Upon passing through the regional town of Maryborough, I couldn’t help but notice groups of stalls lined up within the town centre. Needing a break, I pulled the car over and decided to check out what the small town had to offer and look for a good little Maryborough cafe.
The Maryborough Markets
While small, the Maryborough markets had an eclectic mix of stalls, friendly people and community atmosphere. I was in the middle of inspecting some of the local produce when out the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of a man who looked like he was from the 1850’s. “I must be delusional” I thought, “I need coffee”.
The smell of cooking food filled the air and my stomach started to grumble. Turning around and picking up my pace, I stumbled across a buzzing, charming little café called ‘Alowishus Delicious’.
Taking a seat, it didn’t take long before my coffee and meal were placed in front of me. I looked at the corn fritters like a creature about to pounce on its unsuspecting prey. BANG!! The sound of a gun goes off and my heart leaps out of my chest. Turning my head, I realised I was in fact, not delusional and two people in 1850’s costumes were standing beside a freshly fired cannon.
After I was fed and much more alert, I decided to do some investigating. I approached the couple full to the brim with curiosity – why was it that a CANNON was just fired?! Right here, in the middle of Maryborough?
Firing of Maryborough’s Time Cannon
The woman, Carmel Murdoch, explained that the time cannon was originally discovered, buried in sand on the Torres Strait island of Mobiag Island by the Premier of Queensland, John Douglas in 1877.
Being a ‘port of entry’, Maryborough had many people that came from all over the world that were used to different time zones. Firing a cannon, at the traditional time of 1pm, would notify the workers in the fields that it was time for lunch, allow the ship’s captains to reset their chronometers before they sailed out to sea, and the rest of the township could reset their clocks.
The cannon was fired up until 1898 when there was a depression and due to the lack of funds to pay for someone to fire and to pay for the shot itself, they ceased to do it every day and only reserved it for official occasions.
In 1988, when the World Expo was coming to Brisbane, it was thought to fire the cannon at a pavilion called “communities of Australia” for tourism purposes. It was then that it was discovered that the original cannon was cast in the 1750’s by the Dutch East India Company and so a few replicas were quickly made before the original cannon was placed in the Bond Store Museum in Wharf Street where it is still to this day.
Today, a replica of the cannon is fired to pay homage to the history and heritage of Maryborough.
I slowly made my way back to the car to continue my journey and thinking about all the new discoveries I had made. A good feed for a reasonable price and a viewing of the past: now that’s what I call a bang for your buck!
When you’re in Maryborough next, make sure to visit Alowishus Delicious (Maryborough’s best-rated cafe)! If you’re fast, you can even grab a free coffee on their website here: https://alowishus.com.au/free/