Welcome to Toowoomba Historical Society


About Us | History of the Society | Mission Statement | Current Committee | Past Presidents

About Us

The Society is primarily a library and research facility assisting members of the public with research enquiries regarding the history and heritage of Toowoomba and environs. The Society has an extensive collection of books, articles, newspaper clippings and photographs and offers a monthly lecture series and occasional exhibitions. Members of the public are welcome to make enquiries and to attend lectures/exhibitions.

History of the Society

From about 1949-1950 to c.1971 a small Toowoomba Historical Society was led by enthusiasts such as Kempton Bedwell, Jacob Donges, Cyril Horton, Hanora Frawley and Gladys Pennington. Bedwell and Donges, in particular, gave several talks on Toowoomba’s history, a few of which have survived in typescript form or as newspaper articles.

The Society was reconstituted in September 1979 through the leadership of Catholic Diocesan archivist Leo Ansell (1925-2007), physician Patrick Murray and antiques dealer Ron Douglas. It held monthly meetings at Toowoomba State High School and St Joseph’s School until the City Council provided space in the Town Hall from July 1983 and then (in April 1996) made available the former Curator's home between Queens Park and  Queens Park Gardens (Lindsay Street) that provided space for a small library and archives as well as a meeting room. This space was shared with the Toowoomba and Darling Downs Family History Society from August 1996 to September 1999; the latter society then moved to the old Drayton Road Post Office and is now located in the Drayton & Toowoomba Cemetery, South Street. The Toowoomba Historical Society was incorporated in 1996.

The Society is a foundation member of the Cultural Heritage Network – Toowoomba Region and works closely with the Toowoomba City Library Local History and Robinson Collections, the Toowoomba and Darling Downs Family History Society and Cobb & Co Museum.

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Mission Statement and Aims


To stimulate our community’s interest in the economic, social, cultural and environmental history and heritage of Toowoomba and its environs.


The aims of the Toowoomba Historical Society are:

  1. To provide a place where printed materials, photographs, publications and other objects which have significance to the history and heritage of Toowoomba and its environs can be collected, studied, preserved and displayed.
  2. To encourage the study, collection, preservation and exhibition of both historical and significant contemporary objects (principally printed materials) pertaining particularly to Toowoomba and its environs.
  3. To make available these materials and objects to the public for study and enjoyment.
  4. To inform and educate the public of our economic, social, cultural and environmental history and heritage through activities such as research, publications, talks, workshops and displays.
  5. To cooperate with like organisations in activities which promote history and/or heritage to our mutual benefit.

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Current Committee

President: Greg Lamerton 
Vice-President: Maurice French 
Secretary: Eleanor Higgins 
Treasurer: Noel Lipp
Committee Members:

Peter Cullen
Liz Eilers

Helen Noel
Margaret McNally

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Past Presidents

1950Dr Alex McGregor
1953MJR Anderson
1960s Major Kempton Bedwell
1969Jacob Donges
1979Dr Patrick Murray
1980-1981AJ Myers OBE
1982Bruce Binns
1983Maurice French BA (Hons) MA
1984-1985Dr Ian Gibson BDSc
1986-1989Beris Broderick OAM
1989-1992Ron Douglas OAM
1993-1998Beris Broderick
1999-2000Don Talbot
2000-2001Rae Pennycuick BA
2001-2007Margaret McNally BA
2007-2020Emeritus Prof Maurice French AM FRHSQ BA (Hons) MA DLitt

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Highslide JS
Ruthven St - 1908
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Newtown Bus Service
Highslide JS
Botanical Gardens - 1908
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Margaret St - 1956
Highslide JS
Ruthven St - 1908
Highslide JS
Early Bootmaker
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