East Toowoomba - Queens Park and Botanic Gardens

Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 15:00

Address: 43 Lindsay Street, East Toowoomba QLD 4350

 

Queens Park Entry signage. Beautiful golden sunlight peaking through the autumn leaves.A stroll through the State Heritage-listed Queens Park and Botanic Gardens is an absolute must for any visitor to the Garden City.

Set across more than 25 picturesque hectares, the parkland has been enjoyed by generations of locals and regional visitors since it first opened to the public in the late 1800s. 

From tree-lined avenues and woodlands to open space sporting ovals, all-abilities playgrounds, and barbecue and picnic facilities, the parkland has lots to offer across three distinct areas, namely Queens Park Botanic Gardens, Vera Lacaze Memorial Park and Queens Park's greater park area.

A variety of community activities and annual events are also hosted at Queens Park and Botanic Gardens with Toowoomba's internationally renowned Carnival of Flowers and its signature Flower, Food and Wine Festival leading the way.

A beautiful calm space where nature showcases its seasonal offerings, alongside the city's bustling CBD

In spring and summer, riotous colour spots garden beds in a shout-out to the warmer weather, while autumn obliges with its own radiant show. Dollops of red and orange swirl across the landscape as the leaves of giant deciduous trees transform and fall, laying a textured, multi-coloured carpet underneath.

During winter the parklands rest against a predominantly evergreen backdrop fringed by manicured hedges and edges, and other feature specimens.

 

 

Queens Park and Botanic Gardens showcase an awe-inspiring garden collection of seasonal plants, set against a lush backdrop of extensive lawns and shrubs, and majestic avenues of towering trees.

Each year, thousands of seedlings are planted in attractive geometric-shaped garden beds to ensure their blooms peak in time for the Carnival of Flowers. 

 Queens Park Botanic Gardens during Carnival of Flowers. Colourful floral garden beds surrounding the memorial statue centrepiece.

The Alfred Thomas memorial

The Alfred Thomas Memorial is located near the gardens' centre. Named after a prominent local figure in the development of railways in the Region, the monument holds social and historical significance.

Alfred Thomas was the supervising engineer at the Southern and Western Railway in the 1870s. He lived in Toowoomba with his family who were highly respected and valued members of the community. Following his retirement from civil service in 1879, Mr Thomas built the railways south to Stanthorpe and west from Warwick in partnership with John Garget.

Setting out on a return trip home from Sydney via ship, Mr Thomas tragically fell overboard in Sydney Harbour on 10 August 1882 and drowned. His body was later returned to Toowoomba and laid to rest at Drayton Cemetery. On hearing of Mr Thomas' death, Mr W H Groom headed up a committee of citizens who decided to build a permanent memorial in Mr Thomas' honour. 

Today, The Alfred Thomas Memorial is surrounded by sprawling lawns, mature trees and decorative garden beds.

Aerial shot of the Queens Park botanic gardens memorial surrounded by flowers landscaped into stunning patterns.

Naval cannon

A key feature within the Botanic Gardens is the vintage Naval cannon located near the Alfred Thomas memorial, facing Campbell Street. It was donated to the people of Toowoomba in early 1911, after its removal from the Marine Defence Force Naval Store, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane.

The wrought iron muzzle-loading, rifled gun 64-Pdr., 64Cwt., Mark III, had been used for training purposes. 

Queens Park botanic gardens vintage naval cannon

Emma Miller memorial plaque

Another point of interest in the gardens is the Emma Miller Memorial Plaque. It's located just off the pathway to the southwest of the Alfred Thomas Memorial.

Emma Miller (1839 - 1917) was a suffragist and is often recognised as the Mother of the Labour movement. Her memorial plaque reveals that she, "advocated involvement in the working and political conditions not only of women, but also of men".

Emma Miller gave her last public speech in the Toowoomba Botanic Gardens on 20 January 1917. She died two days later while in Toowoomba.

Stone entrance arch

Queens Park botanic gardens stone archway and path lined with purple and white flowers.

Other features of the park's built environment are a pair of National Bank columns, donated by the National Bank of Australia in 1987, and a stone entrance arch. Positioned off Lindsay Street, the sandstone arch was completed as part of a Council upgrade of the gardens in August 1987. 

Entry to the parkland was traditionally via Campbell Street. This was mainly due to the original Toowoomba Showgrounds being sited across the road.

Horticultural hubs

Queens Park Botanic Gardens Paterre Garden

Specific horticultural hubs have been developed within the greater garden area including:

  • ornamental display gardens of annuals, perennials and bulbs
  • Carnival of Flowers commemorative garden
  • endemic garden (local natives)
  • rose walk
  • camellia garden
  • parterre garden
  • cycad garden
  • palm garden

The Botanic Gardens are also home to a Wollemi Pine.

Godsall Street ovals 

The Godsall Street ovals are a popular spot for various sports, including summer cricket. For the convenience of visitors, public toilets are located in this area.

Queens Park cricket pitch. Group of cricketers walking off the field towards a row of large shady trees.

Margaret Street - children's play area

An extensive children's play area sits adjacent to Margaret Street and features a range of equipment for all ages including a flying fox, hamster wheel, an imaginative play area for young children, swings and the centrepiece seven-metre-high giant tower where children can climb and slide to their hearts' content. A large shelter, picnic tables, barbecues and seats are scattered throughout with a modern amenities block including parent and disabled facilities conveniently located close-by. There's also an open space football field to the north-east of the play area. 

Queens Park Margaret Street playground. Photo of the large climbing structure including a rope web with a cubby at the top and adjoining suspension bridge and huge slide. Playground surrounded by lush green trees and grass.

Lindsay Street - all abilities playground

An all-abilities playground is located near the car parking area off Lindsay Street and is accessed by interlinking pathways. The play area features a Liberty swing which caters for children and adults using wheelchairs and a cozy dome that has various textures on the outer surface to create a great climbing experience for children. The playground also includes a toddler swing, an inclusive orbit accessible rotating platform and the rhapsody grandioso chimes where everyone can make their own music.

Other features include picnic tables and barbecues along with a modern amenities block. The adjoining football field provides the perfect space to kick the footy around.

Queens Park Lindsay Street playground. Modern play equipment shaded by beautiful leafy green trees.

Lindsay Street - Petanque/Bocce court

The Petanque/Bocce court, located near the Lindsay Street toilet building and horse-shoe designed carpark, can be identified by its granite surface and concrete edging. 

Historical features

  • Richard Ross Harding commemorative avenue of camphor laurel trees to commemorate Harding's work in the establishment of Queen's Park and the Botanic Gardens from 1883 to 1913. The trees were planted by Harding in 1885, running north-south from Margaret Street to Campbell Street.
  • William Charles Peak memorial drinking fountain established to recognise this prominent businessman's service to the community. Erected in 1936 on the corner of Margaret and Lindsay Streets
  • heritage steamroller located in the Margaret Street playground.
  • former parks superintendents house now home to Toowoomba Historical Society. Located on Lindsay Street beside the botanic gardens.

Discover more about the history of Queens Park below or explore the area by foot with our Queens Park and surrounds historic walk

Use areas:

  • Lindsay Street ovals - used for sport and events
  • Godsall Street ovals - used for sport and events
  • Frogs Hollow - used for sport and events
  • dog off-leash area - located near Godsall Street
  • Lindsay Street all abilities playground and barbecue area
  • Margaret Street playground and barbecue area
  • amphitheatre

The Vera Lacaze Memorial Park is the formal entrance to Queens Park from the CBD via Margaret and Hume Streets. This park is named in tribute to Vera Elizabeth Lacaze who was the first woman alderman in the Toowoomba City Council. The park features a water fountain, paths and picnic facilities. 

The modernist landscape design was laid out in 1964, possibly to the design of Mr Arne Fink, a local Landscape Architect, associated with Toowoomba gardens at that time. The sweep of the main concrete path with central garden bed, and 1960's modern light fittings provided a well-considered promenade in this corner of Queens Park. The distinctive fountains of graded sizes and the bridge over East Creek with stylish balustrades provides distinctive design elements to this pocket-park.

Vera Lacaze Memorial Park features:

  • Historical features – site of the former municipal swimming baths (1894 - 1964), fountains, bridge over East Creek
  • Other features of interest – ornamental display gardens and entrance to Queens Park from Toowoomba CBD

queensparkveralacazebridge

Wooden bench seat shaded by the canopy of large trees in the Queens Park off lease dog area

The dog off-leash area is a popular location for animal owners.

Located near the Godsall Street entry to Queens Park, the off-leash area features seating and picnic tables and the many trees provide a nice shaded area to relax and exercise your dog. For the convenience of the public, there are drinking fountains, dog water bowls, bins with bag dispensers and pathways.  

The unfenced dog off-leash area is designated by signage and gardens.

Queens Park dog off leash map

Queens Park map

Background

During the reign of Queen Victoria, it was customary for the colonial government to grant land for a 'Queen’s' park.

In 1861, the municipal council was granted land where the Grammar School is now located but by 1871 it was exchanged for the present site (Government Camping Ground Reserve). This parcel of land had been used for grazing and was studded with deep holes made by brick makers. In 1872, Mayor W.H. Groom was instrumental in obtaining grants to fence the area and establish a botanical garden.

