Two new artworks helping keep Maryborough’s history alive

TWO new art installations in Adelaide Street are adding to the Maryborough CBD’s revitalisation and storytelling narrative.

Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders and Fraser Coast Councillor Daniel Sanderson at one of the new bronze artworks in Adelaide Street. PHOTO: Shaun Ryan.

A World War Two prisoner who secretly made radios for fellow prisoners of war and a pie-making family have been honoured as part of the upgrade between Ellena and Alice streets.

Bronze artworks installed along the footpath to acknowledge their commitment to community were unveiled this week.

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They help tell the story of individuals, families and local businesses that have had an impact on the Heritage City.

Footpaths and the road surface were also upgraded.

Fraser Coast Division 4 Councillor Daniel Sanderson said the $3-million project was funded by the Queensland Government and builds on the work undertaken to refurbish the CBD streetscapes.

“A CBD is no longer just a place to shop. We want it to evolve into a people-friendly space where a variety of events and activities can be held as well as still providing access to businesses.”

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Six artworks were also installed as part of the project.

“The artworks which include a mixture of small bronze statues and photographs, are a tribute to the longstanding businesses that have operated from this section of Adelaide Street and are now household names across the Fraser Coast.

“They tell the story of some of the businesses that have operated continuously from Adelaide Street and include J Kirk and Son, which has had a shopfront here for 155 years and is still operated by the Kirk family.

“Cree and McCullough has been there for 103 years, Bradshaws has been here for 55 years and the Central Hotel has been operating for 158 years, with a variety of owners over that time.”

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The Adelaide Street works included:

  • Replacement of existing footpaths with exposed aggregate concrete;
  • Replacement of existing kerb and channel;
  • Full pavement reconstruction with bitumen seal and asphalt overlay;
  • Pedestrian bollards and overhead lighting;
  • New street furniture – bins, seats, artwork and bollards;
  • Landscaping Improvements, and;
  • Upgrading of underground services (water mains).

The Maryborough CBD Revitalisation Project was modelled on feedback and suggestions made by residents, CBD businesses and property owners during consultation for the Imagine This City Project. 

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Previous stages of revitalisation works have been undertaken in Kent Street (Lennox towards March Street); Adelaide Street (Ellena to Sussex streets); Ellena Street (Lennox to Bazaar streets); Bazaar Street (Ellena to Sussex streets); Lennox Street (Sussex to Ellena streets) and Kent Street (Lennox to Adelaide streets).

Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said the revitalisation work was great news for Maryborough.  

“It’s great to see some of Maryborough’s local legends honoured here at the heart of Maryborough,” Mr Saunders said. 

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“This massive project is nearly completed with the revitalisation works reinventing the space and helping to bring our community together when we need it the most.

“Queensland’s economic recovery is underway and Maryborough is at the centre, with jobs being delivered to upgrade our local infrastructure.”

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Local company SGQ was awarded the tender to carry out the works.

Meanwhile, Mr Saunders said he had recently received positive feedback from a community member regarding the resurfaced footpaths.

Mr Saunders said the residents, who uses a walker, is now able to get around the CBD more easily because of the wider and resurfaced footpaths.

The artworks include:

Maryborough RSL: The significance of the Maryborough RSL has been marked by a story box and bronze nurse’s hat and cape to honour women in the services. The picture in the story box is of nurse Ida Maria Axelson. Miss Axelson was born in Maryborough in 1878, one of six girls, all of whom were nurses. In June 1915 aged 37 she enlisted as an AANS Sister and embarked on HMRT “Orsova” in July. Until her discharge in September 1918, Sister Axelson served aboard “Kanowna” making nine voyages from the Middle East to bring wounded soldiers back to Australia.

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J Kirk and Son: A story box which includes a bronze wreath and top hat, modelled on an original still owned by the family, which was used by the drivers of the firm’s horse-drawn hearse in funeral processions marks the contribution to Maryborough of J Kirk and Son.

Cree and McCulough: Bronze sculptures of plumbers’ tools have been installed to honour Cree and McCulough plumbers, tinsmiths and sheet metal workers.

Central Hotel: The artworks paying homage to the Central Hotel include a beer glass and the keys from a piano to recognise the history of the hotel as a music hall. In March 1856 Edward Priddy bought the site for a residence and store. The first hotel was called the Carpenter’s Arms and operated by Priddy and his first wife, Mary. Mary was found dead on the premises in April 1866 and a fortnight later the 61-year-old Priddy remarried Lucy Moore Grubb (nee Armstrong) who was less than half his age. They ran the hotel for a couple of years and Priddy added a music hall. The hotel was renamed the Theatre Royal in 1868, then the Shakespeare; later it was called the Royal Exchange; renamed the Hotel Metropole, and finally the Hotel Central. Priddy died in 1884, and Lucy Moore Grubb Priddy Cheeke (after remarrying) died in 1907.

Maryborough’s love of pies: A story box was installed near Haman Optical to honour the Sauer family in the history of Maryborough. The Sauer name is synonymous with pies in Maryborough. Haman Optical was once the location of a pie shop operated by Charles Sauer. The shop opened in 1922 and traded into the late 1940s. Charles Sauer joined the A.I.F. in August 1914 (aged 19) and is described as a pastry cook. He lists his father Carl Wilhelm Sauer, of Park Street (the long-time family home and bakery site as his next of kin. His father had been born in Berlin, emigrated in 1859, aged 6, and arrived in Maryborough circa 1860). Although Charles was wounded at Gallipoli and in other campaigns he served until the end of WW1. His brother Henry William Sauer (also a pastry cook) was born in 1888 and died at 42 in 1930, after having been 15 years working in the family business. Augie Sauer (who lived until 1975) was famous for his mobile pie vans (selling pies baked in a brick oven at the Park Street house/shop) and his call of “Hot Pies” at various cinemas, schools, sporting events around town. The classic Sauer-style pie is still on sale in Maryborough at Gail Sauer’s Bakery Café in Lennox Street. 

Bradshaws Radio and TV: A bronze sculpture of a radio was installed in recognition of the Bradshaw business which has been in operation at this location since 1966. Bradshaw’s founding partners were Kev Bradshaw and Mal Watson. The original Bradshaw’s building was for many years (from mid-1940’s to the late 1960s) operated as Arch Caswell’s Radio Service. Arch Caswell, a prisoner of war in WWII, covertly built radio receivers for his fellow prisoners to hear the international news. On his return to Maryborough, he was involved in the aero club.

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