Maryborough Markets regulars stay loyal for 30 years
Stallholders Wayne and Sharon Usher are now serving the children of customers they started selling goods to 30 years ago when they were part of the inaugural Maryborough Markets day.
The couple has stalls side-by-side near St Paul’s Anglican Church with Wayne dealing in hardware and tools while wife Sharon sells clothing and hats as a sideline to her store Shazaynes on the Esplanade at Torquay.
“We’ve been going that long, we’ve got a lot of friends there, it’s a bit of a social occasion,” he said.
“Over the years we’ve got a lot of friends who were original customers and we’ve had a lot of stallholder friends.
“A lot of my customers – now their kids deal with us.”
Mr Usher said many of their clients were tourists who had been regularly holidaying on the Fraser Coast for years or made day trips to the region to visit the markets and other attractions such as Brennan and Geraghty’s Store Museum.
“It’s good for the CBD because it brings them into Maryborough,” he said.
When the Ushers first started at the Maryborough Markets they lived in Brisbane but they grew to like the region so much, 21 years ago they made the move to Hervey Bay.
“It’s a great place to live,” Mr Usher said.
The Ushers aren’t the only family who has stuck with the markets over the years.
Mr Whippy Fraser Coast’s Robby Staff said his dad Bob was at the first market day in November 1987 and they had been selling ice-creams at the event on and off for about 25 years.
His dad used a more modern van back then but the classic machine Mr Staff operates from now was built in 1963 and attracts a lot of attention from snap-happy tourists.
“I get a lot of good feedback,” Mr Staff said, adding the van was one of only six or seven of its type still operating in the world today.
He’s planning a special surprise to celebrate the 30th anniversary on November 30.
Another of the Maryborough Markets’ fixtures is lead guitarist Doug Alexander who has spent the majority of the 30 years entertaining the crowds.
He only missed three or four years when he moved away but picked up where he left off when he returned.
“One guy comes along every week and puts $5 in the kitty,” Mr Alexander said, and always requested the same songs: Winter Winds and White Rabbit.
He said he’s also had market goers tell him they’d been listening to his music in Alice Springs because travellers in a caravan had bought one of his CDs and played it for others in the Northern Territory.
“The thing that’s most rewarding for me is the visitors say ‘you’re one of the last that play the melody, play the words, a lot of people only play riffs’,” he said.
The market regulars are looking forward to the pearl and heritage-themed 30th anniversary celebrations on November 30 which include the raffle of a nine-carat gold, diamond and pearl earring and pendant set, valued at $500 and donated by Myatt Jewellers, a morning tea for invited guests and birthday cake for everyone.
Article and photos submitted by: Fraser Coast Tourism and Events