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The Toowoomba City Hall is the seat of the City Council of Toowoomba, Queensland , Australia. It is located on the 153 Herries Street and on 543 Ruthven Street. The building is the location for the proclamation that Toowoomba was a city and was the first purpose built city hall ever constructed in Queensland.
Tenders were called for the construction of a town hall in 1861. It was built by Frederick Stein in 1862 in James Street. The first City Hall was a timber building, which was demolished and replaced in 1881 by a brick building. The School of Arts in Ruthven Street was destroyed by fire in July 1898. The local Council agreed that new municipal buildings and a Town Hall should be built on the place of the School of Arts which had been destroyed that year, pending the sale of the old Town Hall to the Roman Catholic Church for £ 2,000.
The new building was designed by the Brisbane architect Willoughby Powell. In 1900 was inaugurated the present Town Hall at a cost of £ 10,000. The exterior of the building was restored to its original state in 1997. It now houses a regional art gallery and theatre.
The photo of the city hall above was taken in 1915.
Toowoomba's floral emblem, the Viola Odorata is a species of the genus Viola. Commonly known as the Sweet Violet it actually is a European native. It's significance to Toowoomba and hence it being known around Toowoomba as the 'Toowoomba Violet' can best be explained by the following extraction that was found on Jean Ann French's Blog.
Toowoomba Violet – Floral Emblem Viola Odorata “Princess of Wales” commonly known as the “Sweet Violet”
The violet was declared Toowoomba’s Floral Emblem at a meeting of Council on 11th January 1932. the mothers and other family members of the lads who went to war in 1914-1918, picked and sold bunches of violets to raise funds. the bunches each held 50 blooms and three leaves, tied with cotton and were sold for threepence. 1800 pounds were raised to build the Mother’s Memorial now located in East Creek Park.
Characterized by it's sweet scent, heart shaped leaves, and vibrant violet colour, there is more to the Toowoomba Violet than first meets the eye.
Besides it superficial attributes the Viola Odorata has other applications. It has long been known for it's alternative medicinal properties which is commonly used for the treatment of respiratory conditions like sore throats. Other medicinal aspects of the plant are also being studied from a scientific perspective.
The Viola Odorata's usefulness continues, where in cooking the flower can also be used as an ingredient in salads and for decorative purposes . It's cooking practicality is not just limited to the flower but in fact every part of the plant can be used. Tea, for example can be made from using the whole plant.
From a symbolic point of view, the Sweet Violet's significance goes as far back as Ancient Greece where the plant was linked with love and romance.
To discover further useful information about this amazing plant that is the 'Toowoomba Violet' one only has to Google 'Sweet Violet' or 'Viola Odorata'.
Useful Links: Viola Odorata.
A violet and sprig of wattle in saltire tied with a red ribbon is used as the crest in Toowoomba's coat of arms. The wattle and violet are Toowoomba's floral emblems and represent the cities colours of gold and purple respectively. The colours were adopted by the city in 1932.
In keeping with tradition, the wreath features the same heraldic colour (red) and heraldic metal (gold) as the mantling. It consists of two ribbons coupled together by twisting them several times, then wound around the helmet, designed to hold the mantling securely in place.
The mantling streaming from the helmet consists of a heraldic colour (Red) on one side and a heraldic metal (Gold) on the other side.
The helmet, sitting atop the shield, is a carry over from the days when a coat of arms was used to distinguish combatants on the battlefield.
The shield of the Toowoomba coat of arms is divided into four fields. The charges that occupy the four fields and their origin and meaning are summarized as follows:
The horse played an important role in Toowoomba's pioneer days, serving predominantly in the areas of agriculture and transport. The purple horses head on gold background represent the colours of this extraordinary garden city.
The Golden Fleece symbolizes the sheep that would have grazed on lush pastures. The red background could possibly symbolize Toowoomba's volcanic rich red soil.
Wheat grain was the main production crop in Toowoomba's early days. The blue background symbolizes clear skies of the Sunshine State.
