6 km SSW of Toowoomba
Drayton is an outer southwestern suburb which was the first substantial settlement on the Darling Downs, initially being established in 1842. The nearby township of Toowoomba expanded more rapidly than Drayton, and in the 1860’s the centre of population shifted to Toowoomba, leaving Drayton as a southwestern suburb.
Drayton started out as a settlement near a number of pastoral properties in the Eastern Downs in the early half of the 1840’s. Thomas Alford, an early settler in the area who built a house, general store, and post office in the area, named the town after his home village in Somerset. Drayton continued to be the primary settlement in the region until the town of Toowoomba was established four miles to the north-east, whereupon the centre of population rapidly moved to the newer settlement owing to its better access to water and favourable growing conditions. By 1905, the Australian Handbook stated that the town “may now almost be considered a suburb of Toowoomba”.
One of the oldest buildings in the Drayton area is the Royal Bull’s Head Inn. The town also saw the area’s first newspaper, the Darling Downs Gazette, in 1858. The National School (later Drayton State School) established in 1851, was one of the first in Queensland.
Drayton has a core of homes dating to the 19th century and a substantial number of homes and commercial premises dating from the mid years of the 20th century. More recently a large number of detached homes and growing numbers of multi-unit dwellings were built in the 1990’s and 2000’s, mostly targeted at students from the nearby University of Southern Queensland. To the west of Drayton, the southern part of ANZAC Avenue forms the axis of a growing industrial and commercial district extending west and north towards Glenvale.
Drayton has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- Beatrice Street: St Matthew’s Anglican Church
- Brisbane Street: Royal Bull’s Head Inn
- 56 Gwynne Street: O’Shea’s Drayton Cottage
Drayton lies in the Toowoomba Region, a local government area in Queensland. Toowoomba elects Councillors from the Region as a whole rather than from wards/districts, so there is no local representative as such. From 1887 to 1949, Drayton had its own local government, the Shire of Drayton. The people of Drayton and surrounding areas are represented in the Commonwealth Parliament by Ian MacFarlane, Liberal Party member for Groom.
Royal Bull’s Head Inn
- 1847-48: Inn first built; founded by William Horton, an English convict
- 1858: Currently extant brick and plastered timber structure substantially complete
- 1879: No longer in use as an inn, became a private home
- 1973: Purchased by the National Trust
- 1976: Ongoing restoration began
The building now serves as a show-case of life in the 1870’s. Some rooms have been maintained in their original state.
- Thomas Alford, pioneer of Drayton and Toowoomba
- Arthur Hoey Davis, better known as author Steele Rudd, was born in Drayton in 1868.
- Reverend Benjamin Glennie, pioneer Anglican clergyman served the Darling Downs for many years and was resident in Drayton from 1850 to 1860 and from 1872 to 1876
- James Purcell, an important figure in the Queensland dairy industry in the early 20th century, was born in Drayton.