The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail is a 161 km recreation trail from Wulkuraka to Yarraman. It will follow the old Brisbane Valley railway line and provide walkers, touring cyclists and horse riders with an opportunity to experience the history and landscape of the Brisbane Valley.
The 19 km Esk to Toogoolawah section of the Brisbane Valley Rail is northwest of Brisbane along the Warrego and Brisbane Valley Highways. The township of Toogoolawah is approximately 120 km from the Brisbane CBD.
This section of the trail travels adjacent to Camp Creek and crosses Cressbrook Creek, a tributary of the Brisbane River, at Toogoolawah. The trail extends through farmland including lucerne, other pasture and small crops that are important to the local economy. Both townships have many sites of historical interest including churches, buildings and the Watts Bridge Memorial Airfield near Toogoolawah where various events are held throughout the year.
The trail is for walking, cycling and horse riding only. The trail surface is gravel and unsuitable for road bicycles or personal mobility vehicles. No motorised vehicles of any type are allowed.
Toogoolawah is derived from the Aboriginal words 'dhoo' (a generic term for tree) and 'goo/lawa', meaning 'crescent shaped' or 'bent like a crescent moon'.
Yuggera and Ugarapul peoples are the traditional owners of the Toogoolawah district. Prior to European settlement in 1824, the landscape of South East Queensland (as elsewhere in Australia) was influenced and protected by millennia of Aboriginal stewardship. Indigenous use and management of the landscape maintained a balance between the land and human needs. The South East Queensland Traditional Owners Alliance now oversees archaeological research into the Indigenous heritage of the Brisbane Valley.
The first European settler in the Brisbane Valley was David McConnel, who took up the Cressbrook run in 1841. In the late 1880s his son James established a condensed milk factory on Cressbrook Creek and subdivided a large part of the run into dairy farms and the township of Cressbrook Creek (later Toogoolawah).
The McConnel family was deeply involved in Toogoolawah's economic and social development, encouraging cultural, religious, sporting and economic activity. They employed a contractor to build homes for their farmers, donated land for church purposes, and promoted a variety of district clubs, organisations and societies. Expansion of the town coincided with the rail connection to Ipswich in 1904 and the purchase of the factory by the Nestlé and Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company in 1907.
Toogoolawah lays claim to one of the most significant events in Queensland history. In 1873, Queen Victoria sent a small herd of red deer as a gift after Queensland was named in her honour. The deer were released at Cressbrook Station in Toogoolawah and descendants of those deer can be found throughout the region today.
Esk – Ottaba: 12 km
Ottaba – Toogoolawah: 7 km
Public toilets, picnic facilities, post office and convenience stores are located at Esk and Toogoolawah. Trail users have many accommodation options in and around Esk and Toogoolawah. Horse accommodation and facilities are available at the showgrounds in Esk and Toogoolawah.