The current site of Queens Park, the second such named park in Toowoomba's history, was declared a reserve in 1869. Prior to this time, the park was located on the current site of Toowoomba Grammar, with the new site being used as grazing land, a brick pit and a government camping ground.
The park's rebirth in 1969 saw the employment of first curator, Edward Way. Mr Way orchestrated a trial-planting program, to ascertain which species would survive Toowoomba's harsh conditions. Various ornamental trees were planted, including the Camphor Laurel which was to act as a wind block.
In 1874, the north-eastern corner of the park was established as the Toowoomba Botanical Gardens, becoming an experimental farm growing an assortment of plants including fruit trees, grapes, cereals, tobacco and opium poppies.
In 1885, new site curator, Richard Ross Harding, continued Mr Way's work, seeing the park and gardens blossom to world class standard. Mr Harding was also responsible for planting the well-known Avenue of Trees, now dedicated in his honour. This towering Avenue, consisting of the majestic Camphor Laurels, still remains today- over 100 years on.
Prior to WW1, a menagerie was established within the gardens and, up until the 1960's, kangaroos, wallabies, emus and an assortment of other native bird life were displayed in cages. These, along with an adjoining plant nursery have since been demolished, gone also are the band rotunda, hothouse and the bluestone kiosk which once stood at the Arthur Street side of the park.
Today the park is an intricate mixture of times past and present. Its style and layout are said to reflect the second half of the Victorian era, whilst having been slightly updated to accommodate for changing times.
Now a centre point for local culture and entertainment, Queens Park provides the perfect location to revive Shakespeare's plays at the annual Shakespeare in Queens Park Festival.
Items you will need: magazines, coloured pencils, crayons, glue, alfoil, patterns from wrapping paper (checks, stripes, objects of any kind) coloured paper, small pebbles or stones, grains of rice or couscous, small sticks, leaves etc etc., Depending on time constraints this can be a two or three dimensional project.
1. Explain to your class that today they are going to create a stage set. Discuss with your class the environment of Queens Park. Talk about the trees and the pathways and the sounds of nearby traffic and people. Now discuss what a typical street scene in the Mediterranean might have looked like in the sixteenth century. The two images couldn't be more different. Now ask your class to divide into groups of four. One half of the groups will create, as a collective image, the street scene and, the other half of the groups will create a version of the stage in Queens Park. Explain that the images should incorporate a water or boat theme.
2. Discuss the differences in design with your class.
3. Discuss the exits and entrances of their designs. How user friendly are the exits and entrances. Would they interfere with the action or would they compliment the action.