Toowoomba Firsts - Presented 4th November 2010
1. Australia’s largest inland non-capital city.
2. Queensland’s First Town Hall – SE Corner of James and Neil Streets – opened by the Colonial
Secretary R.G.W. Herbert 24 January 1862.
3. Empire Theatre is the largest Regional theatre in Australia seating approx 1500 and celebrates
100 years in 2011.
4. Elsie Maude Stanley Hall, Australia’s first female concert pianist was born in Toowoomba in
5. Cobb & Co. Museum, where the Premier opened the 8 mil redevelopment in September, houses
Australia’s largest collection of horse-drawn vehicles.
6. Royal Agricultural Society: It its 150th Year - The importance of Toowoomba in the national
agricultural scene is gauged by the fact the Darling Downs R.A.S was the first to be established
in the newly formed state of Queensland, and only the fifth in Australia. The Brisbane R.A.S. was
not formed until 15 years later.
7. The ANZAC Day Dawn Service At 4 am on ANZAC morning 1919 in Toowoomba, Captain
Harrington and a group of friends visited all known graves and memorials of men killed in action
in World War 1 and placed flowers (not poppies) on the headstones. Afterwards they toasted
their mates with a rum. In 1920 and 1921 these men followed a similar pattern but adjourned to
Picnic Point at the top of the range and toasted their mates until the first rays of dawn appeared.
A bugler sounded the ‘Last Post’ and ‘Reveille’.
8. Celebrating 61 years this year. The Carnival of Flowers is unique to Australia. The Grand
Central Floral Parade is the icon event for the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers and is the only
fresh floral street parade of its kind in Australia.
9. Stahmann Farms the recently announced TCCI Heritage Building Society Business of the Year.
In 1965 Deane Stahmann Jnr came to Australia with the intention of creating the first commercial
Pecan operation in the Southern Hemisphere. His dream of creating a new industry was realised
in 1982 when the Toowoomba processing plant began supplying the finest quality processed nut
kernel to Australia and the world.
10. The Lamington an Australian icon came from Toowoomba.! In the summer of 1886, Lord
Lamington, Governor of Queensland took his entourage to Harlaxton House in Toowoomba to
escape the steamy heat of Brisbane.
He loved, ‘Snowballs’ – round cakes served with whipped cream. The cook was requested to
make a batch for afternoon tea and to cook’s horror the kitchen was not equipped with round
patty tins or cream!
Cook was creative and made a big cake which she cut into oblongs, iced with chocolate icing and
sprinkled with coconut.
The Governor and his guests were enthralled with the new treat.
Lady Lamington was asked what the cakes were called.
When told there they had no name, the Guests dubbed them ‘Lord Lamington Cakes’.
Quality Desserts – at the moment we are producing just over 2.1 million individual lamingtons
per week. Have just finished Xmas with in excess of 4 million Rumballs made in the last 12
weeks. Employ just over 120 people on the payroll now.
11. Weis Fruit Ice Cream Bar – the unique ice cream without a stick was born, bred and continues
to be produced in Toowoomba - Weis is Australia’s best-selling fruit and ice cream product today.
12. Heritage Building Society in it 135th year in 2010 recorded its 11th consecutive record profit
(unique in itself) and was awarded the Building Society of the Year in the 2010 Australian
Banking & Finance Awards. Heritage has received this award 7 out of the last 9 years
13. Wagners, who were inducted into the Toowoomba Business Hall of Fame in 2010, have
developed a world’s first – Earth Friendly Concrete. EFC is made from an eco-friendly
alternative binder technology known as geopolymer, which produces 80 – 90 % less CO2
emissions than ordinary Portland cement.
14. USQ is the first Australian University to enter into a "Knowledge Partnership" with an Indian
University (CUTM) to deliver USQ degrees "on the ground" in India so that Indian students can
get their Aussie Qual w/o needing to leave India.
15. Orford EcoChill™ is the most efficient upright glass door chilled drink merchandiser available in
the Australian market. This cabinet is now the Australian benchmark.
16. The Southern Cross windmill grew out of the successful JA Griffiths of Griffiths and Co
Toowoomba Foundry and was known as a world authority of windmill design from the 1870s.
