While I dearly love Australia’s gorgeous beaches and stunning bush country, I also like simply wandering through small Queensland towns like Clifton, Allora, and my personal favorite, Warwick.
Warwick looks like the movie set for Western classics, especially if you raise your eyes above street level to the marvelous balconies, railings, and cupolas of the dozens of fabulous old hotels, theaters, and government buildings. The elegant Town Hall (see above) was built of local sandstone in 1888. One of the oldest local authority buildings in Queensland it features a stately clock tower.
My first visit to Warwick was on a blazing hot summer day. After strolling along the main drag in the withering sun it was time for a cold drink. My friend and I nipped into the Criterion Hotel, found perches on rickety wooden stools, and ordered Lemon Lime and Bitters. I happily guzzled my frosty drink and amused myself watching the locals chatting away at the bar and playing pool in a nearby room. I confess I was slightly disappointed at the dearth of wooden legged cowboys, bush rangers, and sheriffs with shiny tin badges, but a girl can’t have everything.
Warwick is located 162 km southwest of Brisbane and is the major commercial center in the Darling Downs. Established in the mid-1800’s, things really got moving in Warwick with the arrival of the railroad from Ipswich in 1871.
I love that Warwick shot to fame with the hurling of a well-aimed egg at a visiting dignitary.
It was 1917 when The Little Digger, Prime Minister ‘Billy’ Hughes visited Warwick to press his case for conscription. The townsfolk, along with the majority of Australians, were against the idea, and one fellow showed his disapproval by launching an egg at the Prime Minister. Hughes was furious and insisted the egg thrower be arrested by the local policeman. The copper refused saying that as no Queensland law had been broken, he could not arrest the offender. Legend has it that this incident and the stubbornness of the policeman led directly to the establishment of the Commonwealth Police Force.
Nowadays Warwick is known more for its weekly Pig and Calf Sale (click here to read my article on this marvelous event), Rose Festival, and the annual Warwick Rodeo than egg-throwing miscreants.
I’m so glad that towns like this still exist, providing beautiful buildings and broad, tree-lined streets for folks to enjoy on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
How To Enjoy Small Town Australia
- Wear comfortable shoes and a wide-brimmed hat.
- Wear sunscreen!
- Stop often in local cafes, pubs and restaurants to sample local drinks and regional dishes.
- Take time to visit local museums and get to know the colorful history behind otherwise stodgy buildings and meaningless monuments.
- Don’t be afraid to ask locals to tell you more about their town. You’ll get stories to entertain you for hours.
- Time your visit to take in local attractions. A few minutes online will give you all the information you need for local markets, fairs and festivals.
For more information on Warwick, visit: http://www.warwickevents.com/
What is one thing you’d tell a visitor to see in your town?