The Literary History of Toowoomba

This site is an initiative of the Public Memory research and service cluster at the University of Southern Queensland and represents a contribution by the English discipline to the centenary celebrations of the city.

It is intended to serve as a resource for anyone interested in the literary history of Toowoomba and its surrounds and is designed to articulate with the local component of the Queensland Schools English curriculum.



Toowoomba has a distinguished literary history, which is worthy of collection. In the lead up to Federation in the 1890s it produced Australia’s most influential critic and editor, A. G. Stephens; the nation’s most successful humorist, Steele Rudd; and a writer, George Essex Evans, who on his death was eulogised as the national poet by the Prime Minister of the day, Alfred Deakin.





This rich tradition continues to the present day with distinguished writers of national significance such as the poets David Rowbotham, Bruce Dawe and Jean Kent. The city also boasts a number of other significant literary figures that are now much less well known than they should be, as well as an active on-going contemporary literary culture that is deserving of recognition.




The Literary History of Toowoomba is divided into three sections: Writers; Places; History.

Writers provides a series of biographies for important Toowoomba writers and some suggestions for further reading.

Places identifies a number of significant literary sites in the city and the surrounding area.

History divides the past into significant periods and under appropriate headings provides a more detailed account of the City’s literary culture.

Writers and Places are under continuous development and will accumulate new entries as research continues.