A makeshift Ariadne (South Passage) enters Maryborough in a re-enactment of the arrival of the first migrants.
A makeshift Ariadne (South Passage) enters Maryborough in a re-enactment of the arrival of the first migrants. Megan Pope

Historic Ariadne arrival party

THE musical sounds of bagpipes and accordions could be heard drifting down the Mary River yesterday, as descendants of the region's first migrants took to the water to re-enact the arrival of the Ariadne.

Generations of Australians made their way to Maryborough on the weekend, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Ariadne's arrival in the Heritage City.

Hundreds of people swamped the riverbanks along the portside precinct on Saturday, alongside colourful historical characters, in the hopes of catching a glimpse of what the region may have looked like more than 150 years ago.

Doctors, nurses, teachers and musicians were among the many people aboard the South Passage ship as it made its way in to port on the weekend, re-enacting the Ariadne's great voyage on October 9, 1862.

Passengers departing the ship were welcomed to the region by Queensland Governor Penelope Wenlsey and Fraser Coast Regional Council mayor Gerard O'Connell.

Maryborough was important to the development of Queensland," Cr O'Connell said.

"We are very proud to be celebrating not only the town's history, but its future as well.

"It is important that we continue to hold events like these, so that we can always celebrate and acknowledge our past."

The massive three-day celebration was organised by the Maryborough Family Heritage Institute, and took almost 12 months of planning to create.

Institute member Judy Thornton said volunteers had dedicated the past year to researching and locating the direct descendants of the region's first migrants, for the event.

We had about 12 to 14 people working on the event to gather all the information together," Mrs Thornton said.

"It was very important to us that we celebrate this great milestone in the region, as it marked a big step in the development of Maryborough.

"The original migrants had no idea what they were stepping into, so it's great to celebrate their achievements."

Mrs Thornton said descendants from as far away as Melbourne had flown up to the Heritage City for the event, and some had even taken part in the re-enactment.

It was really great to see so many relatives come here for the event," she said.

"There are also a lot of visitors, who came here to join in on the celebrations."

Visitors will visit River Heads today for the final day of 150th anniversary celebrations.



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