I was born and raised in Toowoomba, a medium-sized city located at the summit of the Great Dividing Range, in Queensland, Australia. I spent 40 years there until my life journey took a different tack and I headed to the USA for a decade. That’s another story for a future post. Growing up in Toowoomba was great, but as I got older, I became a little bored and didn’t see it as the place I would live my entire life. I’m sure that “grass is always greener on the other side” idea played a part in the boredom. I had been an inquisitive lad growing up and wanted to go out and explore the world and that I did, in those years out of the country.
When I was planning my return home to Australia, I needed to decide on where to return to live. Toowoomba? Brisbane (the capital of Queensland)? Or in another state. My Mum by now gone to live in an aged home specializing in dementia care, so I needed to be in driving distance. I could have returned to Toowoomba, however I had become used to living in more cosmopolitan places, so I chose Brisbane. I haven’t been disappointed with that choice by the way.
Most weekends I make a 90 minute drive to visit my Mum. Recently I reconnected with friends from my past in Toowoomba, and it’s been so lovely to do that. I’ve always thought of Toowoomba as being a little “conservative” and perhaps it is in some ways. But today I had my eyes opened somewhat when taken on an unplanned tour of some new facilities in the city. All the city needed was new blood and new ideas, and there is evidence of that everywhere.
My friend Alan is very passionate when it comes to singing the praises of our hometown, and especially so about a new airport built on the outskirts of the city. It’s a part of a new privately built/owned industrial and transport hub. I’ve never seen a new airport built – have you? Sure, when travelling around the world, there is usually some form of extensions/improvements being built — if you’ve ever had the experience of transiting through LAX you’ll understand — it seems to be always undergoing major works. But the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport is brand spanking new, and it’s got more to be added as time goes by and demand increases. There weren’t any flights coming in at that time and apart from the security guard, we were the only ones in the complex. The owners of the airport built it in 1.5 years — an amazing feat, but doable when you control the contract and works, rather than relying on government departments. Its presence in Toowoomba is so overdue — in the past there has been a tiny airport only capable of very small craft. Now the locals can fly direct to Brisbane and other capitals in the country and beyond. Much easier than driving to Brisbane and picking up a flight.
So this is the end of Part 1. Part 2 comes soon, with more changes and reflections…of a former resident who left 20 years ago. 🙂