Mary River Turtle

The Story Behind This Mural

This Maryborough River Turtle inhabits the Mary River, from Gympie to the tidal reaches just upstream from Maryborough.  Its vulnerability, beauty and unusual features make it a natural “wonder”. It is a “cloacal ventilator” (breathes oxygen through its anus) which allows the species to stay under water for days at a time when the water is flowing and well oxygenated.  Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s Mary River turtles were subjected to illegal collection for the pet trade and were sold as ‘penny turtles’. This meant that an entire generation of turtles were removed from the wild leaving a reduced, ageing population. Today, nesting (which occurs in October and again in November) is threatened by egg predation from feral animals and goannas and nest trampling by cattle.  This combined with declining water quality, siltation, pollution and clearing in the Mary River Catchment has placed the entire species at risk of extinction.  It is classified as Endangered at both a state and federal level.  It is also considered a critical priority for conservation under the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

Mural Location


About the Artist

The artist, Michelle Valdivia finds inspiration in the natural wonders of the Fraser Coast and regularly paints native animals.  She generously waived her commission for this mural.

Contributors to this Mural

The Maryborough Mural Project relies entirely on the generosity of volunteers and sponsors from our local community.  The artist generously waived her commission for this mural.  The Committee would like to thank Mrs Tracey Christoffel, Mr Neville Christoffel Mr Toby Christoffel, Mr Mal Finlayson, Ms Tracey Gray, Mrs Dawn Vanderwolf, and Mr Rai Whitten for their time and expertise in coordinating this mural.  The Committee also thanks the following businesses for their kind and generous sponsorship of this mural: