This small but prosperous town began as a railway terminus in the late 1800s but soon became the hub for the nearby farming community. In the last decade or two, many commuters from Ipswich and even Brisbane have discovered this charming community, with its affordable housing and plenty of amenities nearby for families.
- Population – 4,159
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander percentage of population – 6.0%
- Closest major town/city – Ipswich (31 km)
- Distance from airport – 79 km (Brisbane)
- Cinemas – 0
- Cafes/restaurants – 5
- Pubs/bars – 2
- Primary schools – 1
- Secondary schools – 1
- Tertiary education providers – 0
- Annual average maximum temperature – 26.8°C
- Annual average minimum temperature – 13.1°C
Located in the Brisbane Valley, Lowood is 31 km northwest of Ipswich and 66 km west of Brisbane and sits on a U-shaped bend in the Brisbane River.
With a median age of 35, Lowood’s population is a bit younger than the national average. Its increasing popularity as a commuter town (between the 2006 and 2016 censuses the population increased by almost 50 percent) coupled with its affordable housing makes it the perfect place to raise a family, which may be why the town has a high ratio of families with young children. Almost a quarter of the population are children under 15 years of age.
While a little over 80 percent of today’s population were born in Australia, more than 8 percent are of German ancestry. Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people make up 6 percent of the community.
Although there is no hospital in Lowood (the closest is Ipswich Hospital) there is a medical centre, Stellar Medical, which has around a dozen GPs, including a skin cancer practitioner. The clinic offers a full range of medical services for all ages as well as allied health services such as podiatry and audiometry. The town also has an ambulance station and an aged care facility, Glenwood Hostel, which is run by Blue Care.
Lowood’s health profile is somewhat disadvantaged, likely influenced by residents’ lower than average incomes compared to elsewhere in the state. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, unhealthy weight and poor diet also have an impact, although residents do tend to be reasonably active.
Lowood is in the Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN and is rated RA2.
Lowood has both a state primary and secondary school, so education from Prep through to Year 12 is covered in the town. There are also two early education centres. Although there are no private schools in Lowood, nearby Ipswich has a number of options for all age groups.
For further education, there are a few options nearby, with a campus of the University of Southern Queensland in Ipswich and The University of Queensland’s campus at Gatton. In addition, there are campuses of TAFE Queensland South West in Ipswich.
Career options for partners
While opportunities for work in Lowood may be somewhat limited (the unemployment rate is close to 13 percent) both Ipswich and Brisbane are within commuting distance, providing further options. Close to half of the town’s workforce are engaged in blue collar occupations, with meat processing and road freight transport among the top industries. Other industries of employment include grocery stores, education and aged care services.
The level of voluntary work undertaken by Lowood’s residents is a little lower than for other parts of the state, however, volunteer organisations in the town are limited. Some of the options available are Meals on Wheels, the Blue Care Op Shop, the local Lions Club or the SES unit.
Arts and culture
European settlement of the Brisbane Valley commenced in the mid 1800s, and Lowood still has remnants of its history. Follow the heritage trail to see some of the town’s early buildings including the railway station, original post office and the old Jubilee Theatre, now a shop. For more modern offerings head to the Folk Art Cooperative, which features local craft, produce and homemade foods. Or for the artistically inclined, the Open Door Gallery has both art exhibitions and classes.
There are opportunities for children to become involved in dance, with ballet, jazz, hip hop and contemporary dance classes available in Lowood. For music lessons, there is a local guitar teacher, but for tuition in other instruments Ipswich is the best bet.
For families that love to spend time outdoors, Lowood is a town with plenty to offer. Nearby Jensens Swamp Environmental Reserve has over 4 km of bush trails to follow and an interesting and unique ecosystem that is perfect for birdwatching. It is also a habitat for koalas and other wildlife, and includes a sensory garden.
There are several national parks in the surrounding area, the closest being D’Aguilar National Park, less than 40 km to the north. It offers a range of activities including horse or trail bike riding, walking and cycling in a variety of habitats, and there are both formal and remote bush campgrounds for overnight or longer stays. Other parks within easy driving distance of Lowood include Esk National Park and Ravensbourne National Park, with its rainforests, trails through the mountains that offer breathtaking views and a diverse array of birdlife.
If water sports are more your scene, Lake Wivenhoe and the smaller Atkinson Dam, both not far from town, are perfect for everything from swimming and picnics to fishing and boating, and there are campgrounds at both sites. If you prefer a quiet paddle, there is a launching point for the Brisbane River Canoe Trail at Lowood Bend Reserve on the town’s eastern edge. The canoe trail extends for 56 km between Wivenhoe and Kholo.
Another trail that passes through Lowood is the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, ideal for cycling enthusiasts, horse riders and walkers. Travel along the trail from Lowood to the neighbouring towns of Fernvale or Coominya, or explore more of the trail’s 157 km length, which passes through farmland, bush and forest.
If sports are what you’re looking for, there are several to choose from in Lowood including rugby, soccer and softball. There is also a bowling green, a nine-hole golf course and outdoor gym. The local swimming pool offers swimming and aqua aerobics classes in addition to general swimming, and there is also a walking group in the town.
Food and drink
In addition to the restaurants at the town’s hotels, Lowood has several other options for either eating in or picking up a takeaway meal. There’s a Chinese restaurant, pizza store and a couple of coffee shops, so whether you’re after breakfast, lunch, tea or just a quick snack, there are choices available.
The growth in population in Lowood in the early 2000s was accompanied by a housing boom, and because of this much of the town’s housing stock is relatively new. However, the demand for housing has now levelled out, meaning that property can be found for reasonable prices. While there are a few townhouses and flats in the town, most properties are separate houses with yards, ideal for young families. The median price for a three-bedroom house in Lowood is $216,000, and to rent a similar home would cost around $275 a week.
It is only a short drive from Lowood to the Brisbane Valley Highway (A17) and the Warrego Highway (A2/M2), which allows easy access to Brisbane and other parts of Queensland. Although Lowood began as a rail centre for the local area, it no longer has a rail service. However, there is a bus service to the town. Westside Bus Co runs the route 529 service between Ipswich and Lowood six days a week, with some services continuing on to Toogoolawah. From Ipswich, there are buses and trains to Brisbane and many other destinations around the country.
Broadband via ADSL2+ is available throughout Lowood, with speeds up to 15Mbps. Connection to the National Broadband Network is available in some parts of the town, but still in the planning stage in others. NBN is expected to provide speeds up to 100Mbps when connected.