Monday, July 7, 2014

Maryborough gloom and the 50 year class reunion

There has been no rain in Sydney since when it was raining when my plane from Kuala Lumpur touched down. It was a welcome change to turn on the wipers as we headed into Maryborough.

The Mary Poppins festival was on that weekend. The author, P.L. Travers was born in Maryborough but her family left when she was three.

The Town Hall. Overcast but not raining.

Art exhibit in the Town Hall. This town really tries hard to make itself attractive to visitors. When we visited last year, they were holding the annual 24 hour pedal powered race.

Many of the old pubs are closed.

Since the Station Square Mall opened, many of the shops in the town area have closed.

Friday morning and the town is close to empty.

Empty shops on one of the the main streets in prime positions.

A few years ago the shops in this location were burned down in a bikie conflict. I read that there are plans to rebuild but I would have to ask why since there are so many empty shops. I find it all quite depressing.

Site of the bad blood between two coffee shops.

Post Office. It's the oldest surviving Post Office in Queensland.

The Catholic Church.

Court House.

Band Rotunda.

Gloomy river.

We have a tradition of taking a photo of Robin sitting on the cannon each time we go to Maryborough. The rain had made the cannon wet so this time she is standing.

A Bunya Pine with new growth on the leaves. 

Strolling around in the Gardens.

Customs House.

Former pub.

Statue of Mary Poppins.

Another former pub. Maryborough holds a pub crawl each year and usually holds the world record. At one time, Maryborough had almost 40 pubs but I suspect there are now less than 20. The high cost of beer, TV and random breath tests have killed off the pubs.

Robin in the Fudge Shop.

The old Wintergarden Picture Theatre which has been closed for years. 

This building used to house the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Given the stench that has risen over the bank's treatment of the investors who were given poor and misleading financial advice by its staff, the new occupants seem appropriate.

More deserted footpaths.

The sun came out so the Fire Brigade building looked good. Robin was much more positive about Maryborough than me. I suspect that is because she saw all the interesting old buildings, many of which are in good condition. I see them with old eyes that saw them years ago when the city was comparatively vibrant and buildings were being used for their original purpose.

The train lines at the station have been ripped up.

The platform is fenced off to prevent access. 

My father's office was at the right of this building. It now houses a museum.

However, the District Superintendent's house has been restored.

A few years ago, I knocked on the door of this house to find out what had happened to the owner who had introduced me to hi-fi with his expensive system which included Tannoy GRF Autograph loudspeakers. They were the size of a refrigerator and very expensive. To my surprise he answered the door and later that day we spent a couple of hours talking about classical music. He was 92 but remembered my father and me after all these years.

Late last year, I happened to look at the obituaries in the local paper's web site and found that he had died. A few weeks later I was contacted by one of his nephews who was to administer the will and I was able to give him some leads on how to dispose of these rare and valuable loud speakers.

Next door was the house belonging to the father of one of my classmates. When I went to the reunion I discovered that he had also died recently. The father was also one of our teachers who taught us woodwork back in grades 7 and 8.

We drove out to Teddington Weir where my parent's ashes now lurk behind a fence.

The weir. It must have rained recently since water was going over the weir.

This is Perry Road. Curiously, it might have been named after my father since quite a few roads in Maryborough or surrounding areas were named after local families.

We took the back road to Brisbane via the tiny village of Kin Kin. The drive is magnificent with plenty of curves, hills, scenery and even five miles of dirt road. No speed cameras either since nobody knows about this drive.

We had lunch at a cafe attached to the local Post Office. I had a milk shake to start with. You know that a milk shake is probably pretty good when the straw stands up of its own accord.

Robin's Caesar Salad.

My bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwich. BLAT. It was really good.

The Suzuki Swift that I rented. I was quite impressed with how well it handled and how solid it felt for such a small car. I had plenty of head-room which can be rare in Asian cars. I was amazed by the fuel economy. I was able to drive from the airport to Urangan and back to the airport on the same tank of petrol and still have a 50 mile range when I refilled. I suspect the range is about 700 km.

After dropping Robin off at the airport, I met my friend Geoff. While I was to be at the reunion, he was going to Maryborough for the Mary Poppins festival.

The reunion. The bloke on the left turned up in his old school blazer, hat and tie. Not bad after 50 years. The one on the flight was a pilot for Qantas. He was the pilot who logged the most hours in the 747 that is on display at the Qantas Museum in Longreach. He was not the pilot who landed the plane however.

We look like a bunch of old codgers. Most of us don't feel that way and quite a few of us are still very active and some are very fit.

I am at the right hand end of the back row. I think I am still the tallest in the class though I suspect some of the others have shrunk a bit.

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