Magical tale of Mary Poppins comes alive at Story Bank
WHAT once stood as an empty shell in the town CBD is now casting a magical spell over the Heritage City.
After more than four years of work on the building, the Maryborough Story Bank was finally revealed to the public yesterday.
The birthplace of Mary Poppins author PL Travers, the former Australian Joint Stock Bank has been transformed into a major creative and storytelling hub showcasing the town's unique connection with Ms Travers.
Images and documents from the Travers estate, a theatre, gallery, workshop space, reading areas and interactive displays are found in the building's numerous rooms, including Ms Travers' former bed-room.
The fit-out included a roof replacement, lift construction, cafe extension and space for dozens of artists and artisans.
Visitors will also be able to create and share their own stories at some of the displays.
The Story Bank will be officially opened to the public next Monday.
It will be open seven days a week from 9.30am to 3.30pm.
Fraser Coast mayor George Seymour hailed the project as a significant building "representing the prosperity that came to Maryborough" from the Gympie Gold Rush.
"When James Nash discovered gold in Gympie, it saved Queensland but also followed on with prosperity here in Maryborough," Cr Seymour said.
"(It) brought Travers Goff here, which brought PL Travers here, which gave the world Mary Poppins.
"It's been a long time coming, it's been a great collaboration with the community."
Cr Seymour also thanked the Proud Mary's group for its efforts.
A range of sub-contractors were hired to help with the internal fit-outs, including sculptures of book characters Mary Poppins, Jane and Michael Banks on the building's bannisters.
The project was funded by all three levels of government, with $790,000 from the Fraser Coast Regional Council and $395,000 apiece from the State and Federal Governments.