The emu, a large native bird and unofficial faunal emblem of Australia was originally intended to be used as one of the supporters of the shield. This was decided against as the Australian coat of arms already had a kangaroo and emu as supporters. Instead it was incorporated into the 4th field.
Two kangaroos are used as supporters of the shield. A sprig of wattle is placed on each kangaroos shoulder to make it easily identifiable from other coat of arms.
A grassy mount is used as the compartment upon which the two supporting kangaroos, shield and scroll of Toowoomba's motto rest.
Toowoomba's motto, the Latin Prodimus Dum Crescimus, translates to We prosper as we grow, indicating Toowoomba's prosperity and progression as a city.
Useful Links: Coat of Arms
Please report inaccuracies: Contact
Your assistance is required. If you are able to assist in the compilation of this timeline, or if you would like to report inaccuracies, please contact.
Toowoomba City Library's Local History Library
476 Ruthven Street, Toowoomba QLD 4350
Phone +61 7 4638 7766
There are many theories regarding the naming of Toowoomba. The theories known are summarised below. For further information please refer to the sources at the end of this brochure.
When Toowoomba was first discovered, it was known as the 'Drayton Swamp' and was often referred to as 'The Swamp'. It is believed that Aborigines trying to say 'The Swamp' pronounced a word sounding link 'Tawampa', which easily becomes Toowoomba.
A second version features a letter to the Toowoomba City Council from Stelle Rudd claiming that his father told him that in 1848 he first saw Toowoomba and in 1849, attached to JC Burnett, he assisted to lay it out. He believed that it was derived from the native name of 'Toogoom' because of the reeds that grew here.
A third versionand a widely accepted theory of the use of Toowoomba's name comes from Mrs Alford, wife of James Alford, on of the first businessmen in both Drayton and Toowoomba. It is believed that Mrs Alford asked the natives what they called the area. The replied 'Woomba Woomba' meaning 'the springs and the water underneath'. The Alford's realised that two woombas would not be a suitable name for their house and store but by using TOO which is also a type of plural it would become Toowoomba.
In 1875 W.H. Groom wrote an account of Toowoomba, stating the name 'Toowoomba' derived from an Aboriginal word meaning 'great in the future' however he gave no source to this information.
The fifth theory came from a botanist by the name of Archibald Meston. In 1895 Meston wrote a book titled "A Geographical History of Queensland", which included his explanation of the name "Toowoomba".
"Toowoom" or "Choowom" was the local blacks' name for a small native melon (Cucumus pubescens) which grew plentifully on the site of the township. The terminal "ba" is equal to the adverb "There", so the whole word means "melons there", and to an Aboriginal it meant "the place where the melon grows".
This melon still exists and can be found growing in the Balonne and Warrego areas as well areas closer to Toowoomba however there is no evidence that the melons grew in or near the Toowoomba swamps.
The sixth version came from a man called Enoggera Charlie who wrote his story in the Sydney Morning History. He claimed when he was looking for work as a tar boy, he had camped overnight near the Toowoomba Swamp. Questioning an old shepherd sage of the naming of the Toowoomba Swamps he was informed that near the junction of the East and West Swamp there was a log with the inscription informing tramps the way to a well-known homestead where there was a certainty to rations. The inscription read 'To Woombrah'.
At around the same time that Enoggera Charlie wrote to the Sydney Morning Herald another man by the name of Ardlaw Lawrence put forward his theory. He suggested that the name Toowoomba may be an Anglicised version of the 'Boowoomga' which meant 'thunder' in the dialect of the Upper Burnett and Gayndah tribes. However he could give no reason for the name being transferred to the Darling Downs.
Writing in a pamphlet in 1899, George Essex Evans wrote that the name Toowoomba meant 'meeting of the waters' however this was again written without authentication.
Controversy surrounds the various theories of the naming of Toowoomba. Opinions vary and verifying the theories is difficult with some theories having little if any written evidence ti support them. In the final analysis though, Toowoomba became "Toowoomba" regardless of which theory is correct.