Toowoomba on Tour

With a little free time on my hands, I return to documenting the road trip we did last March (yes, that’s right – nearly a year ago!)

Tuesday 12th March 2019

After meandering the long way from the Queensland Gold Coast, via the Scenic Rim, we arrived into Toowoomba just before the tourist office closed. We picked up a self-drive/walk brochure, but next morning, opted instead for the guided tour offered by Toowoomba Sightseeing, as we prefer to have the insider’s view. This departs the Visitor Information Centre in James Street at 10am.

Toowoomba Tourist Bus 12th Mar 2019

Toowoomba Sightseeing bus outside the Visitor Information Centre

According to Wikipedia, Toowoomba is the second most populous inland city in the country after the national capital, Canberra. Given the current population is around 137,000, that claim only make sense when you remember that most of Australia’s population is clustered around the coast.

Toowoomba is 125 km (78 mi) west of Brisbane, and the coast. At around 700 metres (2,300 ft) above sea level, Toowoomba sits on the crest of The Great Dividing Range (more than 3,500 kilometres / 2,175 mi of mountains running down the east coast of Australia) , and its rich volcanic soil is the reason it is known as ‘The Garden City‘.

On certain days of the week the bus tour takes in the Westside. Our tour covered the Eastside and lasted a bit over two hours.

The tour is extensive and gives a good overview of the city, its history, architecture, main points of interest, schools, and so on. My photographs, however, are all from the gardens that we stopped at. (oops, third grade teacher in my ear. I meant to say “gardens at which we stopped”).

Who doesn’t love a stroll through a Japanese garden? This one is jointly owned by the University of Queensland and the Toowoomba City Council. It was opened in 1989 and is still developing.

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I can’t remember in which garden we then saw this lovely display.  Perhaps someone will set me straight. The flowers are a little blurred because I keep resizing my photos down before WordPress gobbles up all my allocated storage space. 

Elsewhere, we discovered this beautiful Boab Tree. It looks like an old man, arms akimbo, frustrated because he is trying to give me advice I am not listening to.

Boab Tree Toowoomba 12th Mar 2019 (1)

We spent the afternoon at the Cobb & Co Museum. This museum boasts a fine collection of horse-drawn vehicles and is a tribute to the stage-coaches which were the life-blood of the transport system for Australia in colonial times.

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They also have itinerant special exhibitions. The first we saw was based on the importance of the car in remote outback regions. Told through distinctive humour, an Australian television series of the same name exhibits the ingenuity of bush mechanics. The actual car used in the series was on display. I recommend you to this video. If you don’t have time for the entire twenty-five minutes (and I hope you can – linger over a cup of tea or coffee) then at least drop in at around the four minute mark to see what they had on their hands. If you stick with it, you will discover how branches, spinifex, and sand, can be utilised to keep a car on the road (kids, don’t try this at home).

There was also an exhibition from indigenous woman, Chris Mills-Kelly. Through her (camphor-wood) hand-carvings, in this series she recreates a set of clothing that would have been worn by an indigenous child who was dressed to impress – for a photo opportunity, an interview for adoption, or while on display in a mission home, orphanage, or other state institution. This exhibition consisted of four pieces of clothing: a dress with apron, bonnet, and shoes.

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A message, so deceptively simple, yet so skilled and powerful.

There is so much to see at the Cobb & Co museum, I would recommend a visit between two and four hours, and there is a cafe on site.

15 thoughts on “Toowoomba on Tour

  1. Hi Gwen, great post. The Cobb and Co is a great museum, and even better, it’s free for us locals. The two pictures above with the statue and hedges look like they were taken in Queens Park. The gardens are even better during the Carnival of Flowers in September.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This post was outstanding. I adore great gardens and thought that would be the highlight for me. Yet actual WOOD would become the best part of this, with those stunning, I-want-to-feel-them sculptures by Chris Mills-Kelly. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love parks and gardens, Gwen, and it seems Toowoomba (what an interesting sounding name) has a good share to please the senses. What exquisite woodcarving by Chris Mills-Kelly. It definitely makes for a very strong statement.

    Yip, my photographs often tend to look a bit fuzzy too, as I resize mine a lot to, like you, never run out of space. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • According to Wikipedia there is some dispute over the origin of the name Toowoomba, but they all come back to Aboriginal roots.
      There was another garden we visited the next morning, and I will fiddle with those photos in the next couple of days.
      In my early time of blogging, I didn’t know about photo size, etc. Eventually I’ll have to work out a way to resize all the photos on the old posts.


  4. Interesting post. Always fascinating to see how artists interpret and re-present their shared histories. Chris Mills-Kelly’s medium is so wholly apt for her chosen theme. I totally agree with your perceptive comment.

    Liked by 1 person

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