SHE did not arrive by umbrella, but Mary Poppins has come back to the birthplace of her creator - via New Zealand.

A Booral woman has been given a rare original 1963 Mary Poppins doll in pristine condition, which she plans to loan to the Mary Poppins museum in Maryborough once it re-opens.

While visiting her cousin in Nielsen, New Zealand at the end of last year, keen collector Nicola Smart mentioned she lived near the birthplace of PL Travers, who wrote the famous Mary Poppins books.

Nicola Smart from Booral with the original 1960's Pedigree Mary Poppins doll her cousin in New Zealand gave her. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Nicola Smart from Booral with the original 1960's Pedigree Mary Poppins doll her cousin in New Zealand gave her. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle Alistair Brightman

Her cousin Amanda said she had a Mary Poppins doll, and the next day dug it out of her storage and offered it to Nicola.

"She had tears in her eyes when she gave it to me," Nicola said.

"It's amazing she still had it after more than 50 years; she's moved a lot and doesn't have any children or even nieces or nephews to give it to."

Nicola said her cousin asked her to take Mary "back to where she really belongs", in Maryborough.

"I've decided I might offer her to the museum in Maryborough on an extended loan," she said.

"Because that way everyone can see her, and it's better than her being here at home."

Nicola Smart from Booral with the original 1960's Pedigree Mary Poppins doll her cousin in New Zealand gave her. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Nicola Smart from Booral with the original 1960's Pedigree Mary Poppins doll her cousin in New Zealand gave her. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle Alistair Brightman

Being a big fan of the Mary Poppins musical herself, Nicola said sharing the doll with her cousin brought them closer together despite being an ocean apart.

"When we were growing up (in New Zealand) we were very close, as many cousins are," she said.

"But when we got a bit older we drifted apart for a few years."

On eBay, other copies of the doll are priced between $49 and $100, but Nicola said she believed it held much more sentimental value to the heritage city.

"She's something Maryborough is very well-known for, of course," she said.

Nicola volunteers at the regional gallery in Hervey Bay, and her husband Tony volunteers at the historical museum in Scarness.

Tony agreed the doll was important historically.

Mary Poppins doll

  • Despite being 50 years old, the toy still has its original clothes and accessories including her hat, bag and change of clothes.
  • Could be worth more than $100.
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