. The Maryborough Military & Colonial Museum boasts more than 7,000 items of military and colonial memorabilia and is a must see. Then there’s the Bond Store Heritage Museum, and of course the aforementioned Maryborough Post Office with its beautiful verandahs and clock tower.
At one corner of Queen’s Park stands the Maryborough Courthouse, which is an impressive and imposing Victorian Classical Revival building built in the mid 1870s. Nearby is the Royal Hotel, which dates from 1902 and which was built on the site of the old Bush Inn which was itself constructed in 1857. Other memorable buildings include the HM Customs House, the Customs House Hotel, City Hall, the Maryborough Family Heritage Institute Building, and St Paul’s Anglican Church complete with free standing belltower.
And no trip to the imaginative birthplace of Mary Poppins would be complete without a visit to the impressive bronze statue of the world’s favourite nanny. And, if you happen to be here in late June/early July, do not miss out on the annual Mary Poppins Festival in the Park. Wow!