July 21, 2020

Preserving Our Local Toowoomba Heritage

Some of the grandest heritage buildings you’ll ever see are tucked away into secret pockets of the Garden City.

With such an incredible breadth of historic homes and commercial buildings, it’s so important to preserve our local Toowoomba heritage – here’s how it’s happening.

Toowoomba: Where past and present meet

Take a stroll through the Garden City and you’ll be fascinated by the diversity of incredible architecture. From the futuristic Grand Central redevelopment to the heritage-listed Empire Theatre that harks back to the golden era of Hollywood. It’s a wonderful mix of past and present, and that theme runs throughout the entire city – including residential neighbourhoods.

In fact, Toowoomba is just as known for its modern architectural designs as its well-maintained heritage homes. And with grants like the CBD Incentives Scheme, which contributes $1 for every $2 spent (up to $10,000) on renovating and preserving heritage homes and properties throughout the city, we can expect these historic properties to survive and thrive for years to come.

Heritage style of Toowoomba

Toowoomba’s heritage properties actually span an incredible period of time – close to a century of history, in fact. The city’s Heritage Advisory Service has created a series of brochures covering each period and what you can expect to find in a building according to its type. These brochures can be found at visitor information centres and the Local History Library at 155 Herries Street.

The styles are spread across four overlapping eras, each with their own unique characteristics, from the materials used to the main features and even expectations for the surrounding gardens:

  • Victorian era (1850–1910)
  • Edwardian era (1900–1920)
  • Inter-war era (1918–1939)
  • Post-war era (1940–1950)

Within these eras, there are many early architectural styles, represented, from Colonial homes, to Art Deco Bungalows.

According to the Federation Home website, what’s most spectacular is that there are countless instances of each style still standing in Toowoomba, and in excellent condition to this day:

  1. Colonial House: An early Queensland house marked by big verandahs, central halls and impeccable symmetry. Real-life example: 104 Herries Street.
  2. Cottage: Similar verandah and pyramid roof type to the Colonial House style, but smaller and more modest. Real-life example: 67 Herries Street.
  3. Early Gabled House: A much larger version of the Cottage style with intricate decorated gables. Real-life example: ‘Kanowna’ 174 Bridge Street.
  4. Larger Early House: Set on a larger plot and with many more features. Sometimes designed by an architect, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any two homes that look identical. Real-life example: ‘The Grange’ 105 Jellicoe Street.
  5. Federation House: A decorative-style home with tall windows and sometimes stained-glass features. Real-life example: 94 Margaret Street, home of the Toowoomba Repertory Theatre.
  6. Queensland Bungalow: A truly 20th-century home free from the common central passage and no longer reliant on total symmetry. Real-life example: 12 Christmas Street.
  7. Custom Bungalow: Individually designed in the Queensland style but larger and more ambitious with its features and decorations. Real-life example: 73 Mary Street.
  8. Bungalow Along Southern Lines: A typical Bungalow home but in the style of what people in the southern states (mostly Victoria) were doing at the time. Real-life example: ‘Pine Lodge’ 85 Campbell Street.

Services maintaining Toowoomba’s heritage

If you’re thinking about renovating or conserving a property that’s part of Toowoomba’s long heritage, the city’s free advisory service will provide support and advice. Available to owners of residential, commercial and rural buildings across the region, you’ll get advice on everything from colour recommendations, to heritage fencing, gardens, awnings, carports and garages, verandahs and extensions.

You can also get in touch with the Toowoomba Historical Society. Although their activities are more widespread – focused on preserving the entire history of the city – they are a great source of knowledge (and photos) when it comes to the study, collection and examination of Toowoomba’s rich heritage, including the buildings that line its streets.

Make yourself part of the city’s history

Whether you want to find a heritage home for yourself, or simply immerse yourself in the incredible history of Toowoomba, we can help you find your dream home – so contact an experienced local agent today.

Photo Credit: Photo of St Luke’s Church Hall Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

Article by Gary Klein

For over 35 years, Gary has been involved in the profession of selling. He held a senior position in a large local business in town and was in fact the company trainer, inductor and troubleshooter. From his experiences, he understands people very … View profile

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