The Road Ahead : December 2014
QUEENSLAND'S LARGEST CLUB QLD GREAT ESCAPE | TRAVEL OPPOSITE, MAIN IMAGE: ONE OF TOOWOOMBA'S TREE-LINED STREETS; (INSETS) ST LUKE'S CHURCH AND THE FORMER POST OFFICE, WHICH NOW HOUSES A COFFEE SHOP. THIS PAGE, IMAGES LEFT TO RIGHT: THE CITY'S HISTORIC COURT HOUSE, NOW A PRIVATE RESIDENCE; LOCAL BAKERY GOODIES; ONE OF THE MANY PARKS FOR WHICH TOOWOOMBA IS FAMOUS. redevelopment, as their heritage listing requires. But don't be deceived by the impact of the end of one industrial era on the economic vibrancy of this city. Toowoomba is arguably even more of a regional commercial hub now, thanks to the coal seam gas boom that has exploded on its back doorstep. Nor should the current sad state of two historic landmarks suggest that the But even more than its public architecture (and conveniences), it is Toowoomba's traditional housing stock that defines and endears it to so many visitors. From modest workers' cottages and federation houses to cosy, chimney-graced bungalows and grand colonial mansions, the camphor laurel- lined residential streets of the 'old' city project an air of charm and gentility from bygone days. Less than two hours from Brisbane, it all makes for a relaxing and satisfying step back in time in a city that is otherwise firmly focused on the future... DEC 2014/JAN 2015 THE ROAD AHEAD 43 RACQ CAN HELP: PLAN YOUR TRIP TO THIS REGION USING RACQ'S ONLINE TRIP PLANNER AT RACQ.COM. distinctive Toowoomba streetscape has otherwise lost its charm for locals or visitors. From St Luke's on the corner of Herries and Ruthven Streets, to the resurrected art deco splendour of the Empire Theatre in Neill Street -- some 50 other heritage-registered buildings grace the city in most, if not all, of their former glory and still play useful roles in its citizens' public and private lives. Take, for example, Margaret Street's superannuated next-door neighbours: the city's pensioned-off Post Office and its old Court House. The aroma of espresso now wafts from the café on the former's colonnaded ground floor. And the latter's current owners have done the imposing court building great justice with its restoration and conversion into what is probably Queensland's most majestic family home. Despite their new roles, both of these grand old Victorian edifices retain a street presence that characterises the solidity of a town that grew out of a swamp to become one of just a handful of genuine inland cities in Queensland -- and Australia. Up Toowoomba way they even take the history of their municipal sanitation seriously, as evidenced by the local council's decision in relation to the 95-year-old gents' urinal in Russell Street (the city's first sewerage connection in 1926). The distinctive 'dunny' stood in the way of important roadworks, so was carefully dismantled, stored and will be re-erected close by once the works are completed. Whether you slowly cruise by in a car or stroll past, there's sure to be at least one abode fronted by a cottage garden that you could imagine as your own. Less than two hours from Brisbane, it all makes for a relaxing and satisfying step back in time in a city that is otherwise firmly focused on the future. The Toowoomba Regional Council has published a range of historic walk guides, collectively titled A Walk Through History, to assist visitors wanting to explore the city's heritage. These brochures are available from the council's customer service centre at 4 Little Street and Visitor Information Centre at 86 James Street (Warrego Highway).
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