17. Radio Station 4GR (Gold Radio) was the first to have a commercial licence in Queensland.
Opened on August 16, 1925 it takes its name from Mr E.E. Gold who obtained the licence.
18. Through the USQ and Professor Gerrard Van Erp, Wagner's have established the first fibre
composite factory in the world producing modules for bridges , railways sleepers, telephone
poles... this is world cutting edge technology...
19. The USQ in conjunction with Mansell's Transport has developed the MANSELL
NEONATE RETRIEVAL SYSTEM... this world-first technology is designed to transport critically ill
neonates (premature babies) to major hospitals by road, helicopter or fixed wing aircraft... sold all
over the world... designed and manufactured in Toowoomba...
20. Toowoomba has the biggest Harvey Norman Electrical & Computer store under the one roof
21. Perkins Brothers from Castlemaine in Victoria opened Queensland’s first brewery near the
entrance to the present Garden Town shopping centre on December 14, 1869. This was the
foundation for the famous XXXX.
22. Russell Mineral Equipment (RME) has been inducted into the Australian Export Awards
Hall of Fame in 2009.
In their 25th year RME are world leader in their niche market, exporting nearly all its products to
over 40 countries throughout the world’s mining markets.
23. USQ is the first University in QLD to have a fully comprehensive Uni-wide and State-wide
articulation Memorandum of Understanding with QLD Tafe.
24. Easternwell designed, engineered and manufactured Australia’s first state of the art,
technologically advanced coal seam gas drilling rig - the Advantage Driller. Easternwell currently
operates 3 Advantage Drillers for Santos in the Surat Basin region. Easternwell won the Premier
of Queensland Smart Award in 2008 largely based on the innovation and technology of the
25. Toowoomba has Qld’s biggest Bunnings store under the one roof in Anzac Avenue
26. USQ bachelor in Accounting and Sustainable Business. It is a 4 year double degree at the end of
which students get a USQ degree, a US degree from City in Seattle, as well as getting Assoc
Membership of CPAA. The Global Reporting Initiative Reporting requirements (for business
sustainability) are fully embedded into its curriculum. It is the first of its kind in Australia.
27. With the end of the war and basking in the warm glow of a hard-fought victory, the Australian
public were ready for a sporting champion. They found one in the unlikely form of a controversial
huge bay horse from Oakey who went by the name of Bernborough. Bernborough was the first
cultural icon of the Baby Boom era. He came to prominence racing at Toowoomba's Clifford Park.
Bernborough only raced at Toowoomba in Queensland as he was barred from racing at
metropolitan tracks because of ownership doubts.
28. Toowoomba’s Clifford Park racecourse conducted Australia’s first ever night race meeting on
September 4, 1996.
29. Toowoomba Clydesdales won the Inaugural Rugby League Queensland Cup in 1996.
30. The coach for Queensland in the first State of Origin in 1980 (won by Qld 20-10) was our own
John Cracker McDonald. Only coach with a 100% record in State of Origin 1 from 1.
31. In 1923 Toowoomba school teacher Hunter Poon became the first person of Chinese ancestry
to play first class cricket in Australia. He played fro Qld against Victoria at the MCG and took one
32. FKG Tour of Toowoomba is the first Queensland Cycle Road Race to be included in the
Australian Road Racing Cycle Series. On for the second year June 17,18,19 2011.
33. The Toowoomba Regional Tennis Centre – USQ, a joint partnership of the University, the
Toowoomba Tennis Association, the Toowoomba Regional Council, Tennis Queensland and the
State Government. Announced on October 8, 2010, the centre is set to feature 12 world-class
standard courts and a two-storey tennis clubhouse linked to the Clive Berghofer Recreation
Centre on Baker Street and be operation in June 2011.
34. Australia’s first appendectomy was performed in Toowoomba on March 11, 1893. The patient
was Mrs Emma Webb and the procedure was performed on the kitchen table in her home. She
made a full recovery, outliving the doctors that saved her. The main building at the General
Hospital is named in her honour.
35. Queensland’s first female Mayor was Toowoomba’s Alderman Nellie Elizabeth Robinson in
36. Toowoomba Chamber hosted Qld’s first Female Premier for her first public address in
September 2007 following the resignation of Peter Beattie.