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Mary Poppins Birthplace Bowral

A website site that answers the question:

Where did Mary Poppins come from?

Design the Mary Poppins Carpetbag
Children’s design for Mary Poppins carpetbag to be immortalized in bronze

The Southern Highlands Youth Arts Council (SHYAC) is staging a competition to design the symbolism to be included on the carpetbag of the life-size Mary Poppins statue currently being sculpted for Glebe Park.

The selected design will best represent through symbolism the special connection that Bowral has with the creation of the magical nanny by author PL Travers, who lived in the town as a child and teenager 100 years ago.

The prize for the winning design – or designs – will be the secret inclusion of the child’s initials somewhere on the carpetbag in the final bronze statue. The carpetbag will be promoted for brass rubbings and is expected to be a popular pastime for visitors and tourists in the decades and centuries to come.

Read more.... HERE

ENTRY FORM & DETAILS...HERE   Hurry - Competition Closes 5pm Wed 5th June 2013


We did it! In one of the most magical days anyone is likely to experience, 2115 umbrellas were raised for 10 minutes to form the biggest ever umbrella mosaic.
This was followed by a 5 minute dance (the Hokey Pokey) in an attempt on the
Largest Umbrella Dance record. The existing record for the Umbrella Mosaic is 1,026 (Serbia) and 496 (USA) for the Umbrella Dance.

With at least three helicopters overhead (incl Nine & Ten TV News and
Peter Clisdell from the Berrima Aero Club), the world was watching the NSW southern highlands town of Bowral welcome Mary Poppins back to her spiritual birthplace around 100 years ago.

At the right is the photographic proof!

Aside from the TV news, the Sun Herald had the photo above on page 28 on its 8 May edition.
It has also appeared in The Sunday Canberra Times, the Illawarra Mercury and other papers.

An estimated 500 stayed or returned for the outdoor cinema screening of Disney's 1964 movie Mary Poppins starring Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke. And many more turned up for the spectacular fireworks display sponsored by Mittagong McDonalds and Tourism Southern Highlands. 

Congratulations to everyone involved!
Bowral's Mary Poppins Umbrella Mosaic World Record Attempt
PHOTO: Clint Crawley Photography - Bradman Oval

Check out the Channel 7 TV story on the SHYAC website

A Push for Poppins - Illawarra Mercury 24Jul2010
Tanya Bartlett's Maquette Design
Click image to read
Recommended Statue Design Concept  Click image to read

Mary Poppins, the magical nanny, is a fictional character created by author, P.L. Travers. One question pondered by many readers of the Mary Poppins books and fans of the movie has been: Where did Mary Poppins come from? The question was frequently put to the author during her lifetime, but she invariably offered a vague or evasive reply. It is a mystery that may finally now have an answer, thanks to detailed biographical research by Sydney-based journalist/author Valerie Lawson and the flash of insight by a 12 year-old girl Melissa McShane. And the answer? Well, the place with the probably the strongest claim to be the "birthplace" of Mary Poppins - both in a symbolic and literal sense - is a town called Bowral.

Yes, strange but true! Bowral, an Australian country town in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, has a strong claim to be considered the birthplace of Mary Poppins. Why this is so is explained on this website. And the real-life story of Mary Poppins' origins are as dramatic and magical as any fictional tale, revealing much about the author's motivation in creating the character as well as the underlying themes in her later stories.

Of course, claiming to be the birthplace of a fictional character is a little quirky, to say the least. The author of Mary Poppins, PL Travers (who was christened Helen Lyndon Goff), was born in Maryborough Queensland. But just as cricket's greatest batsman, Don Bradman, was born in Cootamundra and moved to Bowral as a child, so did Lyndon Goff move from Queensland. And just as Bowral was the place that Bradman was to learn his cricket and develop the prodigious talent that was to make him a sporting icon, so did Lyndon Goff begin her life as a storyteller and create the essence of a fictional character that was eventually to become an icon of childrens literature.*

Appropriately enough, the town of Bowral is the heart of the Southern Highlands BOOKtrail and Australia's first booktown project. The district can also lay claim to being home to both the author of the first book for children published in Australia (A Mother's Offering to Her Children 1841) and also the first work of fiction written by an Australian-born woman (Gertrude the Immigrant 1857). So the association that PL Travers and Mary Poppins has with the region enjoys an excellent pedigree.

See the links below for more information...

Paul McShane

Convenor - BookTown Australia

* Ironically, the "Boy from Bowral" lived a short distance down Holly Street from PL Travers childhood home. Valerie Lawson reports that there were only 4 houses in Holly Street at the time and the young Don Bradman was about the same age as Travers' youngest sister. It seems more than likely that the families knew each other and certainly the children would have played in the same street. It is possible that during the holidays on her return from boarding school, Lyndon would have been walking down Holly Street or wandering along the creek that runs on the western side of their home as she frequently did (her friend, Patricia Feltham, recalls her mentioning that) and she might have seen a young boy playing on the path with a cricket bat or wielding a stick by the creek .... who knows? ... perhaps each did have an unknown brush with fame!

Click on one of the links below to find out more...

Latest News!

Spit spot! Tell me the short version of the Mary Poppins Birthplace story please!

Who is Mary Poppins? Melissa McShane & the Mary Poppins statue campaign
Who was P.L. Travers and what is her connection with Australia? 45 Holly Street - The author's Bowral home
Bowral - Birthplace of Mary Poppins? The Mary Poppins Birthplace Parade Float
Mary Poppins - the books Literary Prize and other projects

Southern Highlands BOOKtrail & Australia's First Book Town

Other Links

Acknowledgements: The content on this website is indebted to many sources and attribution is given where possible. In particular, it draws on the biography of PL Travers by Valerie Lawson Out of the Sky She Came (1999) and conversations with a longtime friend of P.L. Travers, Patricia Feltham. But no inference should be drawn that this or any other attribution indicates endorsement by those individuals of the website's content. In particular, neither individual is making the claim that Bowral is the birthplace of Mary Poppins. Responsibility for that claim and all the website content is accepted by Paul McShane, Convenor - BookTown Australia info@booktown.com.au

DISCLAIMER: This website and the Mary Poppins Birthplace Bowral Project are not affiliated with or approved by The Walt Disney Company

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