13 km N of Toowoomba
Highfields is both a town and a locality just north of Toowoomba, along the New England Highway. It is situated on the Great Dividing Range, slightly north of Mount Kynoch. It serves as a satellite town to the city of Toowoomba, accommodating many of Toowoomba businesses’ employees. At the 2011 census, Highfields had a population of 8,012. It is the fastest growing area in Queensland and also one of the fastest in Australia.
The area probably takes its name from the Highfields pastoral run, north of the township. The area was first developed in the 1860’s. Initially, there were a number of sawmills in the area, harvesting the local timber. Then the construction of the railway line between Ipswich and Toowoomba (completed in 1867) brought railway workers to the district. As the timber-getters cleared the land, dairy farms were established. The first post office openly briefly in 1866 with a weekly mail service from Toowoomba. It re-opened in 1868 and changed its name in December 1877 to Koojarawon. The Highfields School opened on 17 January 1870 in the Rising Sun Hotel under teacher Mr Larkin. The first school building was constructed in the 1880’s. In 1906, the school was renamed Koojarawon.
In 1907, the protests of residents resulted in the both the school and the post office returning to the name Highfields. Another post office in the Highfields area is now the Geham Post Office. Coming into the 1960’s, Highfields remained a rural community with, at one stage, only 9 children enrolled in the school. However, residential subdivision started to occur in the 1960’s, to a point where it is now considered a satellite town of Toowoomba. The school is now one of the largest primary schools in the district.
There are four schools in Highfields:
- Highfields State School (a primary school), on the New England Highway
- Mary MacKillop Catholic School (a primary school), on Highfields Road
- Toowoomba Christian College (a primary and high school), on the New England Highway
- A state high school was opened at the beginning of 2015 to cater for the growing community.
A shopping centre called Highfields Village was developed and opened in 2003 that contains a number of community stores, including a hardware store, a baker and a supermarket. A tavern was also opened at the site in 2003. The centre also contains a pizza store, a post office, a bank and a hairdressing salon. In addition to the Highfields Village shopping centre, the Plaza shopping centre was recently redeveloped (2007). It now has a supermarket, newsagency, numerous banks, takeaways and a hair dresser. Also serving the community are a small bundle of shops found on the turn off from the New England Highway to Highfields Road, amongst them include a bakery, a delicatessen, a hairdressers, a real estate agency and an auto parts shop.
Highfields is also home to a football (soccer) club, Highfields FC, with teams ranging from Under 6’s to Colts. Highfields also has a regional rugby league club, Highfields Eagles, with teams ranging from Under 7’s to 16’s in the juniors and has an under 18’s, reserve and A grade team in the seniors. Highfields Lions were admitted into the AFL Darling Downs Senior competition in 2010, and now have a competitive club at Senior and Junior level. Highfields is home to the Highfields Redbacks Rugby Union Club. The Redbacks are based at Kuhls Road Oval, and field teams from Under 6’s to Over 35’s.
The Highfields Pioneer Historical Village has an unusual collection of vintage machinery. The Historical Village also has a fully operating blacksmith shop, a Heritage Chapel, an original Toowoomba 1928 Dennis Fire Engine, a two cell lock up short term prison from 1903, Model T Fords, and a collection of restored antique radios and appliances. The Danish Flower Art Centre at Highfields hosts a number of displays including a flower barn, Dutch furniture store and operating blacksmith workshop. The Chocolate Cottage is located at the Village Green which sells antiques, art and other specialty items. Across the road from the Village Green is Jacaranda Manor. Within Jacaranda Manor is a coffee shop, fudge factory and bead store. The Davidson Arboretum on Cawdor Road features temperate deciduous ornamentals and conifers. There is also a Bunya pine.
Highfields Travel Centre Motel is a new 4 Star Motel on the New England Highway at Highfields. Eileys Restaurant is also located at the Highfields Travel Centre Motel.
The Cultural Centre is a large venue for conferences and performances. Also located at the Centre is an outdoor public swimming complex with a large indoor arena holding two volleyball and basketball courts and a gym. Just outside of this is the Highfields Library; the library is operated by the Toowoomba Regional Council and is open seven days. On the other side of the Cultural Centre is a skate park.