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Children’s author to add her own magic to Mary Poppins Festival

Author and illustrator of the Ruby Red Shoes series Kate Knapp will bring her own brand of magic to the Mary Poppins Festival this June-July school holidays in Maryborough.

The Brisbane-based writer and artist was a perfect fit for the festivities,” Fraser Coast Tourism and Events marketing and communications manager Bradley Nardi said.

“Kate creates all of her artwork by hand using pencils, ink, watercolour and a little magic and of course we all know how enchanting the world’s most famous fictional nanny is.

“During the festival, Kate will be exhibiting her work and doing readings.”

Ms Knapp said the main similarity she saw between herself and Mary Poppins author P.L.Travers, who was born in Maryborough, was the desire to tell stories for children.

“Both Mary Poppins and the Ruby Red Shoes books have characters that children relate to and offer them some kind of companionship and teachings,” she said.

“Much of my inspiration comes from my childhood. It was simple and filled with interesting characters. There was plenty of time and space to develop my imagination.

“Plenty of quiet contemplative space, in my experience, is perfect for hatching creative ideas.

“Nature, friends and family, as well as children are a source of many ideas and subject material.”

Storytelling at Maryborough

Ms Knapp said it was a wonderful idea to have a celebration of storytelling in one of Queensland’s historic cities and she was excited to be attending. 

“It makes me feel like a child again,” she said.

“Ruby Red Shoes loves scones with strawberry jam and cream and has her fingers crossed that there will be someone serving them in Maryborough for the festival!”

Ms Knapp has visited Maryborough many times as a good friend of hers lives in the Heritage City.

“It’s a wonderful town and particularly appeals to my love of historical buildings as well as the unique charm of the wide streets, the Mary River, quaint cottages and measured pace of life.”

Mr Nardi said workers renovating the former bank building where P.L. Travers was born had encountered significant unforeseen restoration work while converting it to an interpretive centre.

He said in order to allow repairs to continue and ensure the heritage-listed building is safe and secure for future generations to enjoy, the planned sneak peek at the Story Bank had been removed from the Mary Poppins Festival schedule.

“But visitors will be able to learn about the extensive building restoration works and the plans for the interpretive centre,” he said.

The stately building was purchased by Fraser Coast Regional Council in 2015 and is undergoing a $2.2 million refurbishment with grant funds from the Australian Government’s Community Development Grants Program, the Queensland Government’s Building Our Regions Funding and the council.

Mr Nardi said there would still be plenty of other high jinks for festival goers to enjoy from June 29 until July 8 including a creative writing workshop hosted by visiting author of the Extreme Adventure series Justin D’Ath and Kids’ Party Confidential with comedian and author Sean Murphy.

During the festival’s major celebration, A Day in the Park on July 7, everyone can join in the fun of the grand parade, nanny race and chimney sweep challenge.

And that’s just the beginning of the charming fun! Visit marypoppinsfestival.com.au for more details.


Photo by Natalie McComas 2013, courtesy Fraser Coast Tourism and Events.

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2018 Pre-World White Water Rafting Championship comes to Tully

Watching all the adrenalin pumping action on the first day of the 2018 Pre-World White Water Rafting Championship on 11 May was certainly a highlight of my five-week house-sitting stint in Tully.

Before visiting Tully, I knew the town of 2390 people and located 140 kilometres south of Cairns in North Queensland was reputed to be the wettest town in Australia.

It has an average annual rainfall of more than 4000 millimetres. The highest ever annual rainfall in a populated area of Australia, 7900 millimetres, was recorded in Tully in 1950.

The Golden Gumboot monument stands as testament to these records. At 7.9 metres tall, the boot represents the town’s record 1950 rainfall. An inside spiral staircase takes you to the top for a view of the town. Tully also holds an annual Golden Gumboot Festival.

What I didn’t know was the nearby Tully River is arguably the best rafting river in Australia.

It’s no wonder Tully was chosen to host this year’s national rafting championship in May, which was a build-up event to the International Rafting Federation’s (IRF) 2019 World Rafting Championship (WRC).

On 11 May I was lucky enough to find a terrific spectator viewing spot to watch the first day of action when some of the world’s best rafters competed in the sprint and head-to-head disciplines.

In just a few hours I learnt a lot about the sport and watched in awe as rafters navigated their way through the Tully River’s rapids, fringed by world heritage tropical rainforest.

However, you don’t have to be the best in the world to experience the thrill of white water rafting on the Tully River throughout the year. 

Thrill seekers of all levels, even beginners, can book half or full day tours though www.wildsideadventures.com.au or www.ragingthunder.com.au.

Follow the link below to buy photos from the first day of the 2018 Pre-World White Water Rafting Championship at Tully. And, don’t forget to mark May 2019 in your diary for next year’s World Rafting Championship.

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Meet camp oven cooking guru at Relish Festival

Camp oven cooking guru Ranger Nick will be one of the special guests at this year’s Relish Food and Wine Festival on June 2 in Queensland’s Heritage City of Maryborough.

Another fantastic addition to this year’s festival is a Gin Joint in the basement of the historic Bond Store where visitors will be able to taste various gin cocktails while watching a spicy burlesque performance.

Ranger Nick, whose appearance has been sponsored by Hervey Bay RV lifestyle community Latitude 25, will show visitors how to cook an amazing tasty meal using a camp oven and a small fire pit.

Relish organiser Robyn Peach, of Fraser Coast Tourism and Events, said Ranger Nick would join leading local chefs, including 2013 My Kitchen Rules winners Dan and Steph Mulheron, in showcasing the Fraser Coast region’s finest local produce.

She said festival goers would be able to dig into mouth-watering locally caught seafood, homegrown macadamia nuts and gourmet cheeses matched with awarding-winning wines and some of the finest craft beers from across south-east Queensland.

“Meet our local growers and makers, who love to share the fruits of their work, and our talented chefs who are passionate about providing the unmistakable stamp of our region in every dish,” Mrs Peach said.

“The immensely popular Relish Long Lunch is back again this year along with the Bubbles on the Boat cruises on the tranquil Mary River.”

She said the day of indulgence was set against the backdrop of the beautiful Portside Precinct among heritage streetscapes, Mary River parklands and the Mary River.

The jam-packed program includes a workshop at Gatakers Artspace to reveal the secrets of making sheets of botanical paper derived from common garden plants such as ginger, onion skins and turmeric.

And Kenilworth Dairies is promising some udderly delicious and nutritious tastings and hands-on masterclass workshops including one on how to make delicious dips using yoghurt.

“Livening up the atmosphere further will be rhythm and blues soul artist Doug Williams – a contestant on The Voice in 2014,” Mrs Peach said.

“Local favourite, the nine-piece band Soul City will also be performing throughout the day.”

The annual event began in 2012 and continues to promote and celebrate the Fraser Coast’s regional produce and food industry while allowing locals the chance to experience the breadth of local culinary offerings and giving people outside of the region a tasty excuse to visit.

General entry is $10 for those who buy tickets online or at the Visitor Information Centres in Hervey Bay and Maryborough ahead of the event or $15 at the gate, while the prices for the long lunch, cruise, cooking classes and gin joint can be found at relishfrasercoast.com.au.

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