Maryborough is a very easy 20 to 25 minute drive from Hervey Bay and its historic buildings and sites are definitely worth seeing.
Perhaps one of the more pleasant places to visit is Queens Park in Maryborough. Queens Park is heritage listed and was gazetted as a Botanical Gardens Reserve in 1873 and its history goes back even further to 1866.
In Jacaranda season the entrance to the parks is simply stunning. These trees are some of the best of their kind on the Fraser Coast.
An operating railway line
The park is perhaps unique in that an operating railway line runs through parts of the park. The line was originally built as a branchline to connect the main Maryborough station and goods yard with the bustling Maryborough port and later it was extended to the Maryborough Sugar Mill and other industries in the area..
At its peak, in sugar season, up to three trains could be operating on this line at the same time but these days the only regular train to operate on the branch is the Mary Ann … a working replica of the first steam engine built in Queensland in 1873 at John Walker & Co’s Union Foundry in Maryborough.
The Mary Ann operates on Thursdays and the last Sunday of the month.
The line is also used occasionally to move locomotives and rolling stock to and from the Downer EDI plant.
The first Anzac ashore at Gallipoli
While you’re in Queens Park you can also meet the first Anzac ashore at Gallipoli. Lieutenant Duncan Chapman was born in Maryborough in 1888 and was killed in action at Pozieres in France in 1916.
Miniature trains too
The miniature train tracks of the Model Engineers and Live Steamers Association have been part of Queens Park since 1976.
The Association operates on the last Sunday of the month and rides are always popular with the kids.
Walk further into the park and you will come to a bluff above the Mary River where several large guns guard the approaches.
The Port of Maryborough was once the busiest port in Queensland and you might think that the guns were part of the port’s defences but, by the time the guns were placed where they are today, the port was in decline and the guns were for decoration only.
They were presented to Maryborough by the Royal Australian Navy and were put in place in 1914.
It’s hard to imagine
Walk a little further along the river and you will come to this pleasant spot.
It’s hard to imagine just how busy this area once was. Sailing ships and steam ships from all over the world made their way up the river to dock in Maryborough and discharge their cargo and load Queensland produce to be shipped overseas.
Many immigrants came ashore at this port too but in 1925 the last passenger ship sailed away and the wharves gradually disappeared.