Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published April 12th 2020
The chronicle begins with the captivating storyteller
Who doesn't love a good story? The stories told by our parents of hardships endured in the '30s when they were born, the family history stories passed down from generation to generation, the stories heard in the neighbourhood of Mrs Clarke and her escapades and our own stories, sometimes written down but mainly memories etched in our minds as clearly as the day they occurred. There is always a story to be told.
The Story Begins with a Desk & Typewriter (Author's Photo)
Fortunately for the historic town of Maryborough in Queensland, Ian Brown, born and bred and a fellow thespian has come back to his hometown to relate and journal the city's history in script. Each Thursday and Friday mornings from 10.30, you will find Ian or as he is known - The Maryborough Storyteller, on the steps of the Town Hall orating factual events from Maryborough's historical vault. Through extensive research, Ian has unearthed original information and photographs, never found, of Maryborough's famous author, P.L. Travers.
P.L. Travers was the pen name of author Helen Lyndon Goff born in Maryborough in 1899. She changed her name to Pamela Lyndon Travers when performing on stage, as family members frowned at her chosen occupation as unfitting for a lady of her status. She is best known for the series of children's books Mary Poppins, which feature a magical nanny. The well-hidden information which Ian Brown discovered was that P.L. Travers returned to Maryborough in 1922 with an entourage of other thespians to perform a play in the Maryborough Town Hall.
In charming character, Ian told me the story of P.L Travers' return to Maryborough as we sat on a seat of Maryborough's City Hall Green, or as locals still fondly name it "Town Hall Green". It took me on a visual journey on what it must have been like in the days when the town's railway station was abuzz with activity, porters hurrying to the aid of travellers, families collecting visitors and the thespian tour company arriving into Maryborough for their performance. I am fortunate to be of an age where I too can remember the town's railway station operating for passengers and cargo, however, not as busy as it would have been at the time of P.L. Travers' arrival.
Plaque on outside of Story Bank Building (Author's Photo)
Ian's passion for history and his love of Maryborough is rooted in decades of family generations, which first arrived from Prussia and Germany to settle in Maryborough. There is no better person to orate in such a profound way than one who has lived a vicarious life as a performing actor.
Taking you on an interesting journey, The Maryborough Storyteller holds 60-minute story walks through Maryborough while at the same time taking the attendees on the trails of four factual stories relating to Maryborough and our renowned characters providing lots of fun banter and surprising anecdotes giving you a wonderful grasp of heritage and history. To book in for a tour, please go to The Maryborough Storyteller's Facebook page. As well, each Thursday and Friday mornings, you can sit back and relax on the seats provided on the Town Hall Green listening to stories relating to the Town Hall and its events.
Along with plays performed in Maryborough and the Storyteller Walks, Ian has also been involved in the creation of the narrations in The Story Bank. The Story Bank is the old Joint Stock Bank and original residence of Helen Lyndon Goff, now well known as P.L. Travers. Ian's distinctive dialogue is heard in the various audio presentations throughout the two levels of the building, once again providing an informative account of her stories, her characters and settings.
The Joint Stock Bank is now heritage-listed and has been totally and professionally transformed into The Story Bank. Throughout the two levels visitors can interact with the displays and magical stories, view the collections of images and documents from the P.L. Travers estate, delve into the Cabinet of Curiosities and the Library of Inspiration or open an account and discover your art of storytelling by depositing your original stories. The building is segregated into different rooms, all with their own special feel. There is The Library, The Portico, The Shadow Theatre, Cherry Tree Lane, The Character Room, The Yarning Circle, The Hallway The Study and The Vault, The Gallery, The Workshop, The Bedroom, The Theatrette, The Quarterdeck, The Balcony and The Proud Mary's Room. For those not able to climb stairs, there is a lift available to manoeuvre from top to bottom floors. I felt child-like when strolling through Cherry Tree Lane and remembering the story of Mary Poppins.
A Story Or Artefact In Every Drawer (Author's Photo)
There are plenty of unique gifts and books in the Retail Cottage on the ground floor for your purchase and a Comments Book full to the brim with admirable notes of appreciation from the public, enthralled by the magnificent recreation of this incredible Maryborough story. Don't forget to have your photograph taken standing next to the bronze statue of Mary Poppins on the corner of The Story Bank.
The story never ends and neither does the interesting information found in The Story Bank, nor the skill of raconteur Ian Brown, The Storyteller.
Maryborough, Queensland is in the Fraser Coast District, approximately three hours north of Brisbane and thirty minutes from Hervey Bay. It is a city steeped in historical character, not only from the people who lived there but also the numerous stately Queensland wooden homes found in its streets.