I am a chief writer for Weekend Notes, a copywriter, published poet and Editor of poetry magazine ‘Fruit Salad’ (on hold). I also write children's fiction and inspirational pieces.
Published August 25th 2016
Ancient Greece meets the colony
Civic pride abounds in Toowoomba's spruced up historic building façades. Walk through the city centre and admire beautiful buildings while learning a little more about architecture and history. Begin your walk on the corner of Russell and Ruthven Sts outside the Life Line building, looking at buildings on the opposite side.
Dated 1914, actually est. 1860s. The Toowoomba Post Office was moved from there and Jubb's pharmacy gave the building the name Jubb's Corner. It also features arches and rooftop pillars and beside it, a building with Greek roofs and elegant plaster mouldings within the pediments. Crockets are featured in a leaf motif (crockets are art deco which juts out at the top of columns) as well as floral and tassel friezes.
Greek roof frames elegant plaster swirls and hearts in Russell St.
26 Russell. Dated 1892 with swirl mouldings. Previously a saddlery, it was designed by architect HWK Martin.
Above Rowes furniture store - in the 1860s it was the police station, courthouse and a paddock. In 1898 it was Crisp & O'Brien's Flour Mill. In 1915, it became the People's Palace. In 1958 it was remodelled with heritage colours, columns and iron balcony.
Cross the street and walk in the opposite direction.
At number 71 on the corner of Scholefield Street, the Arabian Nights meets red brick, the Marks family architecture. It was Maie's Book Exchange in 1906. It has also been Neden Brothers Flour Mill and has housed cafes, dentists and shops.
# 424 The Amos Building. Narrow columns and Greek roofing. Its neighbour at 428-430 features mock black ironwork balconies.
Bank Chambers, art nouveau plaque with gilding.
On the corner with Margaret St, the Bank Chambers have an art nouveau plaque with gilding. Est. 1913 in sandstone.
Cross to the bank and head west on Margaret St towards the Grand Central Shopping Centre.
# 247 The Exchange Building bears arches and columns in white and brick with roof finials of houses.
# 263 The Queensland Country Women's Association. A little nook (with reasonably priced café) in cream with Greek columns and roof.
Make your way back to Ruthven St, turn right and head south.
The 1912 White Horse building was upgraded in 1866. The façade was finished in 1912. The hotel ceased trading in 1986. Arguably the most ornate building in Toowoomba, it bears floral and star mouldings, heritage colours, decorative windows, arch and tapered finials.
The White Horse building, 1912. Note the roof finials and heritage colours.
# 470 Ruthven. 1919 charmer in white and red brick, Greek roof designs over the windows. Decorative houses motif. Cross the street and head north. Across the road from Union St is the olive-coloured Alexandra Building which features a three-gabled facebrick parapet. As Alexandra concert hall it opened in 1902.
# 451 The 1909 Harrison Printing building is festooned with a cross motif, Scottish influence.
Turn right into Margaret St and travel east.
# 213 Niddrie House 1915, named after Niddrie Mari School House near Edinburgh. Home of the Wauchope family till 1944. Once housed the YMCA, a milk bar, fruiterer and dry cleaners. Greek roof with rooftop pillars.
# 191 The Chronicle Building decked out in red salmon sports a tiny balcony and quirky fire escape. Its khaki neighbour is dark and mysterious with the Escape Room behind its stained glass windows.
# 173 A lovely blue and white façade, finials of artichokes. Greek roof designs, plaster mouldings.
On the corner of Margaret & Neil Streets is the Strand Cinema. Fan shapes are the dominant motif in the wall friezes and under the arch, designed by Guy Crick in 1933. The statue is probably the Greek goddess Hera. Inside, the red flowers and vines in the lead-light windows are the originals.
# 133 In 1904 the Church of Christ Building was designed by Eaton & Bates Architects, now renovated, it still reminds us of a 1400s castle.
Cross Margaret St and travel west.
# 136-140 The GPO Bar & Cafe. In 1878 yellow sandstone for the building was quarried at Spring Bluff. The General Post Office of 1880 is heritage listed, in the Classical Revival style.
The corner of Margaret and Neil Sts is the private residence of a personality. Bearing signage Court House 1878 - 1979, gilded belts on the black iron gates also featuring a gilded pineapple finial. Black columns sport small crockets and a reeded cup and egg. Its annex in Neil Street is constructed of Helidon sandstone.
# 154 Once housing the Queensland Trustee, the T&L Building retains original window design and geometric patterns. Inside the vestibule, the original floor fresco bears an ancient Greek meander motif.
Turn right and head north on Ruthven St.
# 419 Taylors Buildings. Rooftop pillars, art nouveau plaque dated 1912, Greek roof and large swirled crockets.
# 409 A pink building bears leaf crockets and flowers. Its neighbour wears peach, lemon and green.
# 387 Pigotts in blue, biscuit and cream. The logo 'P' set in the stained glass windows. Floral plaster mouldings.
Piggots and pink building in Ruthven St.
Wrap up your walk with a great value eat, home-style cooking and friendly service at Michelle's café, Ruthven Street.
The walk will take around one hour to complete. Some of the buildings are described in the information brochures provided by the Toowoomba Regional Council.
Inside Karingal Chambers see a 1747 Victoria Station clock.