Toowoomba is called the Garden City and is one of Australia's most famous cities located in the Darling Downs region. The city lies around 125 kilometres away from Brisbane and is a cathedral and university city alike. The city has earned global recognition for its Australian Carnival of Flowers that is held every September and for the national championships held for motocross and mountain biking. The city is also home to several gardens and public parks. The city is also heralded as a new age hub for government services and local business. Toowoomba is the provincial capital of the Darling Downs.
Toowoomba is the sixteenth largest city in Australia and the sixth largest in Queensland. The city attracts innumerable tourists every year and is one of the most highly populated cities after Canberra. The history of the city harks back to the year 1816 when Allan Cunningham discovered 4 million acres of land which he named Darling Downs. The genesis of Toowoomba lay in the founding of Drayton which was renamed Toowoomba and William Horton's iconic Royal Bull's Head Inn still stands here today. The municipality was declared in the year 1860. Toowoomba was declared a city in the year 1904. The city lies on the very crest of the imposing Great Dividing Range which is approximately 700 metres above sea level. The City occupies the edge of the mountain range and the ridges unfurling behind.
There are two valleys running from the southern boundary which originate from springs. There are the East and West Creek waterways which flow together to form the Gowrie Creek. This creek in turn, goes all the way to the Darling Downs as a tributary of the Condamine River, finally making its way to the Murray River near Adelaide. The Carnival of Flowers has put Toowoomba on the global tourist map along with its 150 public parks that are maintained beautifully. The city streets are lined by plane, Jacaranda and camphor laurel trees. There are several deciduous trees present in the city which have been sourced from all across the globe. Some key areas of Toowoomba include Cotswold Hills, Blue Mountain Heights, Drayton, Gowrie Junction, Toowoomba City, Prince Henry Heights, Rockville, South Toowoomba, Darling Heights and Newtown among numerous others. The city is home to several historic and architecturally majestic buildings including the Toowoomba City which was the first ever town hall in Queensland. The Royal Bull's Head Inn is another charming landmark preserved from the past along with the Caledonian Estate which lies to the east of the Central Business District and houses several houses of the past including mansions and cottages alike.
The iconic Empire is also a landmark in the city and was first opened to the public in the year 1911. This was rebuilt and revamped extensively over the years but still retains much of its quaint flavour and architectural elegance. This is the largest theatre in Australia and can seat 1500 people in relative comfort. The Cobb & Co Museum is another famous attraction in Toowoomba which houses a collection of horse drawn vehicles and other mail memorabilia.
Toowoomba has more than fifty heritage sites listed on the Queensland register and these are all big draws for explorers and tourists. Toowoomba has three seats in the Parliament of Queensland, namely Toowoomba North, Condamine and Toowoomba South. Toowoomba is a part of the Division of Groom in the Commonwealth Parliament. The Defence Forces have a significant presence in the city and there are several housing facilities for them here. The Oakey Army Aviation Centre is present here along with Borneo Barracks. Heritage Bank, the largest mutual bank in Australia has its headquarters in Toowoomba while Wagners and FK Gardners have their offices here as well.
Toowoomba is now identified as a major hub of economic growth in industries like food processing, development of energy resources, retail and construction.
Toowoomba is one of Australia's major educational hubs as well. The city is home to several reputed schools including the Darling Heights State School, Fairview Heights State School, Drayton State School, Middle Ridge State School, Rockville State School, Newtown State School, Toowoomba North State School, Toowoomba East State School and the Toowoomba South State School among numerous others. Private institutions in the city include the Christian Outreach College, Darling Downs Christian School, Concordia Lutheran College, Holy Name Catholic Primary School, St Anthony's Primary School Toowoomba, Our Lady of Lourdes School, Toowoomba Christian College and the St Joseph's College among others. The city is also home to the University of Southern queensland, University of Queensland which has a centre here, Griffith University Toowoomba which has a health training facility in the city and the TAFE Queensland South West.
Toowoomba is a sports oriented city and rugby is immensely popular here. Toowoomba has its own rugby team that once competed in several national competitions. Toowoomba also has its own club named South West Queensland Thunder that is immensely popular within the local community. The Toowoomba Raiders FC also plays in the Brisbane Premier League Division 1. The junior club is named The Garden City Raiders. The South Toowoomba Australian rules football team also participates in the AFL Darling Downs. Toowoomba also has its own cricket association and is home to the Toowoomba Mountaineers Basketball Team which plays in the Queensland Basketball League. The city is also home to two fabulous courses, namely the City Golf Club Toowoomba and the Toowoomba Golf Club Middle Ridge.
The Clifford Park Racecourse is another huge attraction in Toowoomba along with the Toowoomba Turf Club. There are several rugby union teams who play for Toowoomba in several competitions. Cycling is a popular sport in the city and the Tour of Toowoomba is a major round at the Subaru National Series competition. This competition draws 15 teams every year. The first ever FKG Tour of Toowoomba was held in the year 2010 and was won by Cycling Australia's Road Cyclist of the Year, Patrick Shaw. Toowoomba is one of Australia's tidiest cities as per a survey held in the year 2008.