Mary Ann steaming on to her coming of age
MARY Ann is on track to mark her 21st birthday on Friday, May 22, with a run reminiscent of her first outing.
Steam train lovers are invited to wave as Mary Ann chuffs from the old railway station in Lennox Street to Nagel Street, back to the CBD, and through Queens Park to Tiger Street.
Maryborough Whistle Stop Committee member Marg Jarvis said show day marked 21 years since the replica of the first steam engine built in Queensland was first put on display.
“Mary Ann will be 21 years old from when she first made a public appearance at the 1999 Fraser Coast Show,” Ms Jarvis said.
“With this year’s show being cancelled due to the coronavirus, Mary Ann cannot replicate her first public outing, but she can run to Nagel Street nearby.”
Ms Jarvis said that weather permitting, Whistle Stop volunteers would take Mary Ann out to celebrate her 21st birthday and take the opportunity for a training run for volunteer staff.
“They’ve done some minor repairs while we’ve all been in lockdown so this outing will also be an opportunity for a test run, blow the whistle and let everyone know she’s fit and well.
“We plan on leaving the goods shed at or near 9am.”
There are plenty of vantage points near the bridges on Pallas, Ferry and Russell Streets as well as the bridge over the Bruce Highway.
In line with coronavirus restrictions, the outing is for running staff only who will observe social distancing rules. Tickets are not available for purchase.
Ms Jarvis said Mary Ann had been on many adventures on her journey from rebirth to adulthood.
“As well as countless trips through Queens Park on market days, she’s been out for many other special occasions including weddings.
“The last time she went to Nagel Street was in 2006 to take the Melbourne Cup to the showgrounds.
“She also went to the Kingaroy Peanut Festival in 2006, took a run from Gympie to Amamoor in 2007, visited Gympie Steamfest in 2010, and Biggenden in 2005.
The original Mary Ann was created for William Pettigrew and William Sim by the engineering skills already inherent in Maryborough.
The rebirth of Mary Ann, in the form of a replica 126 years later, happened because of the vision, dedication and engineering skills of Maryborough’s Peter Olds.