The Toowoomba heritage self-drive tour is a shared history of our Region, embracing Toowoomba's past and our Indigenous beginnings.

It is a compilation of historical landmarks and iconic locations - some entered in the Queensland Heritage Register, a number locally listed and others considered to be of local cultural significance. All chosen for the enjoyment and education of residents and visitors.

Work on this book first began in the 1990s when Toowoomba historians wrote 'Walking Tours', which was designed to raise heritage awareness of the most vulnerable places considered worthy of protection because of their cultural importance. Council later became involved, incorporating feedback provided to us by our Heritage Advisory Committee. The booklet now contains additional places to those featured in the original walking tour brochures.

Explore the heritage self-drive tour locations.

View the historic Toowoomba City walks.

A brief history of the Toowoomba Region

For over 65,000 years, our First People, the - Giabal and Jarowair - occupied this area. The Giabal occupied the area around the present Toowoomba while the Jarowair hosted the Bunya Festival, usually held every three years. The lush grasslands contributed to a rich indigenous food cycle. Smoke from their periodic burning attracted European explorers such as Allan Cunningham.

In 1827 Allan Cunnigham travelled from the New England District and named a portion of the area ‘Darling Downs’, a name which was later applied to the whole region. The splendid pastures led to white occupation as squatters took up vast areas as pastoral runs, grazing hundreds of thousands of sheep which caused the eventual dispossession of the Indigenous peoples.

In 1842, Thomas Alford and his family became lost in the swamps, later to be Toowoomba’s East and West Creeks. Over three days while trying to find a way through, they noticed the Aboriginal hunting and cooking techniques used for their catches of fish and ducks. Eventually, the Alfords established a home and store, which they named Drayton after Thomas Alford’s English birthplace. The small village that grew around them suffered a water shortage, so the Alfords moved back to the swamps and first used the name, ‘Toowoomba’.

Toowoomba became an important centre but transport to Brisbane was a problem due to the steep eastern escarpment until the opening of the Toll Bar Road in 1855. The arrival of the railway in 1867 provided a better link to the coast and confirmed Toowoomba as the chief urban centre of the Downs. In the late 19th century, the squatters were replaced by immigrant selectors who successfully introduced agriculture and dairying, prompting an early European poet to describe the Downs as ‘The Garden of Queensland’.

Toowoomba’s prominence was maintained with its first Council elected in 1861 and in 1904 being declared a city.

Using the self-drive tour 

The Toowoomba heritage self-drive tour is divided into four geographic sections, each with its own map and index.

Each heritage site is shown by a number on the map. More detailed information on each site can be found by using the drop-down tabs below.

The following symbols identify:

Icon symbolising toilets available Toilets           

Icon symbolising state heritage listingState Heritage Listing

Icon symbolising local heritage listingLocal Heritage Listing   

Icon symbolising national trust listingNational Trust Listing 

Icon symbolising limited visionLimited Vision             

Icon symbolising limited parkingLimited Parking

Toowoomba heritage drive tour map of four geographic sections including north east, north west, south west, south east

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South west

Map of the Toowoomba Region heritage self-drive tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Male and female toilets symbol

 

 

Location: Regent Street, Darling Heights  

One of the most peaceful and beautiful parks in Toowoomba is the University of Southern Queensland's Japanese Garden. 

Ju Raku En (rough translation means 'to enjoy peace and longevity in a public place') was opened on 21 April 1989, but it is still a comparatively young garden and it will take many years for it to be considered complete.

Japanese gardens emphasise the use of rocks to create three-dimensional pictures in stone. All the large rocks in Ju Raku En were accurately placed by the designer of the garden, Professor Kinsaku Nakane of Kyoto, so as to appear naturally dispersed in a random way.

Ju Raku En is more than just a group of rocks stitched together by water and artificially created hills and forests. It is actually a presentation of a Buddhist paradise with the celestial sea (the lake) lapping the rocky shores of the three islands where the immortals are said to dwell. The material world is the outer edge of the lake and a symbolic journey to paradise may be made by crossing one of the four bridges to the islands.

Photo overlooking the lake at Japanese Gardens. Orange japanese-style curved bridge in the distance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

symbol to represent state heritage listing

 

 

Location: West Street, Darling Heights (alongside the entrance to the University of Southern Queensland)

The symbol of these gardens – the Gumbi Gumbi (Pittosporum angustifolium)  – was introduced to Toowoomba from further west as a multi-purpose medicine by Joyce and Walter McCarthy. It represents knowledge, growth and healing.

These gardens tell the story of the growth journey we all take - learning from our past to inform our future. It is a story of mutual dependence, of walking and growing together and of confidence in the future.

 

gumbi gumbi gardens plaque and sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location: Corner of West and Nelson Streets, Toowoomba.

In 1860 there were three large farms facing the present Baker Street. In order from the Chestnut tree they were, John Handley’s Paradise Farm, William Peak’s Penzance and Christoph Donges’ Lake Farm.

All these men and later descendants were active in the community, serving on the Drayton Council and other local bodies. The English chestnut tree is the sole survivor of an avenue planted by John Handley leading to his homestead.

 

handley chestnut tree plaque

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location: 82-84 Luck Street, Darling Heights 

Thiess park is dedicated to the memory of the Thiess family, early settlers of Drayton, and in particular Sir Leslie Thiess. Born at Drayton in 1909, he and his brothers used machinery for contract work on local farms. This led to earthmoving work with the Main Roads Commission and in 1939 the firm Thiess Brothers was formed.

Over the years, Theiss Brothers became synonymous with major engineering contracts at State, National and International levels and through the development of open-cut coal mines.

Leslie was knighted in 1971 and died in 1992.

 

thiess park sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location: Corner of Brisbane and Luck Streets, Drayton

The Drayton and District Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial was unveiled on 28 June 1924. Crafted in Helidon Sandstone, it was dedicated to local men who gave their lives in the First World War and whose names appear on the marble tablet facing the entrance.

Names of locals who gave their lives in later wars were added on an extra tablet and one on a separate plaque in the garden.

 

drayton soldiers memorial park entrance arch and memorial statue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Icon symbolising state heritage listingIcon symbolising national trust listing

 

 

Location: 59 Brisbane Street, Drayton

In 1847 an inn was built by William Horton, formerly head stockman for Henry Stuart Russell on Cecil Plains Station. 

The name was in memory of Russell's prize bull. The inn became an important place for meetings and other social functions. On 20 August 1848, Rev. Benjamin Glennie conducted the first Church of England service on the Downs at the inn. In 1858, after building an inn in the nearby swamp, later Toowoomba, Horton moved back to the Bull’s Head Inn and substantially rebuilt it.

Then regarded as the best inn on the Downs, it was ready to accommodate Queensland’s new Governor, Sir George Bowen in 1860.

From that time, ‘Royal’ was added to the name. Following Horton’s death in 1864, the inn had a succession of licensees but its importance declined as Toowoomba increased in prominence.

Until 1952, the building was used as the Drayton Post Office and a private residence by the Lynch family who renamed it 'The Terrace'.

In 1973 the National Trust acquired the building and continues to conduct restoration work and archaeological investigations.

 

Historical black and white photo of Bull's Head Inn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location: Corner of Darling and Brisbane Streets, Drayton 

This neat basalt cairn is a memorial to Arthur Hoey Davis (the son of Thomas Davis, a blacksmith and his wife Mary) who, as ‘Steele Rudd’, wrote popular tales of early Australian settlement such as 'On Our Selection'.

The cairn stands on the site of the home where he was born. The family later moved to the Greenmount area where they lived on the celebrated selection.

The monument was unveiled by Queensland University Professor of English, JJ Stable on Sunday 19 November 1950.

 

Steele Rudd stone monument

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Icon symbolising local heritage listing

 

 

Location: Corner of Rudd and Cambooya Streets, Drayton

This cairn surmounted by a cross commemorates the work of pioneer clergyman Rev Benjamin Glennie, the first Anglican clergyman appointed permanently to the Downs. 

On Sunday 31 July 1914 at a thanksgiving service held in St Matthew’s Church, Rev EH Smith referred to Glennie as a ‘man of vision who carried out his duties with courage and determination'. Later that day the cairn was unveiled by the Chairman of the Drayton Shire Council, Councillor Wuth and dedicated by Archdeacon Glover. In his address Archdeacon Glover reminded those present, numbering around 500, that the monument was located on the site of the first St Matthew’s Church.

 

benjamin glennie memorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location: 552 - 570 Anzac Ave, Drayton

The land on which the Jack Martin Centre stands was owned, controlled and managed by the Jarowair and Giabal peoples until the 1840s. The title was held by the Queensland State Government from 1863 until 1982 when it was transferred to the West Wanderers Soccer Club.

In the 1980s local Aboriginal Elder Uncle Darby McCarthy OAM travelled to Canberra and met with the late Charles Perkins, the then Secretary of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Darby lobbied the Federal Department for a community centre and base, a space for recreation and cultural activities for the local community.

In 1988 the building and land were transferred into the ownership of the Downs Aborigines and Islanders Company as Trustee. The centre was named after the late Jack Martin who played a prominent role in establishing local Aboriginal rights and welfare organisations on the Darling Downs.

Today the centre remains a focal point for community activities and cultural celebrations. On a weekly basis, community development and youth activities take place and the centre is the venue for an annual football carnival.

 

jack martin centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Icon symbolising state heritage listing

 

 

Location: 45 Beatrice Street, Drayton

St Matthew’s Church of England is a small bluestone church constructed in 1886 - 1887 to the design of James Marks. It's complemented by a timber hall built in 1913 and a rectory built in 1902 - 1903, both of which were moved to the site in 1930.

