The Life of P.L. Travers

The author of Mary Poppins was born Helen Lyndon Goff in the upstairs bedroom of the building that is now the Story Bank on the corner of Richmond and Kent Street on the 9th of August 1899. 

She spent the first few years of her life in Maryborough, where her father Travers Goff worked as the bank manager of the Australian Joint Stock Bank. Travers Goff was eventually demoted from bank manager and the family moved to Allora in 1905, where tragically her father died 2 years later. After her fathers death, Travers spent time being shuffled around between family members and boarding school. It was during these years that she first starting writing poetry and stories. When she reached adulthood, she stopped using the name Helen Lydon Goff and started using the stage and pen name Pamela Lyndon Travers- the name Travers being her fathers first name.  As a young woman in her 20's, she moved to England, seeking fame as an actress and author under the name P.L. Travers. It was under that name that in 1934 she wrote the first 'Mary Poppins' novel about the magical and exceedingly efficient nanny. It was an immediate success and the Mary Poppins series- six books in total- would go on to be published into more than 20 languages. However it was the Disney movie based off of the novel which made Mary Poppins - and P.L. Travers- famous.

"If you are looking for autobiographic facts," P.L Travers once wrote, "Mary Poppins is the story of my life." It is not hard to see the connections between the Mr Banks of the novel and P.L Travers own father. Even Mary Poppins herself is heavily based upon Travers' great aunt Ellie, who took her family in after her father's death. 

To learn more about the life, inspirations and achievements of P.L. Travers, come visit the Story Bank today!