August 17, 2021

The History And Origin Of Toowoomba Street Names

Whether you’re drawn to the sprawling green spaces of Kearneys Spring, the intriguing history of Cambooya or the peace and tranquillity of Newtown, there are so many unique suburbs in Toowoomba and its surrounds.

But just as interesting are the major streets that cross through the Garden City. Here’s a little history behind some of the most famous ones.

Ruthven Street

Ask any local to name a street in Toowoomba and you’ll undoubtedly hear “Ruthven Street” more than once. This north-south-running street cuts right through the heart of Toowoomba and is responsible for most of the daily traffic. But what about its name? Perhaps surprisingly, Scottish nobleman John Ruthven takes that title. He died young at the age of 23 (in the year 1600) while apparently trying to murder King James VI of Scotland. As the 3rd Earl of Gowrie, John Ruthven is also the reason for Gowrie Street’s name.

James Street

There’s a further Scottish thread to another of Toowoomba’s most famous streets: James Street. Back in 1850, a certain Mr R. C. Bagot, whose forefathers had been in the Scottish Royal Household during the time of John Ruthven, named the main street in town after the king who Ruthven had tried to murder. Interestingly, as James I was part of the House of Stuart, Mr Bagot also named Stuart Street after him.

Tor Street

Running through Newtown, Rockville, Wilsonton Heights and Cranley, Tor Street is a long stretch of road that was named not after a person but a building. Designated on the Queensland Heritage Register in 1999, the famous Tor residence (396 Tor Street, Newtown) was designed by famous local architect William Hodgen. Construction finished in 1904 and the low-set timber residence has since passed between many owners, seeing its lands subdivided and significant renovations undertaken to retain its heritage charm.

Hill Street

A functional street that slices west to east before ending at the edge of Toowoomba’s CBD, Hill Street is named after the first curator of the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens, Walter Hill. The botanist travelled up to Toowoomba to provide guidance on the design and planning of the now-famous Queen’s Park, as well as the type of trees that should be planted along its bordering streets.

Boulton Terrace

Blink and you’ll miss this tiny terrace that sits parallel to West Street in North Toowoomba. As part of the popular Mort Estate historic walk, Boulton Terrace is named after a rich landowner called Martin Boulton. He is reported to have purchased all the allotments in the original Mort Estate, deliberately keeping the eastern side of the area vacant of buildings in order to retain his view of the creek.

Burstow Street

Burstow is a name that’s as synonymous with Toowoomba today as it was more than a century ago. In fact, Burstows Funeral Care has been in the same family for five generations, with the sprawling Burstows Toowoomba and Surrounds sitting directly across the expansive Toowoomba Garden of Remembrance. So it’s perhaps no surprise that Burstow Street is named for one of the famous family members. Thomas Stephen Burstow acted as mayor of the Garden City in 1904, 1907 and 1919.

Looking for your perfect street?

Whether it’s on one of these famous Toowoomba streets or a tucked-away avenue in the heart of suburbia, we can help you find your dream home – so contact an experienced local agent today to get started.

Article by Trevor Manteufel

With 19 years experience in selling real estate in Toowoomba & surrounding areas, Trevor is relaxed, approachable & confident, whilst providing you a high level of service, listens to your needs and makes selling your home a positive, and … View profile

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