The church site is part of a continuing tradition of Anglican worship during the first years of settlement on the Darling Downs. The energetic Reverend Benjamin Glennie held his first service in the parlour of the Bull’s Head Inn in 1848 and later arranged for a parsonage to be constructed. Glennie envisaged four churches, each dedicated to one of the evangelists, in four major Darling Downs towns. This he eventually accomplished with St Luke’s in Toowoomba, St Mark’s in Warwick, St John’s in Dalby and St Matthew’s in Drayton. 

The first St Matthew’s Church turned out to be too small for the congregation, and a larger sturdier church of local bluestone was designed by James Marks and constructed on a hilltop site. It had a timber chancel to reduce costs and a sandstone bell turret was placed on the porch of the church to accommodate the heavier bell purchased in 1880. By 1910 it was clear that the weight of the turret and bell were causing structural damage and the bell was relocated to a free-standing belltower that is still present today.

In 1933, the old timber chancel was replaced by a bluestone one as intended.

The first st matthews church draytonst matthews church drayton historical black and white photo

Icon to symbolise toilets available

 

 

Location: 16 Cambooya Street, Drayton

Since formation in 2001, DownsSteam has established an active railway precinct on the former Drayton sidings, acquiring a large rolling stock fleet including:

  • steam locomotive No. 106 “Pride of Toowoomba”
  • “Drayton Bell” diesel loco
  • “Gatsby Flyer” railmotor
  • Brisbane Suburban Set 49
  • 11 M-Class Air-Conditioned “Lander” coaches.

DownsSteam is a community-based, solely volunteer-run organisation dedicated to the establishment of a tourist railway for the Darling Downs region. 

DownsSteam was formed to enable the preservation and active restoration of the last remaining steam locomotive built at the historic Toowoomba Foundry Company, C16-106 Southern Cross Works No. 28 circa 1914.

Downssteam historical image of engineDownssteam mural

Icon symbolising state heritage listing

 

 

Location: 8 Panda Street, Toowoomba.

Smithfield House was designed by James Marks and Son for James Taylor, a former squatter, Member of Parliament and Mayor of Toowoomba. The house was built by Harry Andrews in 1895 on 300 acres (121 ha.) bordering Toowoomba and Drayton.

The house is a single-storey building of imported English sandstone with local bluestone foundations. Bluestone blocks are included in the external walls and the building has a complex corrugated iron roof structure with four prominent sandstone chimneys.

James Taylor died in 1895 and the first occupant was Oscar Flemmich, variously described as a German industrialist and an Austrian nobleman. After building extensive stables he departed during WWI, probably because of local anti-German feeling.

During the Second World War, the house was purchased by the Anglican Church for use as The Glennie School. The house was extensively vandalised after the property was sold for subdivision in 1966. In 1974 and after major renovations, it was opened as a restaurant in 1975.

Today Smithfield House has returned to private ownership.

 

Black and white historic photo of smithfield houseRecent photo of smithfield homestead

Icon symbolising toilets

Icon symbolising state heritage listing

 

 

Located: 452 South Street, Harristown

The first survey of Drayton in 1850 identified this area as the site for the first official burial ground. Still in use, the Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery contains more than 45,000 burials including many well known local personalities. There are also examples of outstanding cemetery sculpture.

The Toowoomba Tombstone Trails brochure has more information including self-directed walks.

Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Icon symbolising local heritage listing

 

 

Location: 452 South Street, Harristown

The Toowoomba and Darling Downs Family History Society was formed to help people research their family's past.

Details of past generations can be gleaned from the many records held in the society’s library. These records are found on all forms of media – books, fiche, microfilm and computers and include electoral rolls from all states as well as government and police gazettes. The master indexes include a general index, cemetery index, newspaper index and school pupils index. 

The building with houses the society was originally the Drayton Post Office which was located on the corner of Drayton Road and Alderley Street.

 

Toowoomba darling downs family historic society

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Location: 341-367 South Street, Harristown.

Established in 1955, Harristown State High School was State Heritage listed in 2016 as demonstrating the evolution of state education and its associated architecture. Of particular interest is the original administration building which is partially constructed of bluestone.

Other buildings on the site demonstrate examples of prevalent government designs in line with the educational philosophies of different eras.

harristown state high school circa 1955harristown state high school bluestone constructed original administration building

Icon symbolising state heritage listing

 

 

Location: 154 Stephen Street, Harristown.

Redlands was originally built on about 28 acres (11 ha.) of land for store owner Edmund Wilcox in 1899. Designed by James Marks, this stately two-storey building displays wide verandahs, cast-iron lace work, lead light panelling and twin chimney stacks. This was the first major contract for Harry Andrews who also built St. Luke’s Hall and other fine Toowoomba buildings.

A local newspaper described Redlands as both beautiful and modern with a bathroom replete with scientific improvements such as a Jenning’s patent WC. After successive owners Dr Alex Horn and Edward Farmer, the property was sold in 1944 to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia and became the Concordia Memorial College which opened on 17 February 1946 with 27 students.

In 2007 the college amalgamated with two local Lutheran primary schools to become Concordia Lutheran College.

Photo of historical redlands which later became Concordia Lutheran Collegeredlands concordia historical black and white photo

Location: 16 Cambooya Street, Drayton

Some two years before the first train reached Toowoomba in 1867, official requests were made to the Colonial Government for the line to continue through Drayton to Wyreema. These were ignored and the line passed west to Dalby and south to Warwick via Gowrie Junction. Agitation continued for an extra line, now called the Drayton Deviation, and eventually the first sod was turned on 20 April 1914.

The line was completed in a relatively short time considering the equipment available. There were celebrations as the locomotive Lady Macgregor steamed into Drayton Railway Station breaking a blue ribbon with ‘Drayton Deviation 15/5/15’ printed on it.

historical photo of a mail train on drayton deviationHistorical photo of first first train on the drayton deviation

 

North west

North west Toowoomba heritage self-drive tour map

 

 

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Location: 246 Herries Street, Newtown.

Miss Grace Lawrance, headmistress from when the school opened in 1910, set up a fund and soon had raised enough to begin building a chapel on the grounds.

The Glennie School Chapel of St Alban was consecrated in December 1917 by Archbishop Donaldson. Architect William Hodgen designed the building which was built by Harry Andrews. The original altar remains, hand-decorated with ‘poker-work’ by past teacher Miss Ray Black and student Marjorie Dawes. ‘Arts and Crafts’ motifs enhance the panelled silky-oak interior.

Increased enrolments meant that extensions to the original building were needed and these were carried out in 1928, again designed by Hodgen and remaining faithful to the original.

Miss Lawrance retired in 1925 and a stained glass window was installed in her honour. Subsequent heads of school and events in Glennie School’s history have been similarly recognised.

Glennie chapel historical photohorses at mcphies saleyards toowoomba c1936

Location: 

  • Drovers' Rest Park: corner of Anzac Avenue and Holberton Street and Hursley Road, Toowoomba
  • McPhie Park: 2A Allenby Street, Newtown

Both the Drovers’ Rest in Anzac Avenue and McPhie Park in Allenby Street are reminders that this area of Newtown was once the location of Toowoomba’s largest saleyards. Early saleyards such as Robinson’s Tattersall’s Horse Bazaar, opposite the Tattersall’s Hotel, and Doneley and Rogers’ Saleyards, where Duggan Street now meets Margaret Street, are examples of early yards providing for rural industries.

McPhie and Co, established in 1889 as Bacon and Co, was taken over by Alex McPhie in 1896. Within three years, with agencies in Longreach and Hughenden, he was selling one million sheep and 500,000 cattle. In May 1906, McPhie erected new saleyards near this site and was soon conducting the largest annual horse sales in Australia. In 1946 the saleyards were moved to Harristown and the area subdivided for residential development.

 

Icon symbolising local heritage listing

 

 

Location: 65 Anzac Avenue, Newtown

The Newtown Picture Theatre was built by Neville and Shirley Andrews in 1954. Neville developed projectionist skills by working in the Sunshine Coast area in his youth and by 1947, bought a picture business that operated in the Newtown Hall on the corner of Clairmont and Rome Streets. He conducted three screenings a week—Friday and Saturday nights as well as a matinee on Saturday. 

By 1952, Neville and Shirley married and the business increased to four nights a week. They felt that a new theatre could operate successfully in the Newtown area and obtained property near a major Newtown intersection formerly owned by the Cousins family. Designed by architect Mal Just, and built by Cam Brown, the new venue was opened on 5th April 1954. 'I Shall Return' starring Tyronne Power was the first film shown with new RCA projection and sound equipment.

The building was considerably larger than the old Newtown Hall and seated approximately 700 patrons. The sloping floor accommodated canvas layback seats with washable cloth headrests. In 1955, The Downs Star reported that twenty thousand pounds had been spent on the installation of a screen that could accommodate modern cinemascope and vista vision pictures as well as the provision of central heating and a crying room.

During the late 1950s, television was introduced in Queensland and attendances dropped. There was also competition from a new drive-in picture show and three picture theatres in the city business district. Subsequently, the floor was made flat to accommodate roller skating during the 1960s. 

In recent times, the building has been used as a gymnasium.

Former newtown cinema presently housing Smithy's gym

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Icon symbolising state heritage listing

 

 

Location: 24 Anzac Avenue, Newtown.

This L-shaped house was designed by William Hodgen and built in 1907 for Longreach pastoralist Andrew Crombie and his wife, Ellen.  Mrs Crombie was the niece and adopted daughter of Sir Richard Dry, an Irish patriot who was sentenced to banishment for life following the rising of 1798.  His home near Launceston was named Elphin after his former home in Ireland.

The Crombies married in 1874 and in 1882 with partners, purchased Strathdarr Station near Longreach. Later Mr Crombie would describe aspects of their life there in his book ‘After Sixty years or Recollections of an Australian Bushman’. He was instrumental in forming the first Graziers’ Association in Queensland and served on the Aramac Divisional Board.

