Toowoomba is Queensland’s largest inland city, with a population of a little under 100,000. You will find it about 1.5 hours’ drive west of Brisbane on the top of the Great Dividing Range, at the eastern side of the Darling Downs, for which it is the main administrative centre. 

For many years, the annual Carnival of Flowers has been Toowoomba’s main tourist attraction. That extends even as far back as my primary school days, when my teacher (who must have visited) came up with the clever notion that our weekend homework should consist of an essay about the Carnival of Flowers. Now, my knowledge of flowers extends little beyond the ‘cauli’ variety and, at that stage, I had never been to Toowoomba. I had a dilemma on my hands! Luckily my Dad came to the rescue and said “I’ll write something for you”. So he produced some waffling prose about rows of golden daffodils swaying in the breeze, with petunias and roses sprinkled all over, giving a magnificent effect that dazzled the eyes of beholders. Something to that effect, anyway. I happily copied it, took it to school and handed it in. A day or so later, when Dad asked how my essay had been received, I showed him the teacher’s note: ”George, you can do better than this”! LOL The teacher obviously twigged what had happened and had a sense of humour, but I think we all learned a lesson from the exercise – the teacher didn’t set such obtuse essay subjects after that, I didn’t approach my Dad to do my homework essays, and it became a family joke. 

I’ve since passed through Toowoomba many times, but until now I’d never stayed there. Even this trip was simply overnight, but it was enough to indicate that, at some time, we should allow enough time to look around a little more. And, if we do it in September, I might just get to see the Carnival of Flowers. Then, at last, I will be able to write a genuine essay (call it a VT tip) about the event.