Melba’s last northern stop: Toowoomba

Melba was at Toowoomba twice on her tour. The first time it was a case of a short stop before continuing on to Brisbane. The train trip to and from T’wmba as the locals and media call it, is breathtaking as it travels along the Lockyer Valley and then up the escarpment to town. A long slow journey up and a lot quicker going down to the coast.

Today, the Lockyer Valley is a large food bowl for Queensland which boasts great panoramic views.

We stopped at the showgrounds and were lucky to be right next to the dam which boasted a gaggle of ducks and lots of other feathered friends.

I had arranged to meet Jane at Toowoomba Library’s local history section and Margaret at the Toowoomba Historical Society were a great help. Both provided me with information and most importantly images.

The historical society operates out of the home of the former curator of the Queens Park Gardens so has one of the best outlooks of societies we visited.

At the library’s Special Collections, Michaela was a great help and nothing was too much trouble for her.  The first morning I spent there was going through their Toowoomba Chronicle on microfilm and the second morning checking through their many resources and images.

The grandiose Toowoomba Town Hall built in Ruthven Street in 189
The grandiose Toowoomba Town Hall built in Ruthven Street in 1899 and opened in 1900.

Wandering around the town centre, T’wmba blends the old with the new. Its magnificent town hall where Melba’s concert was staged, has been beautifully restored while in the same block massive retail and commercial developments are underway.

Like Melba we toured around T’wmba and went to Picnic Point on the edge of the escarpment of the Great Dividing Range and as 100 years ago could see many miles across the country towards the coast and northwards.

Views across the Great Dividing Range from Picnic Point, Toowoom
Views across the Great Dividing Range from Picnic Point, Toowoomba 2016.

After her concert at Toowoomba Melba could breathe a sigh of relief as her Queensland tour was finished as were her northern NSW and western NSW tours.

Ahead was Sydney, a rest, a couple of concerts and then the southern NSW tour back home to Victoria.

For us this is our final Blog on our New South Wales and Queensland Back Blocks Tour.


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nellie melba museum

A journalist and historian, for many years I have studied Dame Nellie Melba and written articles, books, and given talks about her. I established the first website int he world dedicated to Melba and still maintain it today as a virtual museum.

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