Both Andrew and his wife died in 1935 and are buried in the Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery. In the years they lived at Elphin it was the centre of much social activity including Mrs Crombie’s popular ‘at homes’. Later owners included bottle merchant Jim Busby who used the extensive back yard for his business.

During WWII, frequent social events were held at Elphin House for visiting American servicemen. One report has the famous singer Gladys Moncrieff giving a concert there for the troops. The house was later converted into four flats and became a rental property after Jim Busby died in 1953.  His son Ernest continued his father’s business which was sold just prior to his death in 1985. In 1993 Elphin was selected for the Heritage Building Society’s calendar.

Historical black and white photo of elphin house built in 1907.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Icon symbolising toilets availableIcon symbolising state heritage listing

 

 

Location: 50 Hill Street, Toowoomba City

Toowoomba businessman Samuel George Stephens over a 30 year period, funded the development of gardens containing flowers, shrubs and trees, carefully selected from many parts of the world. He called the area Laurel Bank and in 1932 donated it to the Council as a public park.

Two croquet lawns were prepared by unemployed men during the depression and in 1934 the West Street ornamental gates, acknowledging the gift of Mr Stephens, were formally opened. One WWII hut constructed on the site for American servicemen’s R&R remains in use as a hall.

The addition of a scented garden for the visually impaired in 1980, enhances this park as a popular Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers venue.

laurel bank laurel bank laurel bank

Icon symbolising state heritage listing

 

 

Location: 129 West Street, Toowoomba City

The foundation stone of this building was laid on 26 February 1899 by Archbishop Robert Dunne. The architect, William Hodgen, and his brother Robert won the contract for constructing the building at a price of £2100. The design, described as ‘an ornament to the architecture of the town’ was to accommodate rooms for four Christian Brothers and four classrooms. It was the only building on the site until 1920 and required repairs following fire damage to the south-west corner in 1919.

The residence and classrooms were blessed and opened on 1 October 1899 by Archbishop Dunne, assisted by Father Denis Fouhy. Special trains ran from Pittsworth and other centres for the occasion. A procession including pupils of the Sister of Mercy and members of the Hibernian Society marched from Ruthven Street to the school, greeted by a large crowd.

Dignitaries present included William Henry Groom, John Fogarty M.L.A., Dr and Mrs Aeneas McDonnell, priests from other districts and Brother J.H. Hurley, the first Principal of St Mary’s. In his address, the Archbishop noted the support given by many non-Catholics including both the architect and contractor and Mr W.B Taylor who sold them the land for half its value plus a donation of £50.

The building fell out of use after the last Brothers left the college, but extensive renovations were undertaken in 2010 restoring many of the original features. Today it is the main administration building of St Mary's College, with the principal’s office and the original chapel still used by the students.

Historical black and white photo of brothers house st marys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Icon symbolising local heritage listing

 

 

Location: 38 Taylor Street, Newtown

St Ursula’s College was established in 1931 using Kerrilaw, the former home of Mrs William Hogarth, as a boarding house, convent and school. The Hogarths were early graziers on the Darling Downs and introduced Angus cattle to the Region. They also had extensive holdings west of Winton and in the Augathella area.

Photo of kerrielaw at st ursulas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Icon symbolising state heritage listing

 

 

Location: 7 Wirra Street, Newtown.

In 1908, Spreydon Girls’ College opened at 7 Wirra Street in a house designed for Robert Filshie by James Marks. This school subsequently became Fairholme College. In 1922, the southern portion of the house was removed to 30 Rome Street and later renamed Spreydon. The remaining part is called Oak Lodge.

Spreydon:

Spreydon

Oak Lodge:

oak lodge

Location: corner of Rome and Clairmont Streets, Newtown

From 1913 this community hall housed Council Chambers for the Town of Newtown which was incorporated into Greater Toowoomba in 1917. Newtown’s distinct local identity derives from its former town status.

Various progress associations have supported the retention, management, maintenance and extensions of the hall to maintain its viability. It was home to Newtown Indoor Bowls from 1932 to 2008, was a picture theatre and saw Army use in WWII. 

In the 1960s, floats for the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers were built inside the hall.

newtown hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Icon symbolising toilets are available

 

 

Location: 147 Taylor Street, Newtown

Originally owned by George Thorn of Ipswich and known as Thorn’s Paddock, Newtown was surveyed as town lots and offered for sale in 1865. In 1913, the town of Newtown was established and Newtown Park, purchased by the new Council, was formally opened in September of that year.

Today it houses the State Rose Garden and a number of military memorials including an animal memorial. Rose Cottage is one of the huts used by the United States sailors who came here for R&R during WWII. A number of historical images are displayed at the entry to the park from Holberton Street.

Newtown was amalgamated with the Toowoomba City Council in 1917.

Photo of newtown park in 1913

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Icon symbolising limited visionIcon symbolising state heritage listing

 

 

Location: 15 Newmarket Street, Newtown.

Originally named Tor, the house was built around 1876 by John Garget for Toowoomba businessman and Member of the Legislative Council, Frederick Holberton, whose store was on the north-west corner of Ruthven and Margaret Streets. In 1894, Tor was bought by William Beit who named it Ascot House - probably because of his interest in horse racing.

Around 1899, Harry Marks designed a two-storey extension with a large billiard room added to the original U-shaped house. Originally the house stood on 32 acres (13 ha.), and Beit was the first of successive owners to sell off portions of the grounds. In the early 1900s, Queensland Governor Lord Chelmsford spent summer vacations at Ascot House. 

During the Second World War, the house was used by the US Army as officers’ quarters and an operation centre. After the war, it remained unoccupied and was extensively vandalised until converted into nine flats. In 1984, with the grounds now reduced to less than an acre (0.4 ha), Ascot was purchased by Lois Jackman who has worked long and hard to restore this outstanding house.

Black and white photo of Ascot house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Location: 396 Tor Street, Newtown (alt 7 Devon Street)

This single-storey timber residence on bluestone foundations was built in 1904 for Mrs Sophia Holberton, wife of Frederick. The name is thought to come from Tor House, a stately home near Frederick’s birthplace in Devon. It's appropriate that a street of that name runs nearby.

The house was designed by Sophia’s nephew, William Hodgen and built by John Sweeney at a cost of £1148 ($2296). Aunt and nephew did not always agree on the design and at one stage Hodgen requested that someone else take over the supervision. The interior features of the home include pressed metal ceilings.

Frederick Holberton died in 1907 and in 1915 Sophia sold the house and built one in Campbell Street, again designed by her nephew.

In 1929, Tor was bought by Patrick Newman and his wife Mary, eldest daughter of the O’Brien family, owners of the Defiance Flour Mill. The Newmans had the Crown Hotel and he was a Councillor.

In recent times it has been the home of Deane and Helen Stahmann who introduced the pecan industry into Queensland.

Black and white photo of Tor house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Icon symbolising state heritage listing

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Location: 423 Tor Street, Newtown (corner of Tor Street and Higgins Street)

Designed by James Marks, this grand residence was built for Richard Scholefield in 1888. The original plans and specifications are held in Council’s Local History Library.

Scholefield had managed a number of stations before entering a partnership with Francis Gregory as stock and station agents in Russell Street (near the street which today bears his name). Set originally on 8 acres (3ha.), Weetwood, named after Scholefield’s home in England, cost about £2350 ($4700) and the owners shipped 21 cases of fine furniture and fittings from London.

Mr Scholefield held a number of positions with the Toowoomba Turf Club and the Weetwood Handicap held every March is named in his honour. He died in 1902, and members of the family continued to live there until WWII when the Army took over the home which served as headquarters for the Army Dispatch Corps.

A daughter of the family, Annie Marjorie, was an active member of many community organisations in Toowoomba, particularly the Queensland Country Women’s Association of which she was State Secretary and on a number of occasions having their meetings at Weetwood.

There have been a number of owners since the Scholefield’s left including Dr Henry (Harry) Ashton who moved there in 1954. In the 30 years his family lived there, many of the original fittings including the cedar doors, architraves and skirting boards were restored.

Black and white photo of Weetwood house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location: 37 Hursley Road, Newtown

In June 1859, the New South Wales Government granted 160 acres located between Toowoomba and Drayton as a Reserve for Public Recreation. Prior to this, both centres had held separate sporting events including horse racing. This was an attempt to reconcile the two, following heated controversy regarding which would be chosen as the first municipality.

The first race meeting on ‘the new course’ was held over three days in July 1862 with local identities John Watts, William Kent, J.C. White, Thomas Alford and William Handcock in official positions. Trophies were donated by William Henry Groom and William Horton.

In 1905 the name was changed to Clifford Park in honour of the late Hon. James Taylor of Clifford House, a former Turf Club Chairman. Golf and pigeon shooting was also carried out there and the course was used as a landing ground for aircraft, including the first to make a powered flight over Toowoomba in 1913.

Black and white photo of Clifford park race course

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location: Mutze Street, Wilsonton

In 1918, Toowoomba’s Pony and Galloway Club held regular race meetings at Werrington Park, later to be an aerodrome. In 1924, an application was made to have some horse racing at Clifford Park, but both horse racing and speed racing on motorbikes was held at Werrington Park. The city had no dedicated aerodrome at the time when famous aviator, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith landed safely at Clifford Park Racecourse. In 1926, QANTAS established an air service from Brisbane to Toowoomba following the purchase of a site at Werrington Park by the Commonwealth for £4000. Later, this was extended to become Toowoomba’s Airport. 

“A plaque in the carpark”

A plaque in the carpark at Toowoomba airport is dedicated to Air Vice-Marshall D.C.I. Bennett. Don Bennett was born in Toowoomba and was educated at Prep (now Toowoomba Anglican School) as well as the Brisbane Grammar School. During the 1930s, he joined the Royal Australian Air Force and transferred to the Royal Air Force in Britain. He was a highly skilled pilot and navigator and during WWII, successfully developing a system to fly military aircraft from their place of manufacture in the USA and Canada to England using inexperienced pilots.

