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Overview

Toowoomba is the sixth largest city in Queensland and is commonly known as the capital of the Darling Downs. It’s also the largest inland city in Australia after Canberra.

First settled by Europeans in the 1830s, the original township was called The Springs. It was soon renamed Drayton, then became Toowoomba in 1852. A railway line to Ipswich opened in 1867 and from that point on, the town grew rapidly, boosted by the rich farmland to the west.

Today, Toowoomba is a university city with a thriving and diverse economy. It has a developing logistics industry and a strong media sector. Various factors, including its amenities and climate, have made it popular among both retirees and young families.

Toowoomba has a warm temperate climate with cool, dry winters and pleasant summer temperatures. Rainfall is moderate and mostly falls in summer. By Queensland standards, the city is more prone to wind, fog and hail than average. Winter temperatures rarely fall below freezing, although light frost occurs on a few days each year.

Population – 149,512
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander percentage of population – 3.9 percent
Closest major town – Brisbane
Distance from airport – Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport (17.1 km),
Brisbane International (139 km with tolls)
Cinemas – 2
Restaurants – 164
Pubs/bars – 24
Primary schools – 31
Secondary schools – 21
Tertiary education providers – 4
Max average temp – 27.6°C
Min average temp – 5.3°C

  • Population – 140,220
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander percentage of population – 3.4%
  • Closest major town – Brisbane
  • Distance from airport – Toowoomba Airport (4.44 km), Brisbane International (116.47 km)
  • Cinemas – 2
  • Restaurants – 234
  • Pubs/bars – 68
  • Primary schools – 30
  • Secondary schools – 19
  • Tertiary education providers – 4
  • Max average temp – 28.1°C
  • Min average temp – 6.4°C

The location

Toowoomba is located on the crest of the Great Dividing Range. Most of the city is on the western slopes of the range but some parts have escaped over the crest and down the eastern side. Gowrie Creek runs through Toowoomba and then runs west to the Condamine River. The land west of Toowoomba is dominated by agriculture, while landscapes immediately to the east are much less developed and include plenty of natural habitats.

The People

Toowoomba’s residents have a fairly typical age profile, with the median age of 37 matching the state average. The marriage rate is slightly higher than normal, reflected by the city’s popularity among retired people and young families. At the time of the 2016 census it was shown that 31.7 percent of Toowoomba’s population were in some form of educational institute and of that, 19.6 percent were achieving a tertiary of technical degree. A very high percentage of residents were born in Australia, and 3.9 percent are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander ancestry.

Toowoomba has a lively LGBT scene with some well-established venues and regular events.

The Medicine

Health care in Toowoomba is provided by a number of medical centres including:

In addition to these centres, there are four hospitals in Toowoomba: Toowoomba Hospital, St Vincent’s Private Hospital, St Andrew’s Hospital, and Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service. Outside of dermatology provided by the Skin Cancer Clinic of Toowoomba and the Darling Downs Skin Cancer Clinic, and mental health services provided by Grand Central Medical Centre, the three hospitals provide a range of health services including;

  • Intensive Care
  • Geriatric Adult Rehabilitation
  • Haemodialysis
  • Endoscopy
  • Perioperative Services
  • Stomal Therapy & Wound Management
  • ECG, EEG, Stress testing
  • Infection Control
  • Medical Imaging (CT, X-ray, Angiography, Ultrasound, Echocardiography)
  • Haematology
  • Histology
  • Microbiology
  • Pharmacy
  • Blood Bank
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry
  • Psychology
  • Speech Pathology
  • Rural Allied Health Toowoomba Hospital

Aged health care is provided by many facilities, primarily; Bupa Aged Care, Freedom Aged Care, Yukana Retirement Village, Salem Aged Care, and Ozcare. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services are provided at the Iona Medical Centre and the Goolburri Aboriginal Health Advancement..

Toowoomba’s health profile is varied, with much diversity between suburbs, but overall it is somewhat disadvantaged. Median income for the city as a whole is below average, although in some suburbs it’s considerably higher. Lifestyle issues, including smoking, poor diet, unhealthy weight and alcohol misuse, are all prevalent.

Toowoomba is in the Darling Downs & West Moreton PHN and is rated RA2.

Education

Toowoomba has a good selection of schools, whether you prefer the state or private approach. There are over a dozen state primaries and seven high schools, plus a choice of independent schools covering all age groups.

The city is home to the main campus of the University of Southern Queensland, which offers a wide range of degree and postgraduate courses. Other educational institutions include TAFE Queensland South West and an UQ rural Clinical School.

Career options for partners

Toowoomba has a fairly diverse employment market and unemployment of only 7 percent. Health care is the largest sector, followed by Education, and 19.6 percent of employed residents are in the professional bracket; this contrasts with many smaller towns, where professional vacancies can be hard to find.

Just over 30.4 percent of residents work part-time, with retail and catering being popular options. 21.2 percent of residents indicate that they have volunteered through an organisation or group. Schools and hospitals make use of volunteers, while others help out at community centres and various social groups. In town, active organisations include The Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul and Toowoomba Hospital Foundation.

Arts and Culture

Toowoomba isn’t short of opportunities to enjoy your hobbies or learn a new one. There are plenty of music teachers and a great selection of craft groups. You can learn piano, clarinet, violin and have voice lessons from several dozen instructors. Theatre is well represented by The Empire Theatre, Toowoomba Repertory Theatre and The Mill Street Tavern. There are three dance centres, two movie cinemas and a number of art guilds including:

  • Toowoomba Spinners, Weavers & Dyers Group
  • Darling Downs Potters’ Club
  • Embroiderer’s Guild of Queensland
  • Queensland Cake Decorators Association
  • Toowoomba Knit and Natter

Art lovers can join the Toowoomba Art Society as well as enjoy several galleries, with a strong emphasis on local artists. Tosari Galleries regularly hosts work by indigenous artists. The city also has a number of museums. Local events include the annual Carnival of Flowers in September, which will be celebrating its 70th year in 2019.

