Wow! I am excited to have been asked by Kim Cahill from Toowoomba&Darling Downs to share 6 Tuesday posts showing different PLACES in the Toowoomba area.
SO off we go to Drayton on our Doorstep
Remnants of that early settlement still stand and the Heritage listing of the Drayton Cottage at 56 Gwynne Street starts to build a picture of what this place might have once looked like. The Bull’s Head Inn on the main highway is now proudly restored and maintained along with the memorabilia of the past eras by the National Trust and is a major drawcard to Drayton. The stories of the Horton and Lynch family owners, and the yarns of the boarding house and hostelry are littered all over the buildings, and offer much of interest to all ages. So where is this Drayton?
Drayton sits 6.2 kms from the Toowoomba CBD heading southwest towards Warwick. Its history dates back to 1842 and is populated by stories of ex-convicts and pioneering families before this earliest settlement lost its attraction to the area further north where Toowoomba CBD is now.
Strong characters, many of the criminal persuasion, saw the potential of this area long before the separation of Queensland from New South Wales in 1859. Though facilities were almost non-existent, soon enterprising souls such as butchers and blacksmiths moved in and the settlement grew rapidly. The Toowoomba Regional Library holds the records of the early history of Drayton, and the Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery on Anzac Avenue contains fascinating headstones which tell the story of the hardships and health issues suffered by these early settlers.
The first Anglican Church soon followed with Benjamin Glennie bringing the ray of Christian hope to a rather ramshackle and at times lawless township. Today the second St Matthew’s Anglican Church and its community complex off Cambooya St overlooks the fertile valley stretching southwards. The Atherton Memorial Park across the road is a very pleasant spot to sit and take in the view.
A famous resident of Drayton was Arthur Hoey Davis – better known as Steele Rudd, the author of the Dad and Dave books based around Davis’s family and their years scratching out a living around the nearby Greenmount area. The stories were later made into much loved radio and stageplay performances. His memorial cairn stands near the Drayton State School, established in 1852. Some of the land on which the school stands was donated by my great, great, great grandfather, Owen McGrath. Owen operated the weekly mail service between Drayton and Ipswich in the 1850s, riding his horse to collect the mail and then delivering it back via the staging stops for giving the horse its rest, to these poor families eager to hear from relatives back in the United Kingdom or Europe in those days.
Later in its history, the sons of Drayton sacrificed their lives for their nation, and the freedom and diversity we enjoy today is gratefully remembered through the memorial in the centre of this now bustling little village.
Drayton exists today as a thriving outer suburb of Toowoomba and offers a superb hiking spot for the outdoor enthusiast. Mount Peel may just be a by-passed landmark on the way to Westbrook for many, but its care and maintenance by the Toowoomba Regional Council, makes this a very easily accessible adventure spot off the beaten track….and no need for a 4 wheel drive!
Family fun and learning more about trains is just down the road in Cambooya St. The Downstream Tourist Railway and Museum looks very inviting. Thousands of hours of volunteering, spit and polish have gone in to this wonderful facility where visitors can let their imaginations run free.
When the lure of understanding the past has been quenched, then your thirst can be quenched at The Downs Hotel, or one of the contemporary shopping outlets, or perhaps at the very popular Bowls Club. There is also the Sikh temple centre Gurudwara Sahib, and the Jack Martin Sport and Community Centre respecting the cultural diversity in the community.
There is something to suit everyone in Drayton where country living blends with city comforts……Discover Drayton for yourself 😃