He is most famous for his role as founder and leader of the Pathfinder Force. Aircraft from the Pathfinders led the main bomber group during night raids over Germany. Previous to this, bombing raids were only partly effective as many bombs didn’t land on target. Initially, the Pathfinder Force dropped markers near targets. Later more effective electronic aids were employed, and aircraft used were upgraded to Mosquitos and Lancaster bombers. Bennett was promoted to Air Vice-Marshall and led the Pathfinder Force until the end of the war. He achieved this rank at an age twenty years younger than most other officers at a similar level, largely because of his success leading the Pathfinder Force.

After the war, Bennett developed a sports car named the Fairthorpe after his Toowoomba home on the corner of West Street and Anzac Avenue.

Don Bennett memorial plaque don bennett car

Location: Tor Street across Holberton Street to North Street

Black Gully begins in the Wilsonton area and continues in a northeasterly direction to its confluence with Gowrie Creek near the intersection of North and Mort Streets. At the time of European settlement, it is thought there was a consistent stream making it suitable for industry. These were established near the Gowrie Creek end from the mid-nineteenth century.

The area was downstream from the township and outside the boundaries, so it was more suitable for “polluting” industries than places closer to the settlement. The first industry established was boiling down dead animals to produce tallow. Other early businesses included wool processing (wool scour) and a number of tanneries, one of which operated up until the 1990s.

Later, the maltings were established and a small brewery operated for a short time. Flour milling, a bacon factory, an ironworks making windmills, a soap factory, as well as livestock selling agents and associated sale yards all operated in the area.

When the western railway line was built, a number of sidings were established to transport products to and from the businesses operating in the area. A very well researched book “Black Gully (1840s -1914) The Manufacturing Centre of Toowoomba” by Diana J Beal gives much broader information about the area.

Black and white photo of Black Gully

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Location: 3 Gladstone Street, Newtown

Gladstone house and the adjacent cottage were designed by architect Harry Marks and built around 1908. The land had formerly been part of Eton Farm, one of Toowoomba’s earliest and most successful farms owned by John Shipman.

Between 1903 and 1904 Harry Marks and his wife Katherine acquired four adjoining allotments on the west corner of Gladstone and Jellicoe Streets. Harry Marks was born in Toowoomba and trained as an architect with his father, James. As Marks and Son, they designed many important buildings in Toowoomba and beyond.

Harry was described as being ‘gifted with inventive genius’ and he devised and patented a number of architectural elements including roof ventilators and a method of stucco wall construction. These may be seen on a number of Toowoomba buildings such as St Luke’s Hall and the Taylor Institute in Russell Street, now The Club House.

As his home, Marks introduced many innovations into Gladstone House. These included the specially designed AUSTRAL window, triangular bay windows and highly articulated geometry expressed in the octagonal living room.

Harry Marks was an alderman on the Newtown Town Council from 1913 until 1917 when it was absorbed into Toowoomba City.

Black and white photo of Gladstone house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Location: 11 Mort Street, Newtown

The first attempts at malting barley used in brewing beer were conducted in 1871 at the Perkins brewery located in Margaret Street on part of the site of Grand Central Shopping Centre.

Production ceased after a few years as malt imported from England was cheaper. The Perkins brothers started another malting operation at Black Gully in 1891.

Later members of the Redwood family became involved. A railway siding was extended to the site and basalt (bluestone rubble) kilns were built in 1899. The remains of one of the kilns is still in existence.

In 1901 after Federation, an import duty was placed on imported barley making local production more profitable. A large brick malthouse was completed in 1907. It was designed by local architect Harry Marks and included a number of innovations. This building still survives and is situated behind a more modern steel structure. The rooftop ventilators of the kilns are still obvious.

Historical photograph of Toowoomba maltings c1903 Photo of the maltings Photo of Toowoomba maltings

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Location: 2 - 14 Fanny Street, Newtown

During the Second World War, the United States Navy provided huts in Newtown Park for ‘R&R’ (rest and recreation). This camp operated from 1943 to 1945 catering mainly for submariners.

In October 1945, the Toowoomba City Council purchased huts from the Newtown Park Camp for £2504 ($5008) and over the next few years relocated some to the corner of West and Fanny Streets. This reflected the extreme shortage of building materials and accommodation after the war. Council thus provided for old-age and invalid pensioners including married couples.

The huts were divided into two flats, each with a bedroom, living room, bathroom and kitchen, the total cost to the Council being £6000 ($12,000). The success of the project was illustrated by a large number of applications for rental at 7/6 (75c) per week.

In February 1983, the Uniting Church acquired the property and provided a community hall on-site. The huts are now in private ownership. They remain a reminder of the number of American personnel who passed through Toowoomba during the war.

wwii huts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North east

rsz 217610 heritagedrivetour ne a5 v8

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Location: Shuttlewood Court, Mount Kynoch (off the New England Highway)

The purification plant located at Mount Kynoch processes the water for Toowoomba from Cooby and Perseverance Dams and Lake Cressbrook. This is an ideal site from which to view the entire city and parts of the escarpment.

Notable features are the Quarry from which basalt is obtained, part of the Toowoomba Bypass Road and Harlaxton House which is described below in NE3.

On April 20 1934, Queensland Governor Sir Leslie Wilson unveiled a granite tablet headed MOUNT KYNOCH, commemorating 30 years of service by Councillor John Kynoch to the Shire of Highfields. It was originally placed beside the road then known as Stoney Pinch.

Mt kynoch plaque View from Mt Kynoch overlooking range escarpment

Location: eastern side of the New England Highway, Mount Kynoch (scenic lookout rest area)

On the down section of the road, a lay-by gives another outstanding view of the Toowoomba escarpment. From here can be seen part of the Range Railway which has been called ‘one of our greatest engineering feats’ with no fewer than nine tunnels, some lined with locally quarried sandstone as well as steep culverts and cuttings with a number of high bridges.

It took two years to build using the most primitive methods and reached Toowoomba in 1867, the first to cross the Great Dividing Range. It is a tribute to the engineers, navvies and their families who toiled on the line and in some cases gave their lives.

Layby lookout at Mt Kynoch and view out over the Toowoomba Escarpment.

 

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Location: 6 Munro Street, Harlaxton

Land adjacent to the house was purchased in 1869 by Francis Thomas Gregory (gold medallist of the Royal Geographical Society, explorer, geologist, botanist; son of Joshua Gregory and brother of Augustus Charles Gregory, first Surveyor-General of Queensland). The area was originally called ‘Irish Town’. The house was constructed from 1869 to 1870 and extensions added up to about 1910.

The building is in a Victorian – Georgian style (popular in 1840 – 1890), constructed of a red stone known as laterite and Queensland timbers with door frames and windows trimmed in Helidon sandstone. Interior joinery is in cedar with seven original fireplaces complete with mantles. The building was named after Harlaxton Manor, near Farnsfield, Nottinghamshire, England.

Harlaxton House was leased as a summer residence by the 8th Governor of Queensland, Lord Lamington, between 1896 and 1901. A special railway platform was constructed below the residence for the convenience of the Governor, his guests and family.

The building was listed in the Queensland Heritage Register on 21 October 1992.

More recent photo of Harlaxton house Historical black and white photo of Harlaxton House

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Location: 72 Ruthven Street, Downlands College grounds

The original stone, single-storey building was constructed around 1880 by Richard Godsall for Toowoomba businessman John Mattinson. It was then owned by pastoralist William Sly who named it Strathmore. The third owner was John Tyson Doneley, pastoralist and nephew of the famous millionaire, James Tyson. He added a second storey and named the building Tyson Manor.

After his death there in 1915, the property passed to Doctor Alex Horn who in 1927 donated 30 acres to the Toowoomba City Council as a park. Horn Park has a cairn in remembrance of Dr Horn in Stuart Street.

In 1930 the remaining property was purchased by the Catholic Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and in the following year, they opened Downlands College - a boys’ boarding school. During the Second World War when the college was occupied by the military as a hospital, the boys moved to Dalby.

Today the college is co-educational.

Tyson manor strathmore historical black and white photo. Two story building surrounded by verandas.

Location: 130 - 136 Jellicoe Street, North Toowoomba

The park is part of more than 35 acres (14 ha.) owned by Martin Klein in 1858. His farm extended to Gowrie Creek and had an extensive vineyard and orchard. The newspaper report on Toowoomba’s first civic banquet held in 1862, noted that fruit provided by Martin Klein included ‘apples as large as half-grown pumpkins’.

Jellicoe Street was named Klein Street until the First World War when Council had all German street names changed.

Martin Klein died in 1876 aged 76.

The metal and stone entrance gates of Martin Klein park.

 

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Location: 6 Range Street, Mount Lofty

This outstanding six-hectare park was established over a period of sixty years by Dr Leslie Boyce and his wife, Margaret as their private garden which was gifted in trust to the University of Queensland in 1969.

After the couple’s engagement in 1929, the land was purchased and the house built. They moved into their new home after their wedding in 1930.

Leslie and Margaret lived here for the rest of their lives and, after their deaths, their ashes were scattered in their garden. An important project was the restoration and conservation of the remnant indigenous rainforest in the property’s north-east. Leslie and Margaret were well ahead of many gardeners of the time who removed indigenous trees and replanted them with exotic species.

Today the forest canopy is thirty metres and the natural ecology has been restored. The couple established a sunken garden, grassed terraces, rockeries and a fruit and vegetable garden. Margaret experimented with new species and her careful records are of great value to Toowoomba gardeners.

Black and white photo of Boyce Gardens residence. Brick double-story home surrounded by gardens and large trees.

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Location: 1B Prince Henry Drive, Prince Henry Heights

Early owners of the land, originally known as The Pocket, included William Beit, owner of Westbrook Station who had over 40 acres (16 ha.). It was gazetted as the Municipal Quarry in 1874 with the basalt used for buildings and when crushed, used for road surfacing where it is commonly known as blue metal. Quarrying has revealed many volcanic features including basalt flows, vents, columns and ash layers.

In 1924, part of the quarry was set aside for scientific purposes as some of the features exposed were considered unique. The area was officially dedicated to science by Governor Sir Matthew Nathan at a ceremony conducted there in 1925 and a bronze plaque explaining the volcanic formations was attached to the cliff face.

Around 1952 the plaque was removed and quarrying of the site re-commenced. The quarry closed in 1995 and since then the site has been used for theatrical performances with plans initially for an Aboriginal Cultural Centre and then a large-scale garden. A Bridge Street Quarry Concept Plan was produced and endorsed by Council in December 2018 to guide planning and decision making relating to the future development of the site.

Bridge street quarry formation

 

Location: 1C Prince Henry Drive, Prince Henry Heights

This bushland park is situated below the escarpment between Prince Henry Heights and Mackenzie Street and is approximately 300 hectares in area. Entrances are located at the eastern ends of Harvey, Jellicoe, Wooldridge and Bridge Streets as well as at Amos Road in the Withcott area. There are seven main walking trails, numerous mountain biking opportunities and the National Bridle trail traverses the park. 

It took its modern form in 1911 when a reserve of 700 acres was allocated for a park. In 1952 and again in 1968, smaller areas of land (under 25 acres) were excised from the park for quarry purposes and in 1984 an area of state forest was added.

During 1931, in depression times, a work camp for itinerant women and families was established. In 1909, Queensland celebrated fifty years of separation from New South Wales, and this celebration was referred to as the “Jubilee”.

Jubilee park trail

 

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Location: Redwood Park

Redwood Park can be accessed from two main entry points:

  • most eastern end of Bridge Street
  • Warrego Highway - from Toowoomba head down the Range (towards Brisbane) and the entrance to park is three-quarters down the Range. There is a wooden sign that says, Redwood Park.

In 1888 a petition containing the signatures of more than 200 prominent Toowoomba men was sent to the State Minister of Lands. It requested that land on the escarpment in the vicinity of the present Redwood Park be placed in the care of the Municipal Council as a public park. This was not successful but in January 1911, an area of about 200 hectares was gazetted as a park and named after Mayor Vernon Redwood.

During the Depression of the 1930s, the Eagle’s Nest Camp was established by Dr Thomas Price as a place where itinerant men could rest before resuming their journeys seeking work. The camp was run along military lines with residents responsible for cleaning their huts, growing vegetables, milking the cow and cooking. Local people assisted with meat and clothing.

An archaeological dig in 1994 revealed much about the layout of the camp and efforts are being made to make its location available for walkers. Today there are a number of walking tracks and the Friends of the Escarpment Parks do much to maintain interest in the area.

Black and white photo of Eagles nest camp in redwood park

Location: Prince Henry Heights Drive, Prince Henry Heights

From this point, an unimpeded view of the Lockyer Valley and its surrounds may be obtained including the settlements of Withcott, Helidon and Gatton. It is also possible to see the Toll Bar Road with modifications, the main entry to Toowoomba since 1855.

Prior to 1909, much of the area was owned by William Beit, the owner of Westbrook Station, and was used for grazing. In that year, 11 allotments were advertised as the Katoomba Estate ‘formerly known as The Pocket Paddock’. The advertising stressed the ‘simply glorious’ views, and the entry road became known as Katoomba Drive.

In 1912 residents were successful in opposing the Council’s proposal to establish a sanitary depot in the area. During the Depression of the 1930s, workers built basalt walls beside the drive which is now one-way from the Katoomba Point. One of these may still be seen.

A plaque commemorating the Aboriginal leader Multuggerah and the battle of One Tree Hill is also on this drive which has been called Prince Henry Drive since the visit of the Duke of Gloucester in 1934.

Black and white photo of Katoomba point. Taken from dirt road looking out over the Lockyer Valley and surrounds.

Location: 30 Fairholme Street, East Toowoomba

In 1911 a house named Eungella which occupied this site was the home of an Anglican clergyman the Rev Huband-Smith and his family. In 1931 the building was demolished and replaced by the present brick structure by J.C. Robertson. The name was changed to Struan and in the 1950s was the home of Sister Elizabeth Kenny whose controversial methods of treating polio had made her world-famous.

In this beautiful setting overlooking the view to the east of Toowoomba, she continued writing letters promoting her methods and working on a book titled ‘My Battle and Victory’. She continued to advise on treatments and sometimes did this personally. Struan was her base from where she travelled extensively in Australia and abroad promoting her methods.

She developed Parkinson’s Disease and died at Struan on November 30, 1952. She was buried in the cemetery at Nobby, near where she lived as a child.

Black and white photo of Sister Elizabeth Kenny looking out window in Struan house. View of the Lockyer Valley.

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Location: 40 Wirra Wirra Street, East Toowoomba

The origins of Fairholme, a five-room, brick homestead built around 1885, are not known. In 1887 it became the home of Mrs Margaret Anne Cameron, the widow of grazier Donald Cameron of Barcaldine Downs who died in 1872. In 1916 she offered Fairholme to the Presbyterian Church to relocate The Presbyterian Ladies College from its Newtown location at Spreydon. Mrs Cameron gave half the price, with Mr Black of Ipswich providing the remainder.

Lessons began in July 1917, and the school was officially opened on 12 August 1918. In 1978 the school’s official name was changed to Fairholme College. The building underwent major renovations in the early 1990s and a viewing box on the wall in the Cameron Room gives a glimpse of the original plaster and lath construction.

Now known as Cameron Homestead it remains at the heart of Fairholme College and is used for meetings, seminars and special events.

Historic black and white photo of Fairholme Homestead (now Cameron Homestead at Fairholme College). A five-room single-story brick homestead.  Recent photo of Cameron homestead at Fairholme College.

Location: 12 - 40 Dudley Street, East Toowoomba

Webb Park was named after Henry Gent Webb, Mayor of Toowoomba when the park was named in 1908. Structurally this is a slump, commonly found on escarpments with a volcanic base. From here, features of the Lockyer Valley may be clearly seen including Tabletop mountain, a phreatic volcanic feature named Twiss’s Table Mount by Alan Cunningham in 1829. A direction finder at the park enables visitors to identify surrounding natural features.

The monument to poet George Essex Evans dates from 1913 on the spot overlooking the site of his home and where he is said to have been inspired for his compositions. In 1911 Ernest Gill established the Grammar School Preparatory School on the site of the former Girton School for girls. During WWII it was taken over by the Army Signals Regiment.

In 1927 it became a school run by the Anglican Church and in 1972 merged with Glennie Preparatory School to be co-educational - now Toowoomba Anglican School.

Historic black and white photo of Webb Park and view over the Lockyer Valley and to Tabletop Mountain.

Location: 4 - 6 Fernside Street (property best viewed from Arthur Street)

John Alexander Boyce came to Toowoomba in 1870 and was Clerk of Petty Sessions until the mid-1880s. He purchased considerable areas of land in the Arthur and Curzon Street area and had Fernside constructed in 1876. Six generations of the Boyce family have lived in the residence for over 100 years.

The low symmetrical rendered brick building has a hip roof. The interior features pressed metal ceilings and cedar joinery throughout. Built on the escarpment, there are views over the Lockyer Valley and extensive gardens have been established. Much of the original land area has been subdivided off and several additions have been added to the building at different times throughout its history.

Black and white photo of Fernside home. Single-story with stairs leading up to entry, surrounded by large trees.

Location: 26 Arthur Street, East Toowoomba

The history of the building dates back to 1888 when the Rector of Toowoomba signed contracts for two school rooms, one in Toowoomba West and the other in Arthur Street, East Toowoomba. Each measured 25 feet by 15 feet (7.5 x 4.5 metres) and was constructed of timber on hardwood blocks. The Arthur Street building was fitted with an altar and Holy Communion was celebrated monthly.

It served as a Sunday school in the parish of St Luke, an important use as religious education was not permitted in State schools at that time. In 1921 it was dedicated as a church named “All Saints”. Sir Littleton Groom (1867-1936) federal politician, lawyer and third son of Toowoomba’s first mayor, W.H. Groom and his wife Grace, attended here as their local church.

In 1967 “All Saints” was moved closer to Arthur Street and a hall was constructed at the rear. Various additions to the small building of 1888 have followed the architecture of the period.

Recent photo of All Saints Church. White wooden building .

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Location: 112 Mary Street, East Toowoomba

This was the home of building contractor Alexander Mayes who built it to a design by Harry Marks.  Wide concrete steps lead up to a prominent portico with ‘Largo’ etched in the fretwork gable pediment which is supported by paired timber posts, while the wide verandah is edged by intricate iron lace.

Mayes moved in with his second wife in 1902 and named it for his birthplace Largo in Scotland. His first wife Eleanor, who was the widow of fellow contractor Richard Godsall, died in 1896. The Toowoomba Town Hall, the Technical College and Warwick’s Abbey of the Roses are some of his constructions.

Alexander Mayes was Mayor of the city on three occasions and was also an active member of the School of Arts Committee, honorary superintendent of the Toowoomba Fire Brigade and a member of the Austral Association.

In 1922 Mayes left Toowoomba and in 1936 Dr Albert Furness lived there until he sold it to the YWCA in 1945. It was renamed Gowrie House after Lady Gowrie, wife of the Governor-General, and was opened in November 1945 as a hostel for young women. In 1979 permission was granted for both men and women to live in the hostel.

It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register in 2000.

Recent photo of Largo YWCA building front facade.

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Location: 47 Arthur Street, East Toowoomba

Located in Mary Street, Toowoomba (ticket office at 47 Arthur Street). This site is officially known as the Toowoomba Sports Ground (originally the Athletic Oval) and is the home base of the National Premier League soccer club – South-west Queensland Thunder.

