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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.