Street art has been a rising phenomena around Australia over the last few years, what started out as hip and urban has spread to the country, some of the best pieces you will ever see can be found in quite, rural locations. Toowoomba has welcomed and nurtured the street art scene, hosting several rounds of the first coat festival.
I can be very cynical about my home town’s aspirations at times, the conservatism and the lack of cultural diversity in the past always felt uncomfortable for me. For a long time Toowoomba seemed to revel in its narrow world view, a significant number of its residents never seem to leave their home town or travel further than the coast or the state capital but the town has grown up a lot over recent years, looking outward and welcoming change, priding itself on it’s increasingly diverse demographic. Toowoomba now has aspirations to be the Melbourne of the north, to that end our lane ways are peppered with cool murals, hipster coffee shops, bars and restaurants.
Street art by its very nature is ephemeral and a number of pieces have changed or disappeared over the years but it looks like the trend is here to stay, with new pieces popping up. There are lots of reasons to visit Toowoomba, garden city and gate way to the west, the street art is just one of many and it is not to be missed if you are visiting or just passing through. It is well worth taking the time to seek out some of the more hidden pieces and you never know what you might stumble across if you are out for a stroll. One of my favourites is hidden away. The floating polar bear below is hidden in a tiny lane way in the centre of town.
Or there is Fintan Magee’s prominent elephant on the main street.
There are so many striking images to be seen it is hard to know where to start, these are just a few
This one is fairly new, a wall re-done from a previous mural
Indicative of the ephemeral nature of street art is the now lost mural of Steve Irwin by noted American artist Mark Paul Deren, below is an old photo, now it is just a blank white wall. A new owner took over the building and sadly they decided to paint over it.
These have just been a few of the many examples of colourful street art and murals to be seen in Toowoomba. A leisurely crawl of the coffee shops around town would take you to some of the best pieces, so worth the effort, just grab a coffee as you go.