It is not well-known that the author of the Mary Poppins stories was born and grew up in Australia. Helen Lyndon Goff adopted P L Travers as her pen name in the 1920s, when she moved to London to take up a writing career.
Before leaving Australia, never to return, she lived in the Sydney suburb of Ashfield from 1918 to 1924. With her mother and two sisters, she resided in a house at 40 Pembroke Street which overlooks Ashfield Park.
Although the Mary Poppins stories are set in London, Ashfield Park dates from 1874 and could well be the park that features so prominently in the Mary Poppins stories. In 2004, a statue of Mary Poppins was erected in the park next to the children’s playground. This statue shows Mary Poppins as she was depicted by the original illustrator of the books, Mary Shepard.