Toowoomba Regional Council acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Toowoomba Region, and pays its respects to Elders past, present and emerging, for they hold the knowledge, the rich traditions and bold ambitions of Australia’s first peoples.
Toowoomba – an ancient meeting place
In the local First Nations community, Toowoomba is known as a key meeting place along the ancient pathways that led to huge festivals at the Bunya Mountains. These festivals were held every three years or so to celebrate the harvest of bunya nuts.
Until the 1870s, Aboriginal people from as far away as the Clarence River in the south, Condamine and Maranoa in the west and Stradbroke Island in the east travelled via Toowoomba to this deeply spiritual event.
The area’s reliable water supply, productive grasses and nutritious local plants were a big drawcard. Some local leaders were said to have been able to speak up to five different languages to welcome visitors to country.
After white settlement, introduced diseases, social disruption, relocation and murder devastated the local Indigenous population of the Darling Downs, leading to the end of this sacred tradition.
Places to visit
Gumbi Gumbi Gardens
Gumbi Gumbi Gardens were designed in close partnership with respected historical Elders from Toowoomba and Elders of the Jarowair people. Featuring more than 100 plant species, the gardens display an extensive array of Indigenous flora used by the local Aboriginal communities for a range of purposes, including food and medicine.
All are welcome to these gardens. It is about people coming together and walking together.
The gardens cover approximately 2.2 hectares of land adjacent to the northern side of USQ Toowoomba’s main entrance.
A free ‘App’ is available for download that connects you to the stories of the Gumbi Gumbi Gardens while you walk its paths and enjoy its beauty and tranquility.
Location: University of Southern Queensland, 487-535 West St, Toowoomba
Open at all times. Admission: free. Parking available next to the gardens.
Find more information at Gumbi Gumbi Gardens’ website.
Gummingurru ceremonial site
A truly unique heritage experience, Gummingurru is a ceremonial site on the country of the Jarowair Aboriginal people. Located near the township of Highfields, 20 minutes drive north of Toowoomba, it features amazing ancient stone arrangements in a range of designs, including an emu, a turtle, a bunya nut and a carpet snake.
The site was used until the late 19th century to perform initiation ceremonies for young men on route to the Bunya Mountains for the Bunya Nut feasts and ceremonies held every three years or so.
Gummingurru Aboriginal Corporation invites all people interested in Aboriginal history and culture to book a tour with a traditional custodian that includes looking at stone artefacts found near the arrangements, experiencing grinding ochre and letting the kids play games that tell the story of the site.
Open Hours: By appointment only.
Find more information about booking tours and the site’s history at Gummingurru’s website.
J.E. Duggan Park lookout – Views of Mount Tabletop (Meewah)
A large information panel with the history of the ‘Battle of One Tree Hill’ and a beautiful view of Mount Tabletop (Meewah) is located at this lookout.
Mount Tabletop (Meewah) is important as an Aboriginal ceremonial site, and historically this flat-topped hill was the setting of the ‘Battle of One Tree Hill’ (13 September 1843).
Part of the frontier wars, this was the site where local Aboriginal warrior Multuggerah and 100 fighters won a temporary victory, using spears and boulders to drive back settlers attempting to cross the range.
J.E Duggan park provides three small bush walks with great scenery and views east over the Great Dividing Range, including Mount Tabletop (Meewah). It is ideal for walking with children and is wheelchair accessible.
Location: Lockyer lookout, J.E. Duggan Park, Leslie Street, Rangeville.
Click here to view the lookout’s website.
For personalised service and tips by friendly knowledgeable locals, be sure to drop into one of the local Visitor Information Centres or give them a call.