The structure on the site was renamed Clive Berghofer Stadium to honour the soccer club’s major sponsor. The Sports Ground began as the Cricket Reserve during the 1860s, the land having been granted to the Toowoomba municipality by the Colonial Government. In 1898, a public meeting created the Toowoomba Athletic Oval (TAO) Trust and reconstruction of the site began in 1899. When reopened in March 1900, the Reserve boasted a banked, gravel-surfaced, four-metre wide, cycle racing track surrounding a cricket oval with square corners to allow football to be played in the offseason.

The original grandstand had been moved to the Arthur Street end of the oval and improved with showering facilities, water being supplied from an overhead tank. The complex also boasted tennis courts and an athletics track. On June 18 1924 the Toowoomba Rugby League team (the Galloping Clydesdales), led by the legendary Duncan Thompson, played on the ground and won against a visiting team from England. Over 10,000 spectators watched the game. Toowoomba and district schools used the oval facilities for annual athletics carnivals and international hockey games were also staged on the site. 

On March 11 1954, children from Toowoomba and district schools packed into the oval for a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth II during her tour of Queensland. Cricket connections with the TAO Trust were severed in 1973.

Clive Berghofer, born 4 March 1935, is an Australian property developer, politician and philanthropist based in Toowoomba. He served as a member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly (1986 – 1991) as the National Party member for Toowoomba South. He was also an alderman of the Toowoomba City Council from 1973 to 1982 and served as mayor from 1982 to 1992. He has received many accolades for his philanthropic contributions to the Lifeflight organisation and medical research. The QIMR Berghoffer Medical Research Institute is named in his honour.

Black and white photo of the athletic oval1899, now home to the Clive Berghofer Stadium.

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Location: 27 Lindsay Street, Toowoomba

This site was used for the first Toowoomba Show on 11 July 1862 on a grant of land bounded by Bridge, Lindsay and Campbell Streets. Many significant buildings and grandstands were erected over the next 120 years, but by the 1980s more space was required and the last show on the site was held in 1985.

The show society moved to a much larger property at Glenvale and the original site was purchased by the State Government for $2.45 million. It was redeveloped into a TAFE college, and a transport museum was also established in the only remaining showground’s structure, the Floriculture pavilion. A number of significant trees were retained.

Many horse-drawn vehicles were collected by Mr WRF Bolton during the fifties and sixties and were displayed in a museum he established with the Cobb and Co transport business on the corner of James and Water Streets. After his death in 1973, the vehicles continued to be displayed until a fire broke out in 1981. Suffering only minor damage, the collection was kept intact and donated to the Queensland Museum. It was kept in temporary storage until the old floriculture pavilion was utilised and the Cobb and Co Museum was established in 1987. A second stage was added in 2001 marking Australia’s centenary of Federation and the eight million dollar National Carriage Factory was completed in 2010.

Recent photo of the Cobb and Co museum, taken from the corner of Lindsay and Campbell Streets. Six southern cross windmills in the foreground of the photo.

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Location: 91 Campbell Street, East Toowoomba

The first recorded owner of Claremont is Robert Wilcox. Born in England in 1840 he came to Australia in his early twenties and worked for an Ipswich businessman before taking up land near Stanthorpe.

In 1878 he came to Toowoomba and began a grocery and produce business with his brother Edmund, owner of the impressive home, Redlands. Their business later became W.C. Peak and Co. Robert Wilcox also worked as an insurance representative before retiring to live at Claremont with his wife and two daughters.

At one time Groom Street, which runs behind the house, was called Wilcox Street. In 1906 Mr Wilcox purchased the wrought iron fence from the demolished Town Hall in James Street and erected it as it is today. In the previous year, daughter Lucy married Frederick Gould and their extensive art and antique collection is now housed in the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery. In 1907 their second daughter Florence married Ray White of Crow’s Nest, founder of the well known real estate firm.

Robert Wilcox died in 1924 and his wife in 1933. Since then Claremont has been divided into flats, used as a dental surgery and today is again a private residence.

Black and white photo of Claremont residence. Recent photo of Claremont house

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Location: 106 Margaret Street, East Toowoomba

The Mothers’ Memorial, paid for from funds collected by mothers who had lost their sons in WWI, was unveiled near the corner of Margaret and Ruthven Streets in 1922. In 1985 it was moved to its present location.

The names of local residents who died in subsequent wars have been added. The entry from Margaret Street is made from bricks that originally formed part of the Toowoomba gaol erected in 1863 which then became the Austral Hall dedicated as a memorial to those who died during the Boer War. A plaque near the entrance names some of these men.

The State National Service Memorial is in this park as are those for Toowoomba’s own 25th Battalion, the Vietnam War, Legacy and one commemorating the Centenary of the ANZAC landing.

Photo of Mothers' Memorial. Paved path leading to monument in the middle of a grassed area. Three flagpoles to the left of the monument.

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Location: 73 Margaret Street, East Toowoomba

William Charles Peak, a prominent businessman with interests in local industry and development, commissioned architect Harry Marks to design this building originally known as ’Killalah’. It was completed in 1911 and was home to the Peak family until 1917. A drinking fountain on the opposite corner in Queen’s Park is a memorial recognising W C Peak’s service to the community. Later the name of the house was changed to ‘Dalmally’.

The single-storey masonry building is designed around wide east-west and north-south hallways which intersect below a central clerestory. Each brick wall has individual foundations and most rooms have pressed metal ceilings. The design reflected Harry Mark’s concern with airflow and natural lighting.

The building later became ‘Bishop’s House’ when bought by the Catholic Church after the establishment of the Toowoomba Diocese. It was the residence of Bishop Roper in 1944.

By the 1970s, a new building was constructed on the grounds as the bishop’s residence and Bishop’s House has been used as the Catholic Education Office.

Recent photo of Bishop's house - a single-story masonry building.

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Location: 61 Margaret Street, East Toowoomba

Probably named for the Scottish castle, this single storey residence built by James Renwick was completed in 1896 and became his family’s home. In addition to his building activities, Renwick was very active in the community.

In the 1870s Renwick was an outstanding athlete and in his later years continued his support for this sport. He was one of the founders and first President of the Toowoomba Bowls Club, a Captain in the Queensland Defence Force and a prominent member of the Masonic Lodge. Mrs Harriet Renwick lived at Carlowrie until her death in 1930. Their daughter, Jessie, a school teacher, was a prominent member of the Ladies Literary Society while their son Andrew, also a builder, was killed in the First World War.

Carlowrie has had many owners since the death of Mrs Renwick and is now the property of Education Queensland.

Carlowrie residence recent day photo.

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Location: 59 Margaret Street, East Toowoomba

This two-storey mansion was the home of contractor James Renwick who built it in 1889. He is said to have named it after a Scottish project he worked on before coming to Australia in 1863.

He specialised in building double brick homes often using his own bricks made at Murphy’s Creek. Some of his best-known work includes St Stephen’s Church, The Masonic Centre, Baillie Henderson Hospital, The Congregational Church (now Quest Apartments) and the Alexandra Building.

In 1896 the family moved to a new house named Carlowrie he had constructed across the road (NE22 - details listed above). For many years Cowden Knowes was a very popular boarding house and in 1955 passed to the L’Armand family whose daughter Judy is the well-known actress Judy Morris.

In 1986 it opened as Lord’s Restaurant which closed in 1991. Since then the house was redeveloped as a medical centre.

Historic black and white photo of Cowden Knowes two-story mansion

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Location: 24 Margaret Street, East Toowoomba

In 1861 land near the corner of Herries and Mary Streets was granted to the Toowoomba Council as a Queen’s Park. In fact, Mary Street was originally called Park Street. The Council decided it was too far from town and by 1871 had exchanged it for the Government Camping Grounds.

In 1874 the trustees for a proposed grammar school decided that the Old Queen’s Park site was suitable for their purpose, being far removed from the ‘dangers of the town’. They then purchased the remainder of the land bounding the present grounds.

The original school building known as School House, designed by Willoughby Powell and built by John Garget, was completed in 1876 and included a large classroom, today known as the Old Hall, containing many honour boards reflecting the school’s history.

Evidence of Aboriginal occupation is to be found in a report of a camp in the vicinity of the present Junior School in 1877. The grounds contain a number of reminders of the school’s past including the Old Boys’ Wall of Achievement on which past students who have excelled in their chosen career are remembered.

In 2009 the school opened a museum and archives centre which is open to the public.

Historic photo of Toowoomba Grammar School original school building.

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Location: 22 - 36 Scott Street, East Toowoomba

Construction on this site was commenced in 1921. The foundation stone was laid by the Reverend Archbishop of Brisbane, James Duhig, on behalf of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity, an order formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1815 and established in Sydney, Australia in 1838. The original building, now Entrance 2, was opened to patients on 19 November 1922.

The original building was constructed with a special niche above the entrance to accommodate a statue of Saint Vincent de Paul (1581-1660), whose work with the poor and needy is carried on by the Catholic Sisters of Charity. The original building has been extended twice (1949 and 1995) and the hospital has undergone many renovations and refurbishments. The latest refurbishment completed in 2018, took the facility to 198 beds with 11 operating theatres.

The facility is the largest not-for-profit private hospital in Toowoomba. It is an enterprise of St Vincent’s Health Australia, administered under the stewardship of Mary Aikenhead Ministries and is one of 36 such facilities in Australia.

Black and white photo of St Vincent's Hospital original building. Three story brick building.

Location: 2 Ipswich Street, East Toowoomba

This park is named for Toowoomba bus proprietor and former Mayor, Jack McCafferty. In 1940 he had the bus run from Picnic Point to Rangeville, and within ten years he was running the coordinated bus-train service to Brisbane. Soon, McCafferty’s Coaches were known Australia wide and even beyond as he entered the overseas tourism industry.

