Heritage is sometimes only recognised and valued once it is lost. But for the ToowoombaQueens Park and Botanic Gardens its character and heritage significance has been enhanced through several upgrades and improvements.
Redleaf Environmental has been working with GHD and the Toowoomba Regional Council to preserve Toowoomba’s Queens Park’s unique heritage character as part of a masterplan. It aims to update the park’s facilities, while ensuring its multifaceted history is conserved. Our Senior Archaeologist, Alyssa Madden, has been involved in several aspects of the upgrade process.
The program of works has required Exemption Certificates, Development Applications and Heritage Impact Statements. These have been completed by our cultural heritage team to ensure the new improvements will only enhance the character of the place.
Listed on the Queensland Heritage Register, Queens Park and Botanic Gardens is Toowoomba’s most iconic heritage-listed park. Gazetted as a public reserve in 1869, Queens Park has been a part of Toowoomba’s history for nearly 150 years. From its inception, Queens Park has seen many iterations in various sections of the park: the Botanic Gardens fed the public’s increasing scientific interest in the natural world in the 1800s, greater Queens Park was established for the improvement of public health in the 19th Century, the public baths for health and recreation, formal gardens to improve the city, and many other functions and uses throughout its history. Today it continues to be transformed through Council-led initiatives, continuing to make this a relevant community space in 2018 and beyond.
Toowoomba’s Queens Park and Botanical Gardens’ heritage features provide a direct link to our city’s past. Some very early plantings including Bunya pines, Bottle trees, Kauri pines and Jacaranda trees, amongst others, continue to thrive under TRC’s maintenance.
Memorials including the Thomas memorial, the cannon, and the Vera Lacaze fountains, firmly cement the city’s early history that continues to shine through today. Then there are the less visible connections to place, such as the archaeological remains of the Botanic Gardens Conservatory and the municipal swimming baths that were Toowoomba’s part in the national swimming movements of the early twentieth century.
Redleaf Environmental will continue to work on ensuring the continued conservation and preservation of Toowoomba’s Queens Park and Botanic Gardens distinctive history.
The first part of the Queens Park project that Redleaf Environmental Heritage was the heritage assessments prior to building the Central Amenities block.
We determined the building of new facilities for Toowoomba residents would not encroach on any historical features of the park. Through the historical investigation of the cultural heritage of the park, a report was prepared and submitted to ensure that the new Central Amenities would not only avoid these important heritage features, but would also enhance the look and usefulness of this historic place.
The Central Amenities block has now been completed and many sports events have already made use of the new facilities.
Botanic Gardens Interpretive Shelter
During 2018, Redleaf Environmental has also been busy submitting the Development Application for the new Botanic Gardens Interpretive Shelter.
To do this, a Heritage Impact Statement was prepared outlining the heritage values of the place. The memorial aspects of the Botanic Gardens, its focus on the natural sciences and the archaeological remains of the conservatory were all investigated and incorporated into the statement. Redleaf Environmental is looking forward to seeing the new shelter and its interpretation of the historic space.
Vera Lacaze Amenities
The Queens Park Masterplan has also provided for a new amenities building to replace the outdated amenities block in the Vera Lacaze section of the park. This will be a significant upgrade for this area of the park, which should open up the space and provide much more user-friendly facilities for visitors. The new building will be situated on the edge of the amphitheatre, and be very convenient for community events such as the Mayoral Carols by Candlelight.
Moving forward, the heritage theme of the park will continue to be preserved enhanced through the ongoing implementation of the Council’s Queens Park Masterplan. Redleaf Environmental is looking forward to continuing to assist in the development and upgrade of Toowoomba’s historic Queens Park.
Redleaf can also assist with the following aspects of Cultural Heritage Management for your project: