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John Oxley Library

State Library of Queensland goes to Hollywood

By Myles Sinnamon - Engagement Officer, State Library of Queensland | 27 August 2015

Did you know three photographs from State Library of Queensland's collection were used in a $35 million Hollywood blockbuster?

Saving Mr Banks official trailer (YouTube)

'Saving Mr Banks', starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, depicts the making of Walt Disney's 1964 adaptation of Mary Poppins, the beloved character of P. L. Travers' children's books. Travers (real name Helen Lyndon Goff) was born in Maryborough, Queensland in 1899, the family later moving to Allora in 1905. The film includes flashbacks to Travers' early childhood in both these Queensland towns, although sadly the production did not shoot on location, choosing to recreate country Queensland in Hollywood.

The three historical photographs from State Library of Queensland's collection are featured in the 'bank scene in Allora'. In a shot of the interior of the bank, just near the open door of bank manager Travis Goff's office (played by Colin Farrell) you can see two portraits.   The first portrait is of William Dawson, mayor of Maryborough in 1887 and 1905-1907. Dawson died in Toowoomba in 1922, although his body was removed to Maryborough for burial.

Portrait of William Dawson

William Dawson. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 161299

The second portrait in this shot is of Sir Arthur Morgan. Morgan was a businessman and proprietor of the Warwick Argus newspaper. He was Queensland Premier from 1903 to 1906 and was knighted in 1907.

Sir Arthur Morgan. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 3811

The third image is in another shot of the interior of the bank near the front entrance. This portrait is of Lord Chelmsford (Frederic John Napier Thesiger)who was Governor of Queensland from 1905 to 1909.

Governor of Queensland Lord Chelmsford. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 8986

It is interesting to note that the original bank building still survives in Allora today. Affectionately referred to by locals as "the Mary Poppins house", this building on Herbert Street served as both bank and residence, and was home to the Goff family for two years. According to a 2014 story by ABC Southern Queensland, the owner and architect Lee Struthers worked with the movie set designers by providing photographs and sketches so the production could recreate the interior of the building.

Allora branch of the Australian Joint Stock Bank ca. 1912. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 189671

Former Bank premises 'Mary Poppins House' in Allora, Queensland. Image taken in 1997.

Former Bank premises 'Mary Poppins House', Allora, Queensland, 1997. Photographer: Mark Baker. 32835, Mark Baker architecture photographs. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image number: 32835-0013-0010

State Library of Queensland also holds the books from Travers' Mary Poppins series, including a first edition copy of the original book published in 1934.

Mary Poppins Come Back. Published c.1935. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Each year Maryborough, the town of Travers' birth, celebrates the Mary Poppins Festival. In honour of this event, SLQ has compiled a Flickr set of images documenting the early history of Maryborough.

Myles Sinnamon - Project Coordinator with C.Cottle - Digital Content Curator, State Library of Queensland



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