- Category: History
- Hits: 1610
The original Cobb & Co was established in Melbourne at the height of the gold rush by four American partners, including including Freeman Cobb.
The intent was to serve the gold fields but soon included services for passengers, gold and mail.
The company had changed hands several times, and the original founders of the company sold it in 1856, which was purchased by another American, John Rutherford.
The company expanded into New South Wales in 1862 when the gold was discovered at Bathurst. Further expansion into Queensland occurred in 1865 and the first service to operate there was between Ipswich and Brisbane, then eventually further expansion into regional Queensland. Toowoomba was the first stop in Queensland upon entry from the southern state of New South Wales.
At the height of it’s success in 1881, the Cobb & Co became a company and had over 3,000 horses, £50,000 in capital, and covered a network of over 10,000 miles a week.
The Queensland/New South Wales branch of the Cobb & Co eventually separated from the Victorian arm to form two separate entities.
Horse driven carriages services ultimately reached the height of their usefulness in the late nineteenth century, when other means of transport including trains, cars and air services provided a more efficient means.
The last coach service to operate in Queensland was in August 1924.
The Cobb & Co Museum which is a part of the Queensland Museum, was open in 1987 to showcase Australia’s finest collection of horse drawn carriages, including a collection of three carriages from the Cobb and Co which the museum is named after.
The museums collection was the result of a tireless passion by Mr William (Bill) Robert Fossey (WRF) Bolton (1905 – 1973) to gather the collection.
Mr Bolton had collected the carriages originally and had them on display in James St, Toowoomba from 1965 until a fire almost destroyed the collection in 1981, but luckily the collection was managed to be saved.
Prior to 1982 the museum barely had a collection of any horse drawn carriages until the collection was donated to the museum by the daughter and son in law of Mr Bolton.
The vehicles remained in storage from 1982 until 1987 when a new location in Toowoomba was located for them.
In 2001 the second stage of the Cobb & Co museum development was completed for a display space for Toowoomba & Darling Downs history. The museum now encompasses an area of over 2,000 square meters. In 2010 the museum had an $8 million redevelopment.
The museum currently house over 50 horse drawn carriages. It is climate controlled, is wheel chair accessible and has a gift shop.
Website: Cobb and Co. Museum
Address: 27 Lindsay St, Toowoomba
- Category: Entertainment
- Hits: 1466
The Empire Theatre in Toowoomba is the largest regional theatre in Australia and is owned by the Toowoomba Regional Council.
The original theatre was built in 1911, but was rebuilt in 1933 after being subject to fire. The building is of an art deco style and contains amazing architectural style including a proscenium arch. Palm trees grace the exterior of the building.
Until the advent of television during the 1960, the Empire Theatre was the centre of entertainment for the Toowoomba community. The unfortunate gradual decline of audience numbers however ultimately culminated with the screening of the last film at the theatre in 1971.
Eventually the theatre was sold to businessmen in 1973. The Queensland government purchased the building in 1975 and was used as a technical college and Technical And Further Education (TAFE).
The building was purchased by the Toowoomba city council and underwent extensive renovations during the 1990’s whilst still retaining much of the buildings original architectural features. The building was reopened in 1997.
The main stage has a width of thirteen meters and a depth of twelve meters. There is enough seating capacity for up to 1565 persons.
The Emipre Theatre comprises a precinct of several venues, including the main auditorium, the recently purpose built Armitage Centre, Empire Church Theatre, Empire Theatre Studio, The Supper Room and The Lounge Bar.
Theatre performances include music, children's events, circus and magic events, dance, musical theatre and cabaret, comedy, drama, classical and film.
The different venues of the theatre can be booked for various functions, events meetings, conferences. The theatre also holds several tours of the precinct hilighting the history and architecture of the theatre.
The Empire Theatre is located at 54-56 Neil St, Toowoomba
Website address: Empire Theatre
- Category: History
- Hits: 1569
The Royal Bull's Head Inn was built in 1859 by William Horton, an ex-convict from England who was charged with larceny.
William built the inn at a location known as 'The Springs' later renamed Drayton, the first area of the Toowoomba region to be settled.
The inn was ideally situated as Drayton was part of the thoroughfare between Brisbane and the Darling Downs region.
It was extended in the late 1850's, although by this time, Toowoomba, then known as 'The Swamp' was already established and expanding fast.
The Inn was acquired by the National Trust of Queensland in 1973 after the last surviving member of William's immediate family, his son Alan Lynch died.
The ground floor was renovated in 1984, and the top floor in 1987.
The University of Southern Queensland conducted archaeological excavations in 2014 to uncover any artifacts pertaining to the Inn's history, although archaeological excavations had also been conducted in the 1970's.
- Category: Flora
- Hits: 1771
The botanical name of the Arrowhead Violet is Viola Betonicifolia, it is an evergreen perennial, also referred to as the Mountain Violet is a species of violet native along the eastern side of Australia mainly along the Great Dividing Range, which Toowoomba sits on. This species of violet is also common in India and Pakistan.
So named due to the shape of it's leaf in the formation of an arrowhead shape, in comparison to its European cousin Viola Odorata which instead has a large heart shaped leaf formation.
The violet prefers a semi shaded rockery environment such as the edge of forests.
The Australia Fritillary Butterfly, which is now almost extinct is dependent on the Arrowhead violet for existence.
- Category: History
- Hits: 1603
Spring Bluff Railway Station forms part of the Ipswich to Toowoomba rail line.
Construction of the line began in 1864 and the premier train came through Toowoomba in 1867.
Originally known as Highfields Train Station, it was renamed Spring Bluff Railway Station in the later part of the nineteenth century by then Queensland railway commissioner Robert John Gray.
The namesake comes from the spring water and sandstone bluffs (broad rounded cliffs) that were prevalent in the area, hence ‘Spring Bluff’.
The railway station today itself serves no operational capacity, this having been ended in 1992, but it still serves as a reminder of the railway heritage and famous garden landscapes of the area and social significance at the time.
The station was heritage listed by the National Trust of Queensland in 1994.
- Category: Arts and Literature
- Hits: 2330
The aim was to showcase works of art from the Toowoomba region, and to that extent, the gallery itself was established by the Toowoomba Art Society in 1937.
Originally located in a section of the Toowoomba City Hall, and eventually consuming an entire floor, the gallery is the oldest public regional art gallery in Queensland.
A movement to give the art gallery a dedicated premises by the Toowoomba Art Gallery Society culminated with an old office building adjacent to the Toowoomba City Hall being purpose modified and fitted to accommodate three times the area of the gallery's former location.
In 1994 the gallery relocated to its present location, 531 Ruthven Street, Toowoomba, and the gallery now hosts approximately 3000 pieces of artwork.
The Gallery has three permanent collections, those being the Toowoomba City Collection, the Lionel Lindsay Gallery and Library and the Fred and Lucy Gould Collection. The Gallery also offers a section dedicated to local artists as well.
The Gallery itself is owned and run by the Toowoomba Regional Council and offers guided tours and a Gallery shop with great gift ideas.
Useful links: Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery