Mark my words …

For just about everything that Mark Twain is said to have said there is a Twain scholar to say he didn’t say it. For instance that thing about golf being the opiate of the masses, he never said that.

Not far from me is the Maryborough railway station which Twain thought so grand that he said “Maryborough, a station with a town attached”. It’s pretty certain that’s another of the things he didn’t say but he did say this …

Don’t you overlook that Maryborough station, if you take an interest in governmental curiosities. Why, you can put the whole population of Maryborough into it, and give them a sofa apiece, and have room for more.

He visited the town in 1895 during a year long world tour at a time when he was deeply in debt in the US. It invites comparisons with our own Clive Palmer, up to his eyes in debt and living it up. However Twain’s was a lecture tour intended to raise the funds to repay his debts. Which to his enormous credit he did, despite the fact that he was protected by the bankruptcy laws and could have walked away from them. So no comparison after all.

The station is a bit of a curiosity. It’s part of popular local mythology that it was actually meant to be built elsewhere. There is a Maryborough in Queensland which still causes confusion. I’ve also been told with all apparent seriousness that Madras has a little station and Maryborough a huge one because the plans were accidentally switched. In reality it was erected just as intended, just where intended at a very important intersection of various country rail lines.

It was begun in 1890, completed in 1891. Passenger services stopped in 1993 but resumed in 2010. I took my camera along recently when an old diesel locomotive brought a train full of enthusiasts to town …



M S Pl


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