Experience Aboriginal Culture and Heritage in the Toowoomba Region

Drive Inland 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, 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. 

White settlement devastated the local First Nations population of the Darling Downs, leading to the end of this sacred tradition. 

Drive Inland acknowledges the continuing ancient ties of Traditional Custodians to the land, and aims to play its part in the history of our local area as a meeting place by welcoming people from all over the country and the world to our beautiful region.

Places to visit

Gumbi Gumbi Gardens
Location: University of Southern Queensland, 487-535 West St, Toowoomba

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. 

The Gardens are open at all times and admission is free. Parking is available adjacent to the Gardens. A free ‘App’ is available for download that connects you to the stories of the Gumbi Gumbi Cultural Gardens while you walk its paths and enjoy its beauty and tranquillity.

Gummingurru
Location: Located west of Highfields, bookings essential

Gummingurru is in the country of the Jarowair Aboriginal people, who are one of the many Aboriginal groups associated with the Bunya Mountains and the feasts and ceremonies that were held there once every three years. Gummingurru is one of a series of ceremonial places where young men were initiated into manhood before continuing on to participate in ‘men’s business’, held as part of the Bunya nut festivities. 

The Traditional Custodians now care for Gummingurru and are reviving the cultural knowledge of this place. The GAC calls this the ‘resurrection’ of the site. Resurrecting Gummingurru involves rediscovering stone arrangements that have been buried in the soil which covers the eastern and southern parts of the site. Buried stones are lifted back up to the surface and several newly rediscovered designs have been found in this way.

The Gummingurru site is located immediately to the west of the township of Highfields and is open to all people interested in Aboriginal culture and heritage. 

J.E. Duggan Park Lookout – Views of Mount Tabletop (Meewah) 
Location: Lockyer Lookout, J.E. Duggan Park, Leslie Street, Rangeville. 

A large information panel with the history of the ‘Battle of One Tree Hill’ and a  beautiful view of Mount Tabletop is located at the Lockyer Lookout, J.E. Duggan Park, Leslie Street, Rangeville. 

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 drove back settlers attempting to cross the range with spears and boulders. For Aboriginal people it was a temporary victory but also an event through which many lost their lives. 

J.E Duggan park provides three small bush walks with great scenery and views east over the Great Dividing Range, including Mount Table Top. It is ideal for walking with children and is wheelchair accessible.