In 1955 McCafferty was elected an Alderman on the Toowoomba City Council and in 1958 became Mayor, a position he held until 1967. He has been called ‘a dynamic Mayor who put Toowoomba on the map'.

He died in 1999 and his headstone bears the inscription ‘King of the Road’ which is also the title of his biography. A monument to the workers who built the series of crossings linking the Downs to the coast was unveiled here in 2001. A portion of the old Toll Bar Road is an extension of Ipswich Street which runs beside the park.

Stone entrance signage at Mccafferty Park.

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Location: 9 Tourist Road, East Toowoomba

Built around 1906, Unara was the home of Sir Littleton and Lady Jessie Groom. Littleton, son of Toowoomba’s first Mayor, William Henry Groom, was educated in Toowoomba and Melbourne University and practised as a barrister before being elected to the Federal Parliament following the death of his father in 1901.

In 1924 he was knighted for his services to the community. Sir Littleton died and was buried in Canberra in 1936. His wife founded the Ladies’ Literary Society and in 1973 a plaque honouring her was added to the memorial to her husband which stands opposite Unara. This monument designed by Charles Marks was unveiled in 1940.

Lady Groom left Unara in 1936 and in 1939 it was briefly leased to the Catholic Church as the Bishop’s home. For a time it was a guest house before being purchased in 1945 by the Health Department as a hostel for mothers and infants who were in need of extra care. It was also where Child Welfare Assistants were trained. This facility closed in 1977 and the building was occupied by a number of Health Department and other Government offices.

Today it is the home of Sunrise Way, a drug rehabilitation centre.

Photo of Unara home.

Location: 45 Mort Street, North Toowoomba

The name is a clue to the Canadian roots of the first owner, Andrew Cohoe. In 1870 he had served in the Canadian Militia during the Red River Rebellion for which he received a medal and $100.  Cohoe arrived in Australia with his wife and family in 1889 and worked for firms manufacturing farm machinery in western New South Wales where the hot, dry climate and strenuous working conditions caused Andrew serious lung trouble.

Cohoe followed his doctor’s advice and moved to Toowoomba. Here he built a house in Mort Street with the fence we see today and established a farm machinery works nearby. This business prospered and windmills with the brand name Eclipse were produced. Their success was recognised by the Toowoomba Foundry which took over their manufacture and appointed Andrew to the board.

The family moved to Campbell Street around 1921 and Andrew died there in 1927. The name Ontario also appears on his headstone.

Photo of Ontario on Mort Street

 

 

South east

Toowoomba Heritage self-drive tour map of the South East area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Location: Pechey Street, opposite Toowoomba Hospital (parking is located on Water Street South)

This park straddles West Creek in the section between Stephen and James Streets. It is named after William Henry Clewley (1909 - 1974) who leased the land from the Toowoomba City Council for a period of 20 years. He grazed dairy cattle in order to provide milk for the Bedford Hotel which was located nearby in Ruthven St. This building was then converted to a motel before being destroyed by fire in 2016.

The first section on the western side (Peachey Street) was opened in 2005 and features a lake and boardwalk. Toowoomba celebrated its centenary as a city in 2004 and a series of plaques show a timeline leading up to this event.

In 2011, Toowoomba experienced a catastrophic flood. The eastern side of the park was completed after this event and features a detention basin for floodwaters. The West Creek channel was also upgraded and a number of footbridges constructed. A sandstone memorial to victims of abuse has been placed in this section of the park.

At the southern end of the park is a historic pumping station that operated from the late nineteenth century to pump water up to the Red Lion Reservoir for reticulation to the township. The reservoir has since been demolished and Newington Park established on the corner of West and Stephen Streets in its place. At the northern end of the park is the James Street Tennis Centre which was built in 1929.

Photo of Clewley park with sandstone memorial to victims of abuse in foreground.

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Location: 68 Stephen Street, South Toowoomba

William Shuttlewood came to Australia as a convict in 1838 and after obtaining his ticket-of-leave, moved to Drayton. He was one of the first Europeans to reside at the Drayton Swamp when it was first surveyed in 1849. In 1858, he and Charles Taylor purchased the southernmost of 12 original allotments of the Drayton Agricultural Swamp Reserve comprising 27acres, two roods (approx. 12 ha) in Stephen Street. Taylor later bought most of Shuttlewood’s share of the partnership.

The cottage in Stephen Street replaced an earlier slab and shingle building and was constructed during the mid-1860s making it the earliest surviving residential dwelling in Toowoomba. The four-roomed cottage was built from materials found locally using earth and a stone called laterite. Walls are up to two feet (600mm) thick and the floor is of rough hardwood.

The original ceilings were of calico which was later replaced with tongue and groove boards. There is a large open fireplace that may have originally been used for cooking. Since that time, the cottage has been extended with a bathroom and kitchen at the rear.

By 1911, the size of the allotment was reduced to 32 perches (approx. 800 square metres).

Painting of Taylor's cottage in Stephen Street. A humble little four-roomed stone cottage with small front veranda.

Location: corner of West and Stephen Streets, South Toowoomba

In 1875 the Council acquired this site to establish a reticulated water supply for the city.  It had previously been the location of the Red Lion Hotel, noted for its reliable well. The well was deepened, and a pump station, reservoir and elevated tank were constructed by well-known contractor Richard Godsall, while the engine and pumping gear were built at the Toowoomba Foundry.

The Red Lion Waterworks was officially opened in 1880 and could now supply both the Grammar School and the new hospital as well as much of the city with a reliable supply of fresh water. The park takes its name from the Newington Plant Nursery established nearby by George Searle in 1889.

Newington park plaque

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Location: outside 740 Ruthven Street (corner South Street), South Toowoomba (park in South Street)

This avenue of Jacaranda trees in Ruthven Street, between South and Alderley Streets, was planted to commemorate the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937.

Mrs Lilian Lightbody, a local resident who devoted much time to researching the histories of Toowoomba trees, drew the attention of the Council to the need for a plaque to explain the significance of this planting. A small plaque was placed in position in 1984 but it did not have the name of the Queen. This did not satisfy Mrs Lightbody who convinced Council that this omission should be rectified.

Consequently, the present plaque was placed in position in 1988.

Coronation avenue plaque on stone under a Jacaranda tree.

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Location: corner of Neil and James Streets, Toowoomba City

St Patrick’s Church was opened on St Patrick’s day, 17 March 1889.

It is the second place of worship built on the site which was granted to the Roman Catholic Church in 1859. The first wooden building built in 1863 was a church/school and was destroyed by a fire in 1880. The original section of the stone church was designed by Toowoomba architect James Marks in the gothic revival style and built by Richard Godsall. Richard died during construction in 1885, aged 45, and his wife continued on with the help of Alex Mayes who completed the church by 1888. The total expenditure was under £8,500 pounds.

A new Presbytery with some art-deco influences replaced an older double-storey colonial structure in 1927. In 1929, a new Catholic diocese was created with Toowoomba as the main centre and Bishop James Byrne was consecrated as bishop. The church then became a Cathedral. Soon afterwards, planning occurred to extend the building.

Local architect Arthur Bligh designed the eastern and western transepts as well as a new sanctuary and side altars. The builder for this project, completed in 1934, was John O’Çonnell. Around this time, a new bell and pipe organ were installed.

Recent photo of St Patrick's Cathedral - a large Victorian Gothic church built from basalt.

Location: 24 - 28 Phillip Street (corner Eton Street), East Toowoomba

The stained glass window covering most of the northern wall is an outstanding feature of this church. Its inclusion was suggested by the church’s architect, Mal Just and the artist was Martin Van Der Toorn who interpreted the wishes of Pastor Grope. The four main panels, representing the Gospel story, were installed by EJ Moss Pty Ltd and cover 90 square metres.

When the church was opened and dedicated on 21 June 1958, the local paper referred to the window as a ‘sermon in glass’. The first St Paul’s was a slab and shingle structure erected in 1863 on the South West corner of James and Phillip Streets. The second, a more substantial brick building, was demolished to make way for the present church built by prominent Toowoomba contractor George Strohfeldt. Sandstone pillars from the second church support the present granite altar table.

St Paul's Lutheran Church stained glass windows. Four panels representing the Gospel story.

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Location: 164 Tourist Road, Rangeville

Picnic Point parkland and lookout is a state heritage listed park of 65 hectares, added to the Queensland Heritage Register in 2008.

The original parkland (a site of 15 hectares) was selected by W H Groom (first mayor of Toowoomba) and W C Hume (commissioner of Crown Lands) in 1886 so that the citizens of Toowoomba could enjoy an area of great natural beauty and indulge in healthy outdoor recreation. Although a petition to extend the area was unsuccessful in 1888, the Toowoomba Municipal authorities have gradually extended the original area and created parklands from what was a reserve for grazing cattle.

Picnic Point historical timeline

1883 – 1891: Site of Queensland Government Trigonometrical Survey station.

1910: Park area declared a reserve for the protection of native birdlife.

1910 – 1913: Avenue of Hoop and Kauri pines along Tourist Road leading into the park area planted.

1919: Toowoomba Boy Scouts set up a camping ground on site. This was extended by relief day labour during the 1930s into a public camping area.

1921: First kiosk building constructed by J McIntyre. Toowoomba Council constructed the first cantilevered lookout platform.

1930: Kodak (Australia) erected the landmark direction-finding cairn.

April 1942 – December 1943: First Australian Army Troop requisitioned the kiosk and campground.

1958: Original kiosk demolished and new kiosk building opened by Alderman J F McCafferty. Walking paths constructed.

1959: Grazing lease over area terminated, vehicles prohibited from parking on grassland under trees and a memorial to ‘Puppy’ erected.

1963: Water tower erected.

1965: Waterfall feature constructed by Carnival of Flowers Association on site of previous quarry.

