Maryborough Match Making Machine

 Fraser Coast Regional Council
Location: Maryborough, Queensland
Materials: Stainless steel, bronze, copper, electro-mechanical components
Completed: 2016

“One of the advantages for Maryborough men, when ships arrived, was the influx of young unmarried women.  It was not long before the colonial bachelors of Maryborough eagerly pursued these ladies in courtship. 

A particularly swift courtship and marriage followed the arrival of the ship ‘Ariadne’ in 1862.  William McKintyre was on the wharf when the ship arrived, as he later recalled, “I had the pleasure of distributing copies of the Maryborough Chronicle to a good few lassies, some of whom were remarkably winsome.  I was so smitten with the charms of one (Mary Sutherland) that I presented her with two copies, spoke to her next Thursday, proposed to her, was accepted, and married her on the following Saturda.”

Having heard the story of William McKintyre and Mary Sutherland, the expectations of finding a mate were somewhat heightened for new arrivals to Maryborough. This became something of a problem with bachelors and their potential brides taking to impromptu courting and loitering on the docks, making unloading more hazardous and inefficient than necessary.

An enterprising ad salesman at the local paper struck on an idea to solve this problem, whilst also increasing revenue for the paper. By providing a one-stop-shop for both match making and marriage licencing the paper could encourage many marriages and subsequently increase purchases of public notice announcements from the paper. To keep costs down the process was automated and the resulting apparatus installed on the footpath outside the newspaper.