Gowrie Junction – so close to Toowoomba, but so far removed in terms of its country cousin feel. GJ has an appeal for young families and raising children with the fresh air and the chance to get mud on your boots collecting the eggs.

The school and the One Stop Store are the key to GJ surviving and now thriving. You can pull up for just about anything from Clint and his friendly staff and get you car fixed at the mechanics next door….and their hot chips are superb! Rural dairy farms dot the plains and the draft horse breeding down the road is a Sunday sight worth driving out for from Toowoomba…..and those hot chips!

The activity constructing new housing estates, and extending infrastructure indicate its steady growth to complement the long term residences….and only a 15 minute drive from Toowoomba.

The sense of community is alive and well.

Quirky mailboxes add a sense of fun to this pleasant plainland with its dairy farms spreading under the rolling hills. There is a satisfying blend of the old and the new. The Honey Shed is another place to spend time with Jim and Louise and sample the local product.

Outstanding in this district is the renowned Gummingurru site. What a wonderful place to visit the Banda Cultural Centre, and explore the living history of the Bunya Feasting trail and the continuing sacred stories of the traditional Aboriginal peoples of SE Qld. Everyone needs the serenity and dignity of this shared learning place on Old Homebush Road.

Travlyn on towards Kingsthorpe you pass the Bethlehem Lutheran Church with its beautifully tended gardens and graveyard in a peaceful setting at Glencoe.

Kingsthorpe from this back road completely surprises. Previous and cursory glimpses of Kingsthorpe have been from the highway when driving west from Toowoomba to Dalby. Certainly no enticement to veer off the highway to spend time checking it out. However, the drive from Gowrie Junction brought us in to the town from a very different viewpoint, and the first sign we saw was the way to the Lookout at Mt Kingsthorpe. From the steep drive to the top, the view was all encompassing of the town – much bigger and more productive than that highway sign indicated. We could have tackled the walking track, but chose to picnic with our hot chips from the One Stop Shop in GJ instead – but the track was well designed for hardier souls.

So what does Kingsthorpe offer a prospective resident? Well a small, but well-stocked IGA sits alongside a very healthy medical suite of businesses. While this is convenient for the locals it is not so healthy for the traditional local convenience store come Post Office, which proudly stocks the local winery offerings from 2nd2None. I can attest to their moreishness!

Community spirit is the common denominator amongst the small rural communities on the Downs, and keeping interested tourists coming relies on community wanting to retain its history, restore its vitality or rejig its existence. Local employment is buoyed by the few places in town, but most travel to work in nearby Toowoomba or are small independent mobile businesses. Though the pub stands staunchly in the hope that post-COVID times might be better. Let’s hope the feral dogs causing havoc hear about that as well!

The upkeep of buildings and significant features such as the town entrance show the willingness of the community to keep Kingsthorpe on the map. Locals play their part with more creativity as well. Keep it up Kingsthorpe.