Great Outdoors

Although Toowoomba is the major city on the Darling Downs, it’s still easy to return to nature whenever you feel like it, with over 60 parks in the city alone. There are some areas of bush to the southwest, and any sort of easterly direction will bring you to the Great Dividing Range. Ravensbourne National Park is a short drive away and has a great variety of native habitats, including the best-preserved rainforest in the region which hosts some amazing bird life. Crow’s Nest National Park is best known for its waterfall and impressive cliffs, but the eucalypt forests are also worth seeing. This park has camping facilities, too, making it ideal for longer trips. For those who love bushwalking, there are several options:

  • Picnic Point Park
  • Glen Lomond Park
  • Jubilee Park
  • Redwood Park
  • Lockyer National Park
  • Toowoomba Bushwalkers Club has a full Event Calendar

Toowoomba has enough sporting opportunities to keep anyone busy. As well as all the main team sports, there are clubs devoted to outdoor activities, motor sports and martial arts. Local teams have a strong following, too. Golfers will find two clubs, both with 18-hole courses, plus a city driving range. Clubs include:

  • Toowoomba Rangers Rugby Union Club
  • Brothers Toowoomba Rugby League Club
  • Willowburn Football Club
  • Toowoomba East Stingers Junior Australian Football Club
  • Laurel Bank Croquet Club
  • Range Tennis Club
  • Downs Four Wheel Drive Club
  • Toowoomba Table Tennis
  • Middle Ridge Golf Club
  • Toowoomba City Golf Club
  • Bun Bu Ryo Do – USQ Martial Arts Club
  • The Glennie Swimming Club
  • Toowoomba Basketball Association
  • North Toowoomba Bowls Club
  • USQ Firebirds Softball Club
  • Toowoomba Lacrosse Club
  • Toowoomba Mountain Bike Club
  • Toowoomba Motocross Club
  • Toowoomba Cricket Club
  • Toowoomba Cycling Club

If you prefer to simply cheer on the local team, Toowoomba has several of those as well, including:

  • Toowoomba Rangers (Rugby Union)
  • Toowoomba City (Rugby Union)
  • Toowoomba Bears (Junior Rugby Union)
  • Toowoomba Clydesdales (Rugby League)
  • Toowoomba Valley Roosters (Rugby league)
  • Toowoomba Tigers (AFL)

Social Scene

Because Toowoomba is the cultural and sports centre for the surrounding area, there is always a lot happening around town each week. From live music and theatre performances to local sports teams and school events, there is something for everyone in Toowoomba.

Toowoomba has a lively LGBT scene, with some well-established venues and regular events.

Toowoomba has a lively nightlife and draws in people from smaller surrounding towns who fancy widening their social horizons. There’s no shortage of hotels, pubs and clubs, so you should be able to find somewhere that suits your tastes.

If shopping is more your scene, Toowoomba is the retail hub for most of the Darling Downs. For the surrounding communities, it’s the place to go if you’re looking for more than the local shops can offer. The Grand Central shopping mall, just outside the city centre, has an extensive range of shops. There are also several smaller malls and a wide choice of high street retailers. Toowoomba also has a few regular markets: My Local Feast Farmers’ Markets – every Thursday, Toowoomba’s Farmers’ Markets – every Saturday, PCYC Markets – each Sunday, Dine Down Town – the 2nd Friday of each month, Queens Park Markets – 3rd Sunday of each month, and Margaret St Markets – 1st Sunday every month.

Food and Drink

There are plenty of restaurants in Toowoomba. Dining venues cover everything from traditional diners to upscale establishments perfect for special occasions, as well as a wide variety of ethnic cuisines.

Café culture has well and truly reached Toowoomba, and you can easily find quality coffee and snacks almost anywhere in the city.

Housing

Toowoomba has a very diverse housing stock; steady growth, with a spurt in the 1980s and 90s, has kept builders busy, and there’s a selection of homes of different ages. Separate houses are predominant but there are also significant numbers of semi-detached and terraced town houses – around 12.2 percent of all homes – and few flats or apartments – 4.9 percent.

Demand for housing is average to slightly above, so it’s still quite an affordable place to live. Median price for a three bedroom house is $343,500 with rental for a similar home at $305 per week.

Transport

Transit from Toowoomba by train is the thrice-weekly Westlander service between Brisbane and Charleville with stops in Toowoomba on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. For bus service, the Greyhound & Murray Coaches both run regular services to Brisbane. There’s an extensive city bus service run by Bus Queensland, with many buses existing on the TransLink network.

If you prefer to do the driving yourself, the Warrego Highway to Brisbane (east) and Dalby (west) as well as the A39 to Milmerran (west) are quite good. Roads in the area are well maintained.

Other attractions

Broadband is available both through ADSL2+, NBN fibre, Mobile Broadband and Home Wireless.

Toowoomba is also known as the Garden City and sometimes the Queen City. It’s well known for its huge array of parks and public gardens.

A long list of well-known people come from Toowoomba, including politicians, sports stars and media personalities. The botanist Leonard John Brass, author Steele Rudd and cricketer Martin Love are among those who come from the city.

In 2008, Toowoomba was chosen as the tidiest city in Australia.