Queens Park (greater area) history

Queens Park Second Curator / Avenue of Trees

Richard Ross Harding (1848 – 1922), the second park curator (1883 – 1917), was responsible for drafting a new plan for Queens Park and the Botanic Gardens, having opened a section to the public in 1885. In 1888 Mr Harding undertook an extensive tree and garden program and planted avenues such as this of Camphor Laurel (Cinnamomum camphora). He was also renowned for the colourful flower displays in the Botanic Gardens.

queensparktreesavenue professionalsmall

William Charles Peak Memorial

This memorial was erected by the Toowoomba citizens as an appreciation of service rendered to Toowoomba and Districts by William Charles Peak on the 8th of August 1936.

Steamroller

This Buffalo-Springfield steamroller was manufactured by the Buffalo-Springfield Roller Company in Springfield, Ohio, U.S.A in the second decade of the twentieth century. The Toowoomba City Council purchased it in 1937 from the contracting firm W.B. Carr of South Brisbane. At the time of purchase, the machine was overhauled and it remained in active service until 1956 with nothing more than routine maintenance. Due to its historical significance, we discourage play or climbing on the artefact. There is purpose-built children's play equipment in close proximity for play activities. 

Historical Cypress Avenue

The Cypress Avenue, planted in an unusual diagonal direction in the early twentieth century, remains partly evident today. The trees are predominantly Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) native to the Central Coast of California.  An avenue of trees originally planted in 1875 creates broad avenues throughout the park.

Frog's Hollow

Known locally as "Frog's Hollow", the sweeping expanse of grassed ovals near the corner of Hume and Margaret Streets makes an ideal venue for large community events. With its close proximity to the Toowoomba CBD, the area is popular for fundraising activities and static displays such as circuses. Public toilets are located in this area adjacent to Margaret Street.

Frog's Hollow is recorded as being where the Alford family, on their way to Drayton, came in contact with Aboriginal Australians in 1842. Later the Eastern Swamp became the official camping ground for travellers and teamsters and a brick-making place. On Boxing Day 1859, horse races were run, the first with a purse of 12 pounds and entrance of one pound. In 1914 Junior Cricket was played in “Frogs Hollow”, in 1918 – 1921 its name was sometimes written as “Frog Hollow”. The name continues today.

queensparkfrogshollowdisplayandcricketgame

Queens Park Botanic Gardens history

Queens Park's First Curator

Edward Way (1825 – 1881), was appointed the first curator of Toowoomba’s Botanic Gardens (Queens Park) in 1874. Trained in London, he implemented work to clear unreclaimed bush and designed and laid out the gardens. In the park’s northeast, he experimented with exotic fruits, trees, fodder crops and grasses. Under the direction of the Commission on Diseases of Animals and Plants, his whole-hearted effort greatly benefitted agriculture in the Region.

Alfred Thomas Memorial

The Alfred Thomas Memorial is historically and socially significant as it commemorates a prominent figure in the development of the local railway in the Toowoomba Region in the last quarter of the Nineteenth Century. The memorial is located in the Botanic Gardens of Toowoomba and it dominates the area in which it stands. In an attractive setting, the Alfred Thomas Memorial is surrounded by garden beds and landscaped grounds.

Naval Cannon

This canon - a Wrought Iron Muzzle-Loading Rifled Gun, 64-Pdr., 64Cwt., Mark III. - was donated to the people of Toowoomba early in 1911 after removal from the Marine Defence Force Naval Store, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, where it had been used for training purposes.

Emma Miller Memorial plaque

Emma Miller (1839-1917) was a suffragist, Union Organiser and Champion of the Rights of Man with a memorial erected in her honour.

National Bank Columns

These columns were erected in the park as a donation from the National Bank of Australia in 1987.

Stone Entrance Arch

In August 1987, this sandstone formal entry arch was completed. It was somewhat controversial at the time but was part of a Council upgrade of the gardens, promoted by Alderman Knight. The traditional park entry is the Campbell Street frontage, this was primarily due to the original showgrounds being located on land where the Cobb & Co Museum and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) Queensland South West campus are now located.

Queens Park facilities and recreational areas have been undergoing staged improvement works, with stages 1 to 6 completed and stage 7 works currently in progress. Stage 7 works include the construction of new amenities facilities, upgrades to the Vera Lacaze Park area and further access and lighting improvements within the park.

For more information, please visit the Queens Park upgrades article.

 

Features

Playground
Playground all ability
BBQ
Picnic tables
Shelter
Toilets
Cricket
Football
Dogs off leash
Gardens
Walking
Memorial
Water feature
Parking
Drinking water

Map