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Grandchester

The tiny hamlet of Grandchester is located in the beautiful Lockyer Valley between Ipswich and Toowoomba.

The pride and joy of Grandchester is the Grandchester Railway Station, built in 1865. Listed by the National Trust, the Station is significant as the terminus for the first railway line built in Queensland. Running from Ipswich to Grandchester the railway was also the first narrow gauge mainline railway in the world.

Before the construction of the railway line, Grandchester was little more than a whistle-stop for travellers, and was known as Bigge's Camp. Queensland's Governor at the time, felt that a place at the centre of such a significant historical event deserved a more dignified name, and so renamed the site Grandchester.

Visitors can experience the days of the steam engine at Grandchester's Model Steam Railway (open the first Sunday of each month from 10.00am to 3.00pm) by riding scale models of steam (and diesel) locomotives.

Not far from the railway station, the historic buildings of an old homestead have been restored and converted into a luxury resort - right in the heart of a working cattle station. Here amidst the clean country air, guests can experience the workings of a real farm.

The nearby villages of Rosewood and Laidley are of equal historical significance with heritage buildings lining the streets and charming aspects making them well worth a look.

Grandchester is located approximately 45 minutes west of Brisbane and 20 minutes from Ipswich.

Grandchester, Ipswich Area
Queensland
Australia

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The Staging Post Café

Gatton, Lockyer Valley Area
The Staging Post Café makes its home in the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre. The venue is fully licensed, with beer and wine available for thirsty sightseers. The café serves Modern Australian dishes, from scones with jam and cream to steaks with veggies. All produce is sourced from local suppliers, so diners can eat well and support local industry.

Brisbane Whale Watching

Multiple Locations
From AU$135.00 - 135.00
Brisbane Whale Watching invites you to come on board the magnificent 'Eye-Spy' for an encounter with the whales. Of all the great whales, the humpback is the most surface active displaying behaviour that will not only inspire you but leave you in awe. There quite clearly is no better place to observe the mighty humpback than Brisbane's Moreton Bay, recognised as one of the world's best whale watching areas and only 30 minutes north of Brisbane Your captain Kerry Lopez is recognised as the only woman captain, skippering a whale watching venture in the South Pacific Rim. Her crew are skilled dedicated seamen who will assure you a pleasant and sound whale watching adventure. Brisbane Whale Watching has been successfully operating tours from Redcliffe for over 18 years. 2003 saw the operation of a brand new vessel. Eye Spy represents the ultimate in 'whale friendly' design. Purpose built for whale watching this locally built 30 metre catamaran is a three million dollar injection into the tourism industry. Eye-Spy is fully air-conditioned and can carry over 300 passengers. Six outdoor viewing decks and indoor floor to ceiling glass will significantly enhance the whale watching experience.

Fordsdale Horseback Adventures

Fordsdale, Lockyer Valley Area
From AU$66.00 - 320.00
Fordsdale Horseback Adventures, is positioned on a 1,000 acre grazing property in the Lockyer Valley, Queensland. The property is situated 30 kilometres from Gatton, 50 kilometres from Toowoomba and 120 kilometres from Brisbane. It is also about two and a half hours drive from the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. They conduct day horse trail rides, one hour, two hour and all day rides. Also they offer horse riding holidays. They have fully catered accommodation for their horse riding guests, and a self-contained cottage. Guests are able to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the property, as well as take part in adventurous trekking. Fordsdale offers an experience for both the experienced riders and for people who have not ridden horses before. All trail riding packages can be tailored to suit groups or families.

Das Neumann Haus Museum

Laidley, Lockyer Valley Area
  • Free WiFi
Free Entry
Located in the gorgeous town of Laidley, Das Neumann Haus was built by German immigrant Hermann Neumann in 1893. The house has been restored to its former condition, refurnished in the style of the 1930s and open to the public as a house museum. Relax on the deck or under the shade of the 100 year old Jacaranda tree in the park. Sample delicious cakes, smoothies and more at Annie's Place Coffee Shop. Free wifi is available. Special events include the Heritage Festival annually in April, and the Laidley Spring Festival annually in September.

