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Maryborough Mural Trail

Home > Queensland > Art | Family | Free | Misc | Walks
by Susan J Bowes (subscribe)
Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published October 29th 2018
Thirty murals capture City's unique history
I know many people say Australia is young in history compared to other parts of the world, however, the history of Australia is just as important. From Cook's landing to the harsh punishment inflicted on convicts, the free man immigrating from another continent and the people who built many small communities and cities from the ground up, this is our history to be proud of and to share with generations to come. Many towns and cities, although flourished in fluent times, are now struggling with the downturn in current economic periods.

One such city is Maryborough in Queensland, where sugar cane, logging, sawmilling, shipbuilding, engineering and foundry enterprises held the foundations for many generations. Today, although many industries are still operating at a lower employment level, many have long gone and are now a remembrance and history of more prosperous times. Maryborough has a lot to offer and has prospered with an increase in visitors in recent years through the Council's promotion of attractions, advertising and word of mouth.

In 2015, the Maryborough Mural Trail was launched throughout the CBD. Currently consisting of thirty murals, each one depicts a significant event and/or industry in the area. The Mural Trail is easily walked as the ground around the city is flat. The trail covers approximately two kilometres or eight city blocks. By the end of the trail, you will certainly have your favourites or some you just want to return for another glance.

Free, Walks, Maryborough, Queensland, Outdoors, Fun Things to Do, Tourist Attractions, History
Peace Cake (Author's Photo)

A brochure of the trail can be sourced online or a hard copy through the Maryborough Fraser Island Visitor Information Centre at the City Hall in Kent Street. There is no start or finish, you can meander around the streets in any direction, however, number one in the brochure is the 'Peace Cake Sculpture', which sits in a display cabinet in the Visitor's Centre. This outstanding 'Peace Cake Sculpture' is a replica of the original Peace Cake made for the Mayoral Victory Ball in 1919 at the end of World War I.

The 'Community Canvas hangs' in the Maryborough City Hall and the magnitude of this painting creates an awesome atmosphere when you enter the hall. Facilitated by professional artist Akos Juhasz, it was the combined work of many people and funded by the Fraser Coast Council.

Free, Walks, Maryborough, Queensland, Outdoors, Fun Things to Do, Tourist Attractions, History
Community Canvas, Maryborough City Hall (Author's Photo)

'The Aviator' is another large mural and is painted on the entire side wall of Dimmeys in Adelaide Street. Aviator, garage owner and Holder dealer, Samuel William Hecker, was often in the news in the 1940s flying his Miles-Falcon aircraft regularly between Maryborough and Brisbane. To get a good look at this mural, you can walk up the stairs of St Paul's Anglican Church, which is right beside Dimmeys, for a photograph.

'Adding Hope to the Journey' is located above King Kong business in Adelaide Street. Stewart Corser was the founding father of Rotary in Maryborough when the first club was launched in 1930. Mr Corser went on to become the inaugural president. This mural is in celebration of 85 years of Rotary in Maryborough.

'Brave Lexie and Foxie' is painted on one wall of the Maryborough Fire Station. The mural recognises the bravery of Lex Casperson, who with his dog saved his two brothers and sister from a house fire in 1927. This is a favourite of mine.

Free, Walks, Maryborough, Queensland, Outdoors, Fun Things to Do, Tourist Attractions, History
Fire Station (Author's Photo)

'The Whip Cracker' is in memory of Barb Dalton. Barb and her family were part of the Dalton Family Whip Crackers Show that performed at the Maryborough Markets.

Maryborough has had its share of famous people with the 'Prime Minster Fisher' mural being located in Bazaar Street above one of the business' awnings. Andrew Fisher was a founding member of the Labor Party and held a seat of Wide Bay from 1901 to 1915. He also served as Australia's Prime Minister and Treasurer for three terms from 1902 to 1915.

Free, Walks, Maryborough, Queensland, Outdoors, Fun Things to Do, Tourist Attractions, History
Prime Minister Andrew Fisher (Author's Photo)

'The Legends of Moonie Jarl', 'Man in the Moon' and "'Galactic Horse' are all located in the Maryborough Library. You would need to be visiting Maryborough during the week or on a Saturday morning to view these. The book Legends of Moonie Jarl is the first book written and illustrated by indigenous Australians. The latter two relate to the books written by P.L. Travers (Mary Poppins) who was born in Maryborough.

'The Brumbies'. As a child, I remember wild horses or Brumbies roaming on Fraser Island, but I didn't know they were also found around the Wide Bay District, which this mural depicts. Small numbers of wild horses can still be found around the Tuan Forest area and seen grazing by the roadside. This is quite a striking mural as the two Brumbies are depicted playfully jostling on their hind legs.

