Clifton is a small but rapidly growing town that serves as a commercial and agricultural hub for the surrounding farms. Big on sports and outside activities (especially if they involve horses), the town is a great place to raise a family. It is popular with people working in both Toowoomba and Warwick as it offers the quiet life of a small town but is within easy driving distance of the larger centres and all they have to offer.
- Population – 1,456
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander percentage of population – 5.4%
- Closest major town/city – Warwick (45 km); Toowoomba (48 km)
- Distance from airport – 34 km (Warwick); 171 km (Brisbane)
- Cinemas – 0
- Cafes/restaurants – 1
- Pubs/bars – 3
- Primary schools – 2
- Secondary schools – 1
- Tertiary education providers – 0
- Annual average maximum temperature – 24.7°C
- Annual average minimum temperature – 10.5°C
Located in the middle of farmland on a fertile plain that looms large in its history, Clifton is west of the Main Range and about midway between Toowoomba to the north and Warwick to the south. The A3 highway just east of the town links Clifton to these two cities.
With a median age of 49, Clifton residents average out a little older than the national and state populations, mostly because of the larger number of seniors in the town. There is also a smaller population of 20 to 50-year-olds, giving the stats an older skew. More than a third of residents have undertaken 10 years or less of schooling, and almost half follow either the Catholic or Anglican religions.
Clifton’s healthcare needs are provided by the Clifton Medical Practice, which is integrated with Clifton Co-op Hospital. The hospital complex also provides aged care in the Nursing Home and Nirvana Hostel. Vedette Villas provides residents self-contained accommodation supported by the hospital. A local ambulance station also services the town.
With 29 percent of Clifton’s residents aged 65 and over, there’s quite a high burden of chronic illness among the population. Lifestyle factors are also a concern, with above average smoking prevalent and many people at an unhealthy weight. Median incomes are below average, which also has health implications.
Clifton is part of the Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN and is rated RA2.
Clifton covers the basics for education quite well. It has a day care facility (Treasure Island) and a public primary school (Clifton State School). It also has a Catholic primary school, St Francis de Sales School. The lone high school is Clifton State High School, so parents who wish their children to attend a Catholic high school after St Francis de Sales send them to Warwick. There are no colleges or tertiary educational facilities in Clifton, but the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba is only 42 km away.
Career options for partners
While more than a quarter of Clifton’s workforce hold either managerial or professional positions, 17 percent of workers are employed as labourers. The industries offering employment include agriculture, hospitals, freight transport and grocery stores. More than a third of the workforce is employed part-time, with full-time employment well below state and national levels. However, the unemployment rate is only a little higher than the Queensland average. The rate of volunteering is high at almost 25 percent.
Arts and culture
There were once many dairy farms in the Clifton area, and the town’s old butter factory is now the Clifton Museum, hosting a tribute to the area’s past. Roselawn Vintage Machinery houses vintage vehicles and memorabilia, including what is thought to be the most comprehensive collection of vintage Caterpillar tractors in the Southern Hemisphere. In Nobby, a few kilometres north of Clifton, is the Sister Kenny Museum, a memorial to Sister Elizabeth Kenny, a local who developed an innovative and controversial treatment for polio victims.
Clifton has a few special interest groups, including Clifton & District Historical Society, Clifton Craft Group and Clifton Garden & Floral Group. There is a dance studio in the town, however, for classes in art and music it seems that Toowooomba or Warwick are the places to go.
While it is true that Clifton is set amongst farmland, there are two national parks – Main Range National Park and Moogerah Peaks National Park – within easy driving range of the town. These are both great places for bushwalking, camping, beautiful scenery and some of the most unspoiled forests in Queensland.
If you are looking to enjoy the outdoors a little closer to home, parks in the town include Elsie Jones Park and Centenary Park. Clifton has tennis and basketball courts, an 18-hole golf course, a heated swimming pool and a skate park. For the kids, there are play groups, and the local scout troop is quite active, along with the TNT Youth Group.
To see animals from around the world, the Darling Downs Zoo is just a short drive out of town on the Gatton-Clifton Road.
Food and drink
With just one cafe, one takeaway food store and three pubs in Clifton, the options for eating out are somewhat limited. The cafe – Clifton Jam Factory and Coffee Shop – is a popular spot with a good range to choose from. The three hotels all offer meals and entertainment and are quite lively and popular with the locals. Nobby, just north of Clifton, is home to Rudd’s Pub, where author Steele Rudd is reputed to have penned his Dad and Dave stories. For fine dining, locals need to head out of town to nearby Toowoomba or Warwick.
Not surprisingly, with Clifton currently in the middle of a period of growth, many of the homes are recently constructed. The few flats are primarily in the town centre. The houses tend to be separate houses with large yards and are quite roomy inside and built to a high standard. The median price for a three-bedroom home in Clifton is $192,250, with a rental for the same size home at $240 per week.
Clifton is not on a rail route, and the closest train station is in Toowoomba, connecting to Brisbane and throughout Queensland. There is a bus service operated by Crisps Coaches that runs between Toowoomba and Tenterfield, stopping in Clifton along the way. But for getting out of town your best bet is to drive, with the New England Highway (A3) to Toowoomba and Warwick only around 8 km out of town. From this highway you can access the rest of the Queensland highway network quite easily.
Broadband – Currently broadband is available via ADSL2+, with speeds of up to 24Mbps available. Clifton is due to be added to the National Broadband Network in 2018.