Ma Ma Creek War Memorial

Ma Ma Creek, Lockyer Valley Area
Free Entry
Fleurine Andrews' three sons died fighting in France in WWI. Their memory lives on in an unusual soldier statue in a small country cemetery, 13 kilometres south-west of Gatton. Mrs Andrews commissioned monumental masons AL Petrie and Son to produce the memorial, erected in the St Stephen's Anglican Church cemetery at Ma Ma Creek in 1920. The soldier statue, a popular choice of tribute in Queensland communities, embodies qualities of the ideal Australian: loyalty, youth, courage, innocence and masculinity. This one is a rarity, the only surviving 'Digger' wearing a cap instead of a slouch hat. Private James Martin Andrews was killed on 5 August 1916, aged 26. Private George Henry Andrews died on 9 June 1917, aged 28. Private Bertie Reginald Andrews was killed on 10 June 1918, aged 20. The war memorial stands behind the Andrews family plot and is the focus of public ANZAC Day memorial services. Mrs Andrews also donated a church organ in her sons' memory.

Weeping Mother Memorial

Gatton, Lockyer Valley Area
Free Entry
Many tears were shed on home soil as blood seeped in WWI trenches, Queensland's outpouring of grief most poignantly captured in a marble statue of a seated mother, weeping, at Gatton. While the foundation stone was laid in April 1922, it's not known when the marble memorial, which includes a mausoleum-type structure, was unveiled. It is known that it was designed and produced by Ipswich mason Frank Williams at a cost of more than £500 and that money was raised through public subscription. The weeping mother, slightly smaller than life-size, sits on a mound of rocks, her chin resting on her right hand, her left hand holding a scroll with the inscription 'Their names liveth for evermore'. Gatton's farming community lost 68 local men in WWI. The names of locals who died in subsequent conflicts, 23 in WWII and two in Vietnam, have been added. A light to illuminate the statue at night was added by the Gatton RSL and Women's Auxiliary, a WWI nurse flicking the switch on Armistice Day 1933.

Goomburra, Main Range National Park

Goomburra, Southern Downs Area
Free Entry
Goomburra is one of four visitor nodes of Main Range National Park - part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. Rugged mountain ranges, spectacular lookouts, trickling streams and rare wildlife make this a very special place. Two open, grassy camping areas hug Dalrymple Creek in the western foothills of the range; close to three walking tracks ranging from an easy 1.2 kilometre circuit suitable for wheelchairs with assistance, to a six kilometre track showcasing waterfalls and freshwater habitats. A short four-wheel-drive away, two more tracks lead to scenic lookouts, both within an hour's walk. Several longer walks can also be chosen, including along an old forestry snigging trail to a winder used back when timber was hauled from these forests. Look for New England blackbutt and manna gums in dry open forests; giant spear lillies on cliff edges; and vines, palms and epiphytes in the rainforests of moist gullies and the escarpment. Watch for echidnas and koalas. See satin bowerbirds and variegated fairy-wrens, or listen to the calls of shy yellow-tailed black-cockatoos. Goomburra is a special area for frogs; keep to tracks and please do not disturb rocks or pollute watercourses.

Forest Hill War Memorial

Forest Hill, Lockyer Valley Area
Free Entry
An ex-serviceman who fought with the Australian Light Horse in WWI is believed to be the sculptor of Forest Hill's war memorial in the Lockyer Valley. The 4.5 metre monument, a life-size soldier standing on a tall sandstone pedestal with classically carved colonnettes, was unveiled in 1921 by five mothers whose sons had died at war. Monument masons PJ Lowther and Sons of Brisbane were commissioned to create the £300 cenotaph for the Forest Hill Memorial League. It's believed the family firm's sculptor son Charles Lowther actually did the carving. The finely carved grey sandstone monument faces east, towards the rising sun. Inscribed on the stone are the names of 97 soldiers who served including 11 who did not return. It's located in a small park adjacent to a railway line. A plate with the names of WWII servicemen has been added.

Rosewood Railway Museum

Rosewood, Ipswich Area
If you head for a little place called Rosewood, tucked away in the Bremer River valley, the train is waiting for you on the last Sunday of each month. Rosewood is 50 kilometres west of the city of Brisbane and 18 kilometres west of Ipswich and is served by the electric train from Ipswich. The town is home to the Rosewood Railway Museum that seeks to recreate the atmosphere of a typical Queensland branch line of the steam and early Diesel era. The Museum is an operating railway that includes a PB15 steam locomotive that hauls restored wooden carriages plus a variety of diesel locomotives and railmotors. The line is high in the hills above Rosewood so there are plenty of steep grades where the steam engine has to work hard. The museum, part of the Australian Railway Historical Society Queensland Division, also has an extensive collection of restored carriages and wagons on display. Trains run on the last Sunday of each month and the Museum is open as a static display on the other Sundays of each month. Cab rides in the vintage diesel locomotives are available around the main depot yard at Kunkala Station on running days.
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