Maryborough is a city located on the Mary River in Queensland, Australia, approximately 255 kilometres (160 mi) north of the state capital, Brisbane. The city is served by the Bruce Highway. It is closely tied to its neighbour city HERVEY BAY which is approximately 30 kilometres (20 mi) northeast. Together they form part of the area known as the Fraser Coast. At the 2011 Australian Census the city recorded a population of 21,777. The city was the location for the 2013 Australian Scout Jamboree.
Maryborough City Hall, built in 1908, on Kent Street.
Maryborough was founded in 1847, was proclaimed a municipality in 1861, and became a city in 1905. During the second half of the 1800s, the city was a major port of entry to immigrants arriving in Queensland from all parts of the world.
The name was derived from the Mary River which was named in 1847 after Lady Mary Lennox (1790–1847) the wife of Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy, then Governor of the colony of New South Wales. Lady Mary was killed in a coach accident very soon after, devastating Sir Charles.
Maryborough railway station was opened in 1882 after a branch into Maryborough was built from the North Coast railway line.
Australia's only outbreak of pneumonic plague occurred in Maryborough in 1905. At the time Maryborough was Queensland's largest port — a reception centre for wool, meat, timber, sugar and other rural products. A freighter from Hong Kong, where plague was rampant, was in the port of Maryborough about the time that a wharf worker named Richard O'Connell took home some sacking from the wharf, for his children to sleep on. Subsequently, five of the seven O'Connell children, two nurses, and a neighbour died from the disease. There were no more cases but the ensuing fear, panic, and hysteria totally consumed the town, and a huge crowd gathered to witness the family’s house being burnt to the ground by Health officials. A memorial fountain was built in the grounds of the City Hall and dedicated to the nurses, Cecelia Bauer and Rose Wiles.
Tourism plays a significant part in the economy of the city today. Maryborough is the self-styled Heritage City of Queensland and holds heritage markets each Thursday. The city has many preserved 19th and 20th century buildings including the General Post Office and Customs House.
The main industrial company in the city today is Downer Rail, formerly Walkers Limited, a heavy engineering business which has built much of the rolling stock and locomotives for Queensland Rail and in past years was involved in shipbuilding. Downer Rail, together with Bombardier Transportation, built and tested Transperth's relatively modern B-Series trains in Maryborough, which were launched in Perth in late 2004.
Maryborough Sugar Factory, in Kent Street was established in 1956. There were many smaller sugar mills which were established by sugar cane farmers along the Mary River. Island Plantation had one of the first sugar crushing mill set up along the river. One of the old settlements in Maryborough is at a place called Dundathu. Here the first timber mill was established in the 1800s. The timber was bought down the river and carted to the Timber Mill by horse and cart. The timber mill burnt down in the 1900s.
Maryborough's income also comes from numerous farming and station prospects in and around the city and has a healthy fishing industry. The city also has had traditional ties to the timber industry and is home to Hyne & Son one of the largest producers of natural timber products in Australia.