The region's longest-running markets turn 30
THE Maryborough Markets became an institution on the Fraser Coast since it began in 1987 as an idea to lure more shoppers to the city centre.
Thirty years later, the markets are a must-do weekly event on the calendar of local shoppers and draw in bus-loads of tourists and visitors from around the region who come to find a bargain and soak up the lively atmosphere.
At any time up to 100 stalls can line Adelaide and Ellena Sts with a huge variety of arts, crafts, fresh produce, plants and more.
The markets have been awarded on several occasions for their success and longevity.
Maryborough businessman Bill Langer, whose store Langers Shoes has been operating for 92 years, said the initial idea of the markets worked well.
"Initially it helped our business a lot - we were very, very busy," MrLangersaid.
"Some of the earlier stallholders sold t-shirts and hats and everything - there was a lot more variety.
"Stallholders complimented the CBD shops, not competed.
"At the moment, the last few months, it has tended to go the other way - slowed down to a certain extent. The only time we find we are busy and the markets are busy are school holidays, Christmas and Easter."
Mr Langer said market organisers were trying new ideas to bring the markets back up again and he was waiting to see how that went.
Maryborough ambassador and Mary Heritage of 19 years Carmel Murdoch said she was there at the beginning of the markets.
"I worked in a pharmacy on Kent St and would sell fitness equipment in the streets," she said.
"I dressed as a convict because I was sure I wasn't a free settler but it turned out I was."
Ms Murdoch said the initial idea behind the markets was to bring back customers to the CBD.
"The big Bazaar St shopping centre had opened and there was concern of people losing their jobs," she said.
"A small committee was formed and they visited the businesses to find Mondays were all right trading because of the weekend, Tuesdays and Wednesdays were pay day for Walkers, the railways and pension and everyone came to town on Fridays to stock up for the weekends - and Thursdays were the quietest day of the week.
"They also checked with the only markets in the region, Eumundi's on Wednesday and Saturday, and it was decided to run them on Thursdays and also to invite the Sunshine Coast stallholders to the event."
The markets were run by the Promotions Bureau and Ms Murdoch remembered they were very successful, with stallholders wearing gingham aprons and hats.
"There were stalls with flowers, painting, everything was new and they organised themed days like Mother's Day and Father's Day."
Mary Heritage was invented to coincide with Expo 88 when the time cannon built by Peter Olds was fired at the event.
Ms Murdoch said Mary's first two outfits were paid for by Wide Bay Gallery owner Syd Collins and her job involved speaking over the intercom and finding parents for lost children.
"Mayors Ron Peters and Alan Brown fired the cannon and Mary Heritage was joined by town crier Reg Lade in 1989," she said.
She also mentioned the markets had always run on Thursdays except during floods and when they fell on Christmas and Easter holidays.
Former Maryborough deputy mayor Graham Gauld said he joined in the market promotions only a few months after the idea was seeded.
"It was Loretta Bertoldo-Hyne who initiated the markets idea," he said.
"There was a small community committee that ran it and they eventually came under the council umbrella.
"Thursday was the worst commerce day in the city and the whole aim was to bring shoppers in.
"Once it got going it gained momentum and stalls were mainly people with hobbies and crafts."
Mr Gauld said they had their ups and downs.
"There were a few retailers who didn't like the idea of stalls in front of their shops - some even paid to rent the space. So the markets moved a few times around the city streets.
"But any event that was happening in the city, the market committee got on the bandwagon - there were a lot of people involved eventually and over the years it has done Maryborough good."
Former Maryborough Herald owner and editor Frank Burkett said the paper was very supportive of the markets.
"The chief driver of the markets, Loretta Bertoldo- Hyne, was struggling to get traction from the media, whose advertisers were against the markets, and from the Adelaide St traders, who said the markets were blocking access to their shops," he said.
"Photos were published every week of somebody firing the cannon.
"We gave Loretta all page two and in return she spoke to Maryborough's old firms, who started to put some advertising money into the Herald.
"So the Herald and the market committee were able to combine to the benefit of the newspaper and the city."
"Nowadays it would be hard to find a retailer anywhere in Maryborough opposed to the markets. They have become an institution - like the Herald."
Maryborough Markets will celebrate its 30th anniversary on November 30 and market-goers are encouraged to follow a pearl and heritage theme and enjoy a slice of cake to celebrate
A nine-carat gold, diamond and pearl earring and pendant set, valued at $500 and donated by Myatt Jewellers, will be raffled, a morning tea will be held for invited guests and there will be enough birthday cake for everyone