Queens Park dates backs to the early 1860's, when Maryborough's first Mayor Henry Palmer requested that his residents have free use of land near the Maryborough wharves for recreation or for public gardens. The Gardens covers approximately 12 acres of land and many of its huge trees were planted before 1900. The Banyan Fig specimen (Ficus Benghalensus) is thought to have been planted as early as the 1870s and is one of the largest in Australia. The Crows Ash (Flindersia Australis) is the oldest tree in the park and was growing before European settlement of the area in 1847. Queens Park holds many fond memories for me as a child and young adult with picnics, games and walks. Being close to the Maryborough River, the park does go under water when the floods arrive; however always manages to regain its beauty. It's very relaxing walking through Queens Park and the Friday I was there, people were sitting on the benches facing the river reading or just enjoying the view.
100 y-o trees provide shade and beauty to the park
The park stretches along the Mary River on one side with Sussex, Walker and Lennox Streets on the other sides. Distinctive features include a lace-trimmed band rotunda which was built in 1890 (listed by the National Trust), a fernery, waterfall and lily pond and a 13 centimetre Gauge Model Railway built by MELSA (Model Engineers and Live Steamers Association).
On the last Sunday of each month, except December, MELSA hold a "Sunday in the Park" where train rides for the children are only $1.00. Having been run since 1977, it has become a highlight for locals and visitors. Apart from running miniature trains there are other activities such as face painting and jumping castle for the children and one of Maryborough's local bands play in the rotunda on the day. The band usually runs a bar-be-que and an ice cream van is also present.
Queens Park Gardens is also a beautiful place to have your wedding ceremony and as this has become quite popular, Rotary has erected a Garden Chapel close to the waterfall and lily pond.
Elizabeth Rose Gardens, originally known as Coronation Park; however changed its name after Queen Elizabeth's visit in 1954, was Maryborough's second cemetery. As the town expanded and housing was built around the cemetery, the Council decided to close it in 1873. In 1907 a new cemetery was built and the Trustees offered free plots of ground to anyone wishing to move the headstones to the new cemetery.
A newspaper article from Trove dated 5th June 1954 stated that it was intended to plant 700 rose bushes in various garden beds to make the area of land one of the best show places in the township of Maryborough and that it is. The park has a rotunda in the middle of the grounds encased by rows and rows of variegated coloured roses planted in semi-circles within circles. As you walk around the gardens, the aroma from the roses is very nice indeed.
Anzac Park on the corner of Alice and Pallas Street is in equal portion to Queens Park in regards to land mass and is a favourite for early morning joggers and walkers and many families that use the extensive bar-be-que and playground facilities on weekends. The park backs onto Ululah Lagoon and the Maryborough Golf Club and is very picturesque. It was originally a favourite spot for aboriginal corroborees.
This park is packed on the weekends and you usually have to get there early to reserve a table and barbeque
Apart from the three grand parks above, Maryborough also has many smaller parks some of which have been named after prominent Maryborough locals.
Turning off the Bruce Highway into Maryborough you drive through the suburb of Tinana. Schultz Park on Gympie Road is situated close to the Tinana Community Hall. Although a smaller park it has plenty of activity for children and a small creek nearby.
Prickett Aquatic Centre can be seen to your right as you drive over the Lamington Bridge and into Maryborough. Complete with a boat ramp, it is quite common to see many cars and boat trailers parked there whilst their owners enjoy catching fish on the river. The park is huge and has been host to visiting Circus' and other events.
Bernard Corser Park is situated Katherine Street, Baddow and has a slippery slide, swings and other playground rides beside a nice shady tree. There is enough room to throw/kick a ball. Presumably, the park was named after Bernard Henry Corser who was born in Maryborough and was a farmer, grazier and politician.
A smaller park, yet still big enough to fill a child's enthusiasm
Across the Mary River on the way to the Cooloola Coast and in the suburb of Granville is Brendan Hansen Park. Situated in Arnaud Street, the park was named after prominent Maryborough identity and life member of the Australian Labour Party, Brendan Hansen. He was for many years Alderman of the Maryborough City Council and Federal Member for Wide Bay. This park is quite large with boundaries on three streets and has plenty of activities and shade for the children.
Entry to Truscott Park is directly opposite the Maryborough Golf Club in Neptune Street. Although maintained by the Fraser Coast Council there is no facilities other than a very large piece of land. It would be great for a family picnic and a game of cricket; however you would need to bring chairs, blanket and a picnic hamper. The Mary River runs the length of the park so you would need to watch little ones. The park was named after the Truscott Family of Maryborough with a past generations and also current generations being involved in local council.