With its rural charm and antiquity, Toowoomba has won over the hearts of more than 120,000 residents and even more tourists arriving each year. Toowoomba is one of the largest inland cities in Australia and is the biggest inland settlement in Queensland. More than 150 beautiful parks and gardens open to the public have given Toowoomba the title of the Garden City.
Like all great places, there is more to the city of Toowoomba than the spectacular views and elegant buildings. Behind every nook and cranny is a history seeping with culture.
The Discovery of Toowoomba
Allan Cunningham, an English botanist and explorer, arrived in Australia from Brazil in 1816. Shortly after, he discovered 4 million acres of rich farming and grazing land east of the Great Dividing Range ⏤ this later became known as the Darling Downs.
By 1830, the first settlers arrived in the Darling Downs. They established a township of different shops which was first named The Springs, then soon renamed as Drayton. In less than 20 years, Drayton had developed into a more sufficient municipality, with its own newspaper, general store, trading post, and inn. This further expanded as drovers and wagon masters spread the word about the settlement.
Tracing The Name
Cunningham was the one who named the region Darling Downs. He named it after the New South Wales governor at the time, Ralph Darling. “Toowoomba”, however, has more of a mysterious origin. The name itself was only accepted in 1858 when a property in the North of Drayton was called Toowoomba by the squatter Thomas Alford.
Despite accepting the name, people are still unsure of what “Toowoomba” actually means in the language of the Barumggam locals. Some suggest that it came from the term “tchwampa”- the swamp, or “choowoom”- a native melon, or “woomba woomba” meaning “reeds in the swamp”. It is still debated nowadays what “Toowoomba” meant, although there are no arguments that it is now the magnificent Garden City of Australia.
Toowoomba: More Than Just An Attraction
Toowoomba had long been established as the regional capital for Darling Downs and for a good reason. The Garden City has been and continues to be a centre for commerce, industry, and education.
Suburban living was developed and further recognised throughout the region after World War II. Toowoomba transitioned into a municipality on 24 November, 1860, as petitioned by its local residents.
The Railway Station was built in 1874 which increased trade and helped the town grow through elegant buildings and tree plantings. By 1904, Toowoomba officially became a city.
In the early 1900s, the city’s tourism and recreation industry started to boom. Aside from the perfect climate, tourists were well attracted to the variety and lushness of Toowoomba’s plants, the famous Spring Carnival of Flowers, exotic architecture, and honourable monuments, just to name a few.
Even before the twentieth century, we see how Toowoomba grew as a centre and as a community. The city had stood as a regional commercial centre for thriving industries such as distribution, finance, and education.
A Walk Through History
There is a massive difference between reading and experiencing. Currently, Toowoomba offers multiple brochures and tours on the exploration of its history and cultural legacies. With several “A Walk Through History” brochures, you can learn more about Toowoomba than ever before!
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