Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
Toowoomba (nicknamed 'The Garden City') is a city
in South East Queensland, Australia. It is located
127 km (79 mi) west of Queensland's capital city,
Brisbane. With an estimated district population of
128,600, Toowoomba is Australia's second largest
inland city, and its largest non-capital inland
A university and cathedral city, Toowoomba hosts the Australian Carnival of Flowers each September, and Easterfest is held annually over the Easter weekend. There are more than 150 public parks and gardens in Toowoomba. It has developed into a regional centre for business and government services.
Toowoomba is situated at a latitude and longitude of 27°33′S 151°57′E / 27.55°S 151.95°E / -27.55; 151.95. Toowoomba sits on the crest of the Great Dividing Range, around 700 metres (2,300 ft) above sea level. A few streets are on the eastern side of the edge of the range, but most of the city is west of the divide.
The City occupies the edge of the range and the low ridges behind it. Two valleys run north from the southern boundary, each arising from springs either side of Middle Ridge near Spring Street at an altitude of around 680 m. These waterways, East Creek and West Creek flow together just north of the CBD to form Gowrie Creek.
Gowrie Creek drains to the west across the Darling Downs and is a tributary of the Condamine River, part of the Murray-Darling Basin. The water flowing down Gowrie Creek makes its way some 3,000 km (1,900 mi) to the mouth of the Murray River near Adelaide in South Australia. Rain which falls on the easternmost streets of Toowoomba flows east to Moreton Bay a distance of around 170 km (110 mi).
Toowoomba's history has been preserved in its buildings. Examples of architecture drawing from the city's wealthy beginnings include Toowoomba City Hall which was Queensland's first purpose-built town hall, the National Trust Royal Bull's Head Inn and many examples in the heritage-listed Russell Street. Immediately to the east of the CBD is the Caledonian Estate, an area of turn of the 20th century housing, ranging from humble workers cottages to large stately homes, in the classic wooden Queenslander style.
Toowoomba is also home to The Empire Theatre, which was originally opened in June 1911, as a silent movie house. In February 1933, fire broke out, almost completely destroying the building. However, the Empire was rebuilt and reopened in November 1933. The architectural styling of the new Empire Theatre was art deco, in keeping with the trend of the 1930s. After years of neglect, the Empire Theatre was extensively renovated in the late 1990s, but retains much of its art deco architecture and decorations, especially the proscenium arch. Able to seat approximately 1,500 people, the Empire Theatre is now the largest regional theatre in Australia.
The City also is home to the Cobb & Co Museum, hailing to the famous mail company's beginnings as a small mail run in the 1800s to transport mail and passengers to Brisbane and beyond. It also houses Australia's largest collection of horse-drawn vehicles. The museum has undergone a AU$8 million redevelopment before reopening in September 2010.
Toowoomba enjoys four distinct seasons and the rich volcanic soil in the region helps maintain the 150 public parks that are scattered across the city. Jacaranda, Camphor laurel and Plane trees line many of the city streets. The city's reputation as 'The Garden City' is highlighted during the Australian Carnival of Flowers festival held in September each year. Deciduous trees from around the world line many of the parks, giving a display of autumn colour. This is particularly rare in Australia, as nearly the entire continent is forested with evergreens.
Daily maximum temperatures in Toowoomba average 27 °C (81 °F) in summer and 16 °C (61 °F) in winter. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the highest temperature ever recorded in Toowoomba was 39.3 °C (102.7 °F), while the lowest was −4.4 °C (24 °F). Winter temperatures seldom go below freezing, however in a situation unique among Queensland cities, snow has been reported on the higher parts of the city on rare occasions. Light frost will be experienced several nights each winter in the city centre, more often in the western suburbs.
Average annual rainfall, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, is 944 millimetres (37.2 in) per year in Toowoomba City. Rainfall in the eastern suburbs along the Great Diving Range nudges 1,000 mm (39 in) per year.
Toowoomba is nationally renowned for its annual Flower Festival, held each year in September. Many of the city's major parks and gardens are especially prepared for the Festival, which also includes a prominent Home Garden Competition, with persons able to visit participating homes and gardens for inspection, and a Parade with flower-themed floats. Buses bring people from around the nation, and a popular way to arrive at the Festival from Brisbane is on specially chartered retired steam or diesel train, which captures the yesteryear aspect of travel to Toowoomba in 19th century wooden carriages.
Toowoomba is serviced by three commercial national network stations and two national non-commercial network stations. These are Seven Queensland, Southern Cross Ten, WIN Television, ABC TV (ABC1) and SBS TV (SBS ONE).
Each broadcasts television services in both analogue and digital formats, with analogue transmissions to be deactivated in the second half of 2011.
SBS offers digital high-definition simulcasts of their main channel, SBS ONE on SBS HD.
Nine digital-only channels are also available: ABC2, ABC3, ABC News 24, GEM, GO!, One HD, SBS Two, 7Two, and 7mate.
News for Toowoomba is screened every weeknight at 6:30pm on WIN Television, broadcast from the WIN studios in the Toowoomba suburb of Mount Lofty. News is presented by Samantha Heathwood, with sport presenter Pat O'Shea and weather with Peter Byrne. On weekends news is relayed from Channel 9, Brisbane.
Seven Queensland and Southern Cross Ten have a physical presence in Toowoomba, but local news programs do not exist on these channels. Instead, they only carry news bulletins from Brisbane stations, Channel 7 and Channel 10.
Brisbane metropolitan commercial channels BTQ-7 (Seven Network), QTQ-9 (Nine Network) and TVQ-10 (Network Ten) broadcasting from transmission towers at Mount Coot-tha can also be received in some parts of Toowoomba.
There are extensive suburban bus services operated by Bus Queensland (who took over from Garden City Sunbus) throughout the city from around 9:00 am to around 5:30 pm Monday to Friday. A limited service runs Saturday. There are no Sunday services.
There are frequent inter-city bus services between Toowoomba and Brisbane, and other centres.
Toowoomba is not included in TransLink, the Southeast Queensland integrated public transport system—a matter of some local contention.
Toowoomba has a twice weekly rail service from Brisbane to Charleville, Queensland and return on QR's Westlander.
There are no local rail or tram services, however the development of a suburban railway system has been flagged. Toowoomba is criss-crossed by several railway lines which are largely unused, or used for freight, and idle railway stations can be found in the suburbs (including Ballard, Drayton, Harlaxton and Harristown) dating to when these localities were separate centres.
Toowoomba is serviced by Toowoomba Airport, which is used by the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Darling Downs Aeroclub.