Driving in to the 800 strong town centre of Goombungee, there is the distinct feeling of having arrived somewhere special. The sign at the entrance announces this as The Picnic Town. Intriguing!
Visitors are immediately drawn to the purple palette which dots the picnic tables, the children’s licorice-like cubby house and the lush green grass lining the wonderfully wide median strip under the Jacaranda sentinel trees.
Perfect picnic places. Rolling in to one of the generous sized parking spots, the urge to roll out a tartan picnic rug seems almost a must.
So what keeps Goombungee invitingly fresh and so colourful? To get the answer and to meet its characters I was lucky to have been invited along by the staunchest Community Connector in the region – Kim Cahill- founder and Director of Toowoomba Darling Downs (TDD) http://www.toowoombadarlingdowns.com.au
Kim developed the Seat of Knowledge concept. To highlight and enhance both tourist and local knowledge of the many small towns surrounding Toowoomba on the Darling Downs, Kim is partnering with a key community personality to initiate conversations with townsfolk. Thanks to Bronwyn for her organising from her end.
Goombungee’s early history of farming settlement has been compiled by Karen Handford in 2003 and captured in The History of Goombungee and District , and provides a comprehensive look at this area known in the Tradional Jarrowair language as The Place of the Bunya Pine or Bottle Tree, both of which are still abundant. The book covers early land distribution, naming, includes plans and interest maps, early pastoralists and land settlers and businesses of the early 1900s. As with all such accounts, some aspects are not agreed with by those locals whose families trace back to those early days. Combined with the tangible artefacts and accounts proudly displayed and maintained in the Museum, the picture of a thriving farming community and its traditions emerges. Its contemporary life shines in its people and their genuine contentment and pride.
Central to the sharing of news, events and family happenings are the Post Office, which also serves as a gift shop with fun, quirky treasures. Good old fashioned service thrives in Goombungee!
Traditions are the glue that hold this peaceful community together and institutions such as the school, the churches, the CWA and the annual Jacaranda Festival and its Show draw crowds from across the region.
That good old-fashioned service is everywhere. The food at The Iron Man Cafe is delicious and encourages the patrons to linger and chat… though no encouragement is really needed. 😃
The long standing mechanics and garage reflects the family businesses that have been here for generations, standing side by side with the more contemporary conveniences of supermarket, doctor, pharmacy, and library.
The Museum, the churches and the CWA have been the lifeblood of many of the long-term residents, while the school and the annual events, the close proximity to the larger centres of Crowns Nest and Toowoomba, but with the country comfort have been the drawcard for recent arrivals. And in the absence of a large municipality Town Crier, local young couple Ashley and Emily Newton keep the townsfolk informed via FaceBook and newsletters.
Goombungee colours itself through its vibrant people and the food and fun that have become widely known, and it continues to thrive through the unstinting efforts of its volunteers.
Oh what a feeling – Goombungee!