Another worthy Maryborough person of note was amateur astronomer Merwyn Jones who found an unnamed comet on 1st July 1967 at 6.15pm using binoculars while scanning the western sky. Switching to his telescope to get a better look, he later named the mystery object the 'Mitchell-Jones-Gerber Comet' after the three people who registered seeing it across the world on the same day. This mural is situated on the wall of the Maryborough Fitness Health & Body Works

The next three – 'The Girl and The Croc', 'Mary River Turtle' and 'Red Baron' are found in Horsburgh Lane. When I was a young girl, G. Horsburgh & Co owned a large hardware and homewares store in upper Kent Street. I remember purchasing my first dinner set from there; piece by piece on each payday or larger items on layby.

Free, Walks, Maryborough, Queensland, Outdoors, Fun Things to Do, Tourist Attractions, History
The Red Baron (Author's Photo)

A photograph of a girl sitting on a large croc at the turn of the century is believed to have been taken after a crocodile was shot in the Mary River by Walter McIndoe. The crocodile, after being later found, was displayed on the Cran Family Sugar Plantation at Iindah. Contributions from the display raised significant funds for the local hospital appeal.

The Mary River Turtle is an endangered species, however, in the 60s and 70s it was collected and sold as a pet "penny" turtle. It can still be seen in the Mary River from Maryborough to Gympie and in the Tinana Creek upstream from Talegalla Weir. The Red Baron is a species of dragonfly found along the Mary River, lagoons and ponds. Urothemis Aliena is their official name; they have a wingspan of approximately 85mm and grow to about 45mm in length. I was impressed with the painting of the Red Baron.

Free, Walks, Maryborough, Queensland, Outdoors, Fun Things to Do, Tourist Attractions, History
The Mary River Turtle (Author's photo)

'The Ferry' was the first known ferry service to the suburb of Granville. It was a hand-operated punt and ran from the Victoria Ferry at the bottom of March Street. A similar ferry operated from Guava Street, where the Granville Bridge now stands. Operating a 24-hour service, passengers would ring a bell from the shore to alert the night operator. Later, as with progress, it was replaced with a steam ferry.

'The Dong Sisters' were daughters Ellen and Maud of the first Chinese migrants to Maryborough. The girls were born in their parents' home in Queen Street and later took over their parents' business selling vegetables, plants and seeds to the community from 1915 to 1956. They were also the first agents to sell Yates seeds to local farmers.

'Milking Time' is definitely my favourite mural, perhaps because my father was a milkman in the early days when milk was delivered to homes and schools in the early hours of the morning and milk came in 600ml glass bottles and foil caps. I have very fond memories of that time. The mural is painted on one wall of the building fondly known as The Butter Factory. Constructed in 1910, it was later purchased by the Maryborough Co-operative Dairy Association and operated for 80 years producing cream, milk, butter and cheese for the surrounding district. The factory was closed in 1989.

Free, Walks, Maryborough, Queensland, Outdoors, Fun Things to Do, Tourist Attractions, History
Milking Time (Author's Photo)

Along Kent Street, you will find 'Courageous Care', 'The Brewer' and 'The Goat Race'. 'Courageous Care' is painted on the outer facia of a doctor's surgery and depicts Australia's only outbreak of the pneumonic plague. It also honours nurses Cecelia Bauer and Rose Adelaide Wiles' who sacrificed their lives caring for the afflicted family of a wharf worker in June 1905.

'The Brewer' is located above the awning of the Brewing Supplies business. The story relates to a Polish migrant Louis Emmanuel Steindl who arrived in Australia in 1871. He opened the Bavarian Brewery in Granville in 1878. Three years later, he took on a partner and expanded his business producing 120 hogsheads of beer a week. There is a Steindl Street in the suburb of Granville in Maryborough.

The Goat Race' is found above the Aussie Punjab Indian Restaurant. Queensland was noted for goats in the early 1900s and they were used in races and as a source of food. They also kept the grass tidy. This mural depicts a major goat race held at the Shamrock Hotel in 1900 where approximately 600 people turned out to watch the race.

Located near the Old Town Hall Arcade, 'The Domestic Front' and 'Out of Work' are found. 'The Domestic Front' is a sculpture created to commemorate the Anzac Centenary in 2016. The sculpture reminds us of the tremendous support women gave during times of war.

'Out of Work', found at the rear gate of the Old Town Hall, tells the story of 68-year-old miner Robert Brown, who in the Great Depression packed his bags and headed south looking for work after failing to find a job in Maryborough. He worked mostly doing fencing work on stations and made a barrow to carry his possessions. He walked to Lightning Ridge where he found an opal worth 150 pounds but it was stolen. He went on to Canberra, Melbourne and South Australia, at times only having a few oranges as food. Eventually, he made his way to the Perth's Old Men's Home, three years after, he first set off covering almost 10,000 miles. These days, it is really hard to imagine that anyone would walk so far.

'St Mary of the Cross Mackillop' can be located in St Mary's Church Yard. In 1870, the Sisters of St Joseph, a religious order was founded by Mary Mackillop. A school and residence were established in Adelaide Street. This was the beginning of the Catholic Church's formal education and religious administration in Maryborough.

Free, Walks, Maryborough, Queensland, Outdoors, Fun Things to Do, Tourist Attractions, History
Ladies of the Exchange (Author's Photo)

Any visit to Maryborough should include a walk through beautiful Queens Park. High on the rear of Telstra's building overlooking Queens Park are the next two murals - 'Our World' and 'The Ladies of the Exchange'. Nearly everyone knows someone who worked for, or, whose mother worked for the Exchange. The first country telephone exchange in Australia opened in Maryborough in 1882. This mural gives pride that everyday Maryborough people played a part in the history of Australia.

'Our World' gives recognition to the indigenous tribes who lived along the banks of the Mary River. The Butchulla people call it Mooraboocoola. Governor Sir Charles Fitzroy formally named the river in honour of his wife who was tragically killed in a carriage accident three months after their arrival in the city. The mural symbolises the link between Lady Mary and the naming of the river and city.

Free, Walks, Maryborough, Queensland, Outdoors, Fun Things to Do, Tourist Attractions, History
Our World (Author's photo)

Another mural you will only be able to view if you are in the city during the week is 'Wharf Street 1888' situated inside the Family Heritage Institute in Richmond Street. It was during 1888 that Maryborough boomed as a migrant port of entry. The great sailing ship 'Eastminster' arrived in January of that year carrying the bells for St Pauls Church of England, which was paid for by Edgar Aldridge as a memorial to his wife Maria. The ship made numerous trips to Australia and New Zealand carrying migrants.

Maryborough's favourite lady 'Mary Poppins', the story written by P.L. Travers is the inspiration for this mural. Several characters are to be found in the mural – a cherry tree with 17 cherries representing the street address of 17 Cherry Tree Lane, a red cow, which couldn't stop dancing, a pavement which transforms into a ribbon shape as Bert and Mary step into the painting and have a tea party. Look closely and you may find the compass Mary and the children found. This is a magical mural for all to enjoy.

Free, Walks, Maryborough, Queensland, Outdoors, Fun Things to Do, Tourist Attractions, History
Mary Poppins (Author's Photo)

Located at the Maryborough Military & Colonial Museum in Wharf Street, 'Tubby Clayton' and 'The Battle of Long Tan' will capture your interest. Maryborough born Reverend Philip Thomas Byard "Tubby" Clayton co-founded Talbot House (known as Toc H), as a place of rest and sanctuary for British troops during World War I. The Toc H movement continues today.

The mural of 'The Battle of Long Tan' commemorates the battle against North Vietnamese Arm and Viet Cong by 108 soldiers of the Delta Company 6RAR at Long Tan in August 1966. Outnumbered 20 to one, the Australian soldiers were saved by crews of two helicopters from Nui Dat who braved poor conditions to drop ammunition to the troops. The mural depicts several of the men who fought in the battle, including Major Harry Smith, who later settled in Hervey Bay.

The Battle of Long Tan (Author's Photo)

A plaque is positioned beside each mural to give you a brief overview of the story related to it. Having lived in Maryborough for a long period of my life, it still amazes me the enormous amount of history still to be learnt about the beautiful city. These murals go a long way to making that possible to every visitor and resident.

The Mural Project exists only through kind donations from Maryborough business houses and the general public. If you would like to contribute, you can do so by email to I hope your next visit to Maryborough is as enjoyable as mine is each time I return for a home visit.
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Why? History Lessons in Murals
When: Anytime
Where: Maryborough Qld
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Terrific article Susan. Well done on your winning rosette.
by May Cross (score: 3|8375) 1671 days ago
I love your town and this article is a great tribute to it.
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (score: 3|6146) 1671 days ago
Great article.
by Irenke Forsyth (score: 3|2713) 1668 days ago
Great article Susan. I really enjoyed reading it
by Amanda I (score: 2|821) 1670 days ago
What a fantastic and detailed article Susan. Very interesting!! I hope to be able to visit one day.
by Jojo.a.gogo (score: 2|204) 1665 days ago
A friend sent me a link to this article. I enjoyed seeing these murals as I shall never be able to get back to Mbro. A lot has changed since i left and I thank my friends for keeping me up to date.
by sandy (score: 0|5) 1670 days ago
Unfortunately Susan you start by saying Australia’s history starts with Captain Cook which is not true. Please recognise that our Indigenous people were here first. They deserve recognition.
by coyle (score: 0|6) 196 days ago
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