1995: Toowoomba City Council commissioned a Master Plan for the future development of the parkland. Camera obscura building removed as a result.

1996: The second kiosk demolished and present low-level building constructed after bitter debate over the planned construction of high-rise buildings on the range escarpment.

2009: 46-metre flagpole erected as part of Queensland 150th anniversary celebrations.

Historical black and white photo of Picnic Point kiosk in 1935. Two ladies sitting on grass in front of kiosk.

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Location: 1 South Street, Rangeville

Geeumbi house was built for Dr Thomas Price and his wife by Ernest Pottinger between 1914 and 1918. It was designed by Dr Price, who had undertaken architectural studies prior to completing his medical degree.

The foundations and walls were constructed by pouring concrete into box framing and flattened tin, an innovation for 1914. Dr Price was a keen astronomer and the tower end of the building was designed for viewing the night skies from a clear vantage point above the tree line. The house was named for what the Prices believed to be the Aboriginal name for Mount Tabletop.

Both Dr Price and his wife were keen supporters of the Scouting movement, and he was Mayor in 1918 with a platform of mosquito eradication. He was also a key figure in the establishment of the Eagle’s Nest Camp for itinerant jobless men during the 1930s Depression.

Council’s Dr Price Rooms are named in his honour.

Recent photo of Geeumbi house. A tall white multi-level home surrounded by lush green grass.

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Location: 2 South Street, Rangeville

In 1896 well-known hotelier, magistrate and local Councillor John Long purchased 40 acres (16.2 ha.) which he named Sylvia Park. He was interested in experimenting with different fodder crops including, Paspalum and Rhodes. He also grew potatoes, tomatoes and other vegetables and raised poultry, Angora goats and pigs. The farm was such a showplace that prominent visitors including the 1904 English football team were taken to visit it. In that year Mr Long had a single-storey timber house built on his property. It was designed by Harry Marks whose father James had designed the Imperial Hotel for Mr Long in 1885.

In 1910 grazier John Frith and his wife Annie purchased the property and renamed the house Rodway after his birthplace in England. The Friths lived in semi-retirement continuing to run their property Toolmaree Station at Augathella.

Following Mrs Frith’s death in 1952, a group of investors purchased the property and subdivided it, retaining 4 acres (1.6 ha.) around the house. One of the new streets was named Sylvan Court, a reminder of the original farm.

Recent photo of Rodway house. A grand old property surrounded by wide verandas and stairs leading up to the entry. Landscape gardens and lush green grass surround the residence.

Location: corner of Leslie and Collier Streets

Named in honour of former State and Local politician, Jack Duggan, this bushland escarpment park covers approximately 8 hectares of rejuvenated eucalypt forest with a native vine and rainforest understory. It is the home of a wide variety of birds and native animals and a number of bushwalks have been established. These range from a flat wheelchair friendly trail to a wonderful lookout as well as some hilly tracks which are more challenging.

At the lookout, there are views of the Lockyer Valley, including Table Top Mountain. Also, at this location is signage explaining the Battle of One Tree Hill (Table Top) and the role of indigenous Jagera leader Multuggerah. During the 1840s, Europeans began to settle in the area. Multuggerah led a resistance movement and forced a large European group to retreat at One Tree Hill in September 1843.

Also, in the park is an old quarry site from Toowoomba’s early days. It appears a soft stone called laterite was mined there. This stone can be easily cut into brick-like shapes and also crushed to use as a road base. This area has been cleared of lantana and hoop pines were planted in 1999 as a millennium forest.

Unveiling the multuggerah plaque in Duggan Park. Two men stand with a group of primary school children looking out towards Tabletop mountain.

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Location: East Creek between Mackenzie and Alderley Streets

Indigenous Giabal man Thomas Daniels spoke of the eels that once inhabited East Creek in this area. ‘Eels were part of the dreaming, and they were responsible for making many tunnels down into the earth to bring the spring water to the surface.’

After the arrival of Europeans, the area was used for grazing and once was a Chinese market garden. A well dug during this period still remains.

In 1985, after representation from Toowoomba environmental groups Green Watch and the Field Naturalists, Toowoomba City Council began construction of the 7.6-hectare park as its bicentennial project. It was designed to mimic wetlands that would encourage various types of waterbirds to feed, roost and nest in the area. Three major lakes of varying depths were constructed and a reedy lagoon was also built across Mackenzie Street as a sediment pond. Other aspects of the design included pathways, viewing decks, boardwalks and hides for people as well as mudbanks, areas of reeds and islands for the birds. More than 2000 trees and shrubs were planted.

The Waterbird Habitat was opened on Australia Day 1988.

Photo of the Waterbird habitat in 1995. Overlooking the lake on a misty Toowoomba day.

Location: Tarlington Street, Middle Ridge

In 1989 Miss Mabel Nielsen donated 3.25 hectares of her land to the State Government with the Toowoomba Regional Council as trustee as long as the land is utilised as a park. In 2005 this bushland reserve was enlarged by the addition of two more blocks to the north. The park contains some of the oldest trees in Toowoomba and is also part of the old bullock trail up the range.

In 2002 Indigenous Elder Patrick Jerome identified the park as the source of East Creek and ‘the birthing place of the rivers’ so, therefore, a very spiritual place for his people. He said: “This is an important starting point for our whole country – all this water runs into the Condamine, and that is important to us”. In its report on Gowrie Creek Waterways, Archaeo Heritage Cultural Services judged Nielsen Park to have high indigenous cultural significance with a culturally significant remnant of natural bushland.

Nielsen park entry sign leading to dirt path surrounded by bushland.

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Location: 344 Ramsay Street, Middle Ridge

In 1863, following his appointment as Toowoomba’s first resident Presbyterian Minister, Rev William Lambie Nelson purchased approximately 100 acres on which he built a small brick cottage which he called Gabbinbar, supposedly an Aboriginal word meaning ‘beautiful place’.

In 1876 noted architect Willoughby Powell designed the present building, which was constructed by Richard Godsall. Rev Nelson died in 1887 and Gabbinbar passed to his son Sir Hugh who was at various times Queensland Premier and Lieutenant Governor.

During the summers of 1906 to 1909 the Queensland Governor, Lord Chelmsford took Gabbinbar as his summer residence. His coachman lived in the cottage at the entrance to the drive.

On the death of Sir Hugh in 1906 his wife and daughter continued to live there until 1926 when her son Duncan, his wife and family took up residence. Pharmacist Trev Liesegang and his wife Joan purchased Gabbinbar from Colina Nelson, Duncan’s widow and carried out much restoration work.

During the Second World War, the 2/1st Corps Survey Company AIF made Gabbinbar their Headquarters in 1942 after returning from service in the Middle East.

Historical black and white photo of Gabbinbar homestead in 1908. A more recent day photo of Gabbinbar Homestead. Grand circular vehicle entrance with fountain in the middle. 

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Location: Spring Street (between Ruthven and Kearney Streets), Kearneys Spring

Travellers, as well as bullock and horse teams, moved between Moreton Bay and the Darling Downs from the 1840s onward. This spring near the source of West Creek was used as an overnight resting spot.

Later, after Toowoomba was made a municipality in 1860, many wells were dug in the township and an outbreak of typhoid was attributed to contamination of these wells. The council sought a supplementary water source and purchased land around the spring from Mr M Kearney in 1881. A well 1.5m deep with a brick lining was constructed and water from the surrounding swamp was drained into this tank.

Toowoomba’s first reticulated water supply was gravity-fed through a 100mm pipe from Kearneys Spring to the pumping station further along the creek in Stephen St. From there it was pumped up to the Red Lion Reservoir which was located in the area now known as Newington Park on the corner of West and Stephen Streets and then reticulated throughout the township.

Kearneys Spring Historical Park was opened in 1984 by the member for Darling Downs Mr Tom McVeigh after a Commonwealth grant reinstated the brick well and the original trough hewn from a tree trunk. Since the early days, the landscape around the spring has been greatly altered. The adjacent sporting complex was a landfill site from 1958 to 1974 and the lake to the west was constructed on the site of a smaller dam.

The park was home to The Toowoomba Model Steam Locomotive Club between 1996 and 2016 and was relocated further along West Creek to protect the fauna. The surrounding suburb now takes its name from this spring.

More recent photo of the well that was constructed in 1881 in Kearneys spring park.

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Location: opposite 327 Spring Street, Kearneys Spring

The Murray Clewett Wetlands are named in honour of Toowoomba City Council engineer Murray Clewett. Murray provided many years of service to the Toowoomba community through to the 1990s.

He contributed to prominent features across the city such as Mount Kynoch reservoir tank and the Herries Street bridge over East Creek. He was instrumental in the design of some of Toowoomba stormwater infrastructure including these wetlands which were officially opened by the Hon Rod Welford MLA Minister for Environment and Heritage and Minister for Natural Resources on Tuesday, 7 March 2000.

The Murray Clewett Environmental Wetlands form the first stage of Toowoomba Regional Council’s Gowrie Creek Catchment Management Strategy. The aim of the strategy is to alleviate downstream flooding and to enhance the environmental and recreational values of Toowoomba's creek systems.

This project was funded by the Toowoomba City Council, the Natural Heritage Trust and the Queensland Government.

Photo of the Murray Clewett wetlands

 

 

Historic Toowoomba City walks

Throughout Toowoomba City, we have eight designated historic walks that take in some of our most iconic locations from yesteryear.

View the online interactive historic walks maps or collect a copy from the Toowoomba Customer Service Centre, Toowoomba Visitor Information or the Hampton Visitor Information Centre.

Eight historic Toowoomba walks:

  • Queens Park and surrounds

  • Russell Street 

  • Newtown

  • Mort Estate

  • Caledonian Estate

  • East Creek Park and Paddington Estate

  • Cultural and legal precinct

  • Drayton

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