This quaint little town in Australia, is full of picturesque montages from the past. Its architecture, a strong reminder of the gold rush era, is beautifully preserved in time. For an outsider, the tourist, this would make the perfect gateway, just to get the feel of tiny town, close knit community living. But Maryborough’s reputation has been tarnished. Known to many as “scaryborough”, the town has been living in quiet oblivion for the past 40 years, Citizens say, that wheels have started turning, as the Country focuses on them.
The town is still haunted by two back to back homicides, the previous year, both, harmless, middle age people who were integral to a nurturing community life. Karen Ashcroft, the 52-year-old Grandma and 45-year-old John Bourke were killed in 2018. Two school aged boys have been charged for Bourke’s murder, leaving everyone in town shocked and scared.
According to old residents, the perception of the town does not suffer external attack alone but an internal dwindling self-esteem. One of the major contributors to this is the youth of the town, who will benefit from some redirection. The increasing crime rates and prevalent fear haven’t deterred some members of the community, who feel that some directed effort and welfare initiatives will put them back on the map.
The past glory of the town, has evaded it since then, lying, at the bottom of the table for unemployment, family violence and housing stress for 40 years. the town has the potential to grow into its own. It has one of the best aged care in the state, affordable housing, no traffic, great people, and 14 cycling routes that start and finish in Maryborough. The more progressive members of the community are seeking support from organizations and government. Headspace now visits the town’s public school on a fortnightly basis, and a community campaign to bring the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System to Maryborough was successful. The town will become the host to Maryborough Ideas Festival, loosely based on the Aspen version in the United States, the following year. This may change the general perception of people and give the optimistic set the push they need towards betterment.