Located just 90 minutes by road from Brisbane, Toowoomba crowns the edge of the Great Dividing Range, 800 metres above sea level, overlooking the Lockyer Valley. Cruise north to Crows Nest through the hamlets strung along the eastern escarpement and check out nurseries, cafes, museums and galleries. In the north-west, the Bunya Mountains rise majestically against the sky, an offshoot to the Great Dividing Range with dense rainforest, waterfalls, walking tracks and the largest remaining stand of Bunya Pines.
Queensland’s Garden City – Toowoomba, has more than 150 public parks and gardens. In spring the gardens are a kaleidescope of colour which the city celebrates with the Carnival of Flowers, held annually in September.
Toowoomba’s colonial history traces back to 1816 when English botanist and explorer Allan Cunningham arrived in Australia from Brazil. In June 1827 he discovered 16,000 square km of rich farming and grazing land bordered on the east by the Great Dividing Range. Thirteen years later, George and Patrick Leslie established Toolburra Station 90km south-west of Toowoomba and the first settlers arrived on the Darling Downs. They built a township of bark-slab shops called The Springs which was soon renamed Drayton.
Towards the end of the 1840’s, the small township had its own newspaper, general store and trading post. The Royal Bull’s Head Inn, built by William Horton, dates from that period and still stands to this day. Even though Horton was not the first to live there, he is considered to be the true founder of Toowoomba. Toowoomba was growing rapidly by 1858, with a population totalling 700, three hotels and many stores. In 1860 a new municipality was proclaimed.
Points of interest
The Cobb and Co. Musuem in lindsay Street has an outstanding collection of horse-drawn vehicles and showcases the natural and cultural highlights of Toowoomba and the Darling Downs.
The Milne Bay Military Museum, located on the corner of O’Quinn Street and Anzac Ave is housed in a former Drill Hall built before WWI and displays the history of the Australian Armed Forces, especially the connection with it and our local community.
The Empire Theatre dating back to 1933, is Toowoomba’s premier stage and music venue. A theatre originally, it was opened on the site in June 1911 as a silent movie house. In 1933 a fire broke out and almost completely destroyed the building. The Empire was however rebuilt and then reopened in November 1933. After many years of neglect the Empire was extensively renovated in the late 1990’s, but retains much of its Art Deco architecture and decorations, especially the proscenium arch. Able to seat 2,400 people, the Empire Theatre is now the largest regional theatre in Australia.