Mary’s Place celebrates the life of Mary Barry who was the owner and publican of the Commercial Hotel on the site for over 52 years. The hotel was destroyed by fire in 2018, and Western Downs Regional Council decided to create a public square in memory of Mary and for public benefit. The significance of Mary to Dalby is captured in the Dalby Herald in these words upon her death in 2010:
“Mary’s was known as the social heart of Dalby, whether it was celebrating a win by the Wheatmen, lunch on a Sunday home game for the Dalby Cricket Association, kids playing upstairs after the Dalby Street Party, or opening its doors to the less fortunate for the St Vincent de Paul annual luncheon.”
The design of the square is based upon the notion of rebirth, both of the site itself after the fire and of the land around Dalby when rains revitalise the fertile soil, The plan is an abstraction of the cracked soils in the dry season with the landscape and species symbolising regeneration, including of the native grass trees of the region which the local Barunggam people burnt to revive them.
This abstraction is extended into the forms of the built structures – one supporting a cinema screen, another a canopy supporting projectors, and two being arbours drawing movement into the square. Apart from outdoor cinema, the square will be used for markets and public events, as well as respite in the many hot days Dalby experiences.
the Barunggam people
Western Downs Regional Council