| BNE May/June 2017
Toowoomba is the gateway to
Queensland’s fertile southern country
farmland, but a community with a
creative spirit is also flourishing
oowoomba has long been known as Queensland’s
Garden City, home to the annual Carnival of Flowers
that announces spring every year with a festival of
flora, food and entertainment that lasts for 10 days and draws
visitors from across the state.
It’s also one of the state’s coolest cities – and not just because
temperatures can plummet to below 10°C in winter (record lows have
seen that drop below -4°C). The city is now the largest outdoor ‘art
gallery’ in Queensland, displaying 57 murals which have rejuvenated
laneways and streetscapes into thriving social hubs.
Local artists Ian McCallum and Grace Dewar, co-directors of local
creative space Kontraband Studios, have been instrumental in the
change, organising Queensland’s first street art festival ‘First Coat’
three years ago in conjunction with Toowoomba Regional Council. So
far the festival has attracted some of Australia’s leading graffiti artists
such as Sofles, Fintan Magee, Matt Adnate and Vans the Omega as
well as others from the US, Netherlands, UK, New Zealand and Italy,
and more will feature in this year’s festival from 19 to 21 May.
While the city has not lost any of its country charm, it has found a
new lease on life as businesses utilise previously overlooked spaces in
the heart of the city, providing a colourful backdrop to a flourishing
café and bar culture.
First Coat’s map of murals (see online atwww.firstcoat.com.au)
provides an ideal guide for a walking tour of Toowoomba’s inner city,
turning up hidden gems such as Ground Up Espresso on the colourful
Searles Walk (just off Ruthven Street). What started as a storeroom
espresso bar is now a favourite local haunt for all-day breakfast and
delicious pastries washed down with a Toby’s Estate brew.
Lindra and Josh Budeman also started small, with a food stall at
a local festival which was so successful they decided to take the leap
to open a permanent diner in Club Lane (off Margaret Street). The
pair, who moved to Toowoomba from Melbourne, transformed
a nondescript warehouse into Skewers where they serve up their
signature Indonesian street food accompanied by local wines, craft
beers and cider.
Bis mi, quatatium cullam
eum et que nat qui
niametur? Qui cus acit,
culpa quiam a parunti
Ground Up Espresso
Brews of the Granite Belt
The 3rd Monkey
Street art by Adnate
Words: Nathan Hall and Heather McWhinnie