P. L. Travers Park, Allora, QLD

P. L. Travers Park, Allora, QLD

Before Christmas Bec and I took a drive down to Warwick, about 70km from Toowoomba. Bec was keen to photograph some sunflowers but we also visited a few other places of interest in the area, including the P. L. Travers Park in Allora.

P. L Travers was the creator of that well-loved magical nanny, Mary Poppins. Born in Maryborough in 1899, her family relocated to Allora in 1905 where they lived until her father’s death two years later. Travers was actually named Helen Lyndon Goff but she took the name of Pamela Lyndon Travers when she embarked on a brief theatrical career in the early 1920s. Incidentally, Travers was her father’s first name. Later she abbreviated the name to P. L. Travers, using it as her pen name until officially adopting the name in 1933. 

Travers reportedly had a very rich imagination, writing stories and poems from a very young age. She started her journalistic career in Australia before heading off to London in 1924. Mary Poppins was first published in 1934, and was followed by another seven books with the final book published in 1988. Travers never returned to Australia to live and died in 1996.

In honour of Travers’ brief association with Allora, the P. L. Travers Park was officially opened in 2018. The main feature of the park, a granite sculpture depicting Mary Poppins and her trademark umbrella was actually created in 2005 by artist Vern Foss. An inscription on the monument notes Travers relationship with Allora.

Not far from the P. L Travers Park is the house in which Travers lived during her time in Allora. Originally constructed in 1879, it is one of the few late Victorian houses that still survives in Queensland and is heritage listed. Built as a bank and manager’s residence, it was used for that purpose until 1935, when it became just a family home. Unfortunately over the years it fell into disrepair until it was bought in 2007 and slowly restored. 

The Mary Poppins House, Allora, QLD

The house was closed on the day we were there, but it is open to the public on Sundays or by appointment. I believe you can book a tour and the owners even dress up in period costume. It sounds like it would be definitely worth a visit as it boasts 14 foot ceilings, six open fireplaces, and red cedar that was sourced from around Queensland. You can read more about the restoration process in an article featured in the Queensland Country Life.

If you are planning a visit to the Southern Downs and have fond memories of Mary Poppins, remember to put Allora on your list.

Happy Travelling!  

2 thoughts on “P. L. Travers Park, Allora, QLD

  1. I didn’t know the house was open on Sundays, wonderful, a future visit. There is a good biography of P.L.Travers called simply Mary Poppins she wrote, she certainly sounded like a complex and fascinating woman.

    Liked by 1 person

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