As of today, the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is over, and most visitors have returned home. They have said their last goodbye. But for the locals, like me, we get to stay and enjoy the parks, gardens, cafes and everything else Toowoomba has to offer.
Many people, including volunteers, contributed to the success of this year’s carnival. It is a result of people working together. This year the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is 70 years old. There are people who have a story to tell about their time spent at the carnival. Some returned this year from other parts of Australia to be part of the 70th celebrations.
Then there is the story of Maureen Kistle who contributed to the success of the Toowoomba Carnival over the years. In the 1950s she was a Toowoomba local. As dux of Fairholme College Maureen planned to study in Brisbane. But her life took an unexpected turn. Her mother, unbeknown to her, entered Maureen in the Miss Queensland competition. She later went on to become Miss Australia in 1955. She was a successful and inspirational woman and a high achiever for a woman of her time. She married Sydney Schubert. In 1985 Sydney Schubert gained the award of Knight Bachelor. It was awarded for his outstanding contribution to the Queensland public service. Maureen then became Lady Schubert. Read more here.
As I contemplate another carnival is over I have been wandering around the house singing the Seekers song The Carnival is Over. Here are a couple of verses.
Say goodbye my own true lover
As we sing a lovers song
How it breaks my heart to leave you
Now the carnival is gone
High above the dawn is waiting
And my tears are falling rain
For the carnival is over
We may never meet again
Like a drum my heart was beating
And your kiss was sweet as wine
But the joys of love are fleeting
For Pierrot and Columbine
Now the harbor light is calling
This will be our last goodbye
Though the carnival is over
I will love you till I die
How many people met at this year’s Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers? Did they say goodbye, or will the first hello continue on as a lovers tale? The lyrics tell us that the joys of love were fleeting for Pierrot and Columbine. Do you know the story of Pierrot and Columbine who feature in the lyrics? They were characters in the Commedia del’arte. A popular pantomime-like theatre in Italy, dating back to the 16th – 18th century. Pierrot, the sad clown with a white face, falls in love with the beautiful Columbine. But Columbine said goodbye and Pierrot’s heart was broken. She left him for Harlequin!
Today one by one the cars left Toowoomba. Some travelled west or south to their homes while others travelled down the Toowoomba Range (gradient max 10%). This year for the first time, there is the option of travelling the Second Range Crossing (the bypass with a maximum gradient of 6%). It opened a few weeks ago and is an amazing asset to Toowoomba and the Darling Downs (Warrego Highway, National Highway A2). At the moment it is toll free!
If you stay in Toowoomba long enough you will fall in love with the people, the places, the views, the culture. It is a city birthed out of a big country town. If you are one of those singing the lyrics ‘Though the carnival is over Toowoomba, I will love you till I die.’ I am sure your visit will not be your last goodbye. Toowoomba will wait for you. The 2020 Carnival is only one-year away!