If you want some Disney in your life, there are plenty of places to go. After all, the Walt Disney Company has theme parks in Florida, California, Japan, Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The Disney Store can be found in the United States, Canada, the U.K., Europe, China and Japan. The Walt Disney Family Museum is in San Francisco and Disney on Ice might be skating to your town soon. But you have to go to Australia to see this one-of-a-kind nod to the beloved Disney character that’s practically perfect in every way.
“Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers was born in 1899 in the town of Maryborough, a city located in Queensland, which is a state in northeastern Australia. Although Travers emigrated to England in 1924, the residents of Maryborough never forgot their hometown girl. And why should they? After all, she made history with a series of books that eventually became the inspiration for the 1964 Disney feature movie that starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke as well as “Mary Poppins Returns,” starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, in 2018. So to honor her and her character that is the quintessential English nanny, the Mary Poppins Festival began in 1999 to celebrate the author’s 100th birthday and has been an annual event ever since. The festival offers visual and performance art, Mary Poppins cosplay & costumes, plus nanny races, chimney sweep challenges, chalk drawings, street theater, circus shows, pop up performances and many other forms of creativity to keep any Mary Poppins fan happy for the full event that occurs annually in late June to early July.
In conjunction with the Mary Poppins Festival, Maryborough’s city council pulled out all the stops and have installed Mary Poppins themed pedestrian lights in front of Travers’ birthplace, as well as other places throughout the town.
“Melbourne might have its female silhouettes on their pedestrian lights, but this is the first time someone has used the lights to pay homage to Mary Poppins and PL Travers,” Maryborough councillor Paul Truscott said via the Regional Council website.
The Mary Poppins lights are really adorable – when it’s red/”Don’t Walk,” her umbrella is down by her side and when it’s green/”Walk”, it’s up and open, like she’s ready to fly!
But that’s not all! There’s also a statue of Mary Poppins on the corner of Kent & Richmond Streets in Maryborough, to further commemorate Travers.
So now I want to go to Australia and check this all out – the Mary Poppins Festival, the new crosswalk signs, the statue, everything! Who’s with me? 🙂
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