Are we having an Identity Crisis?

Are we part of Southeast Queensland or are we the Capital of the Darling Downs Southwest Queensland? 

Maybe we are both.  Are these dual roles, jewels?  Precious enablers?  Or do these roles deliver trinkets?

Are we intrinsically linked to the hustle and bustle of the coastline and river city or embedded in the character of the country?

Is our uniqueness, our identify defined by Southeast Queensland or enhanced as Queensland’s largest inland city, Australia’s second largest inland city and the gateway to the west.

Identity Crisis are we part of SE QLD picture depics Olympic flag

Is our city and region having an identity crisis? 

Do these dual roles leave us confused?

Has it resulted in a lack of clear direction, purpose and an overall historical sense of Toowoomba, the Garden City and gateway to the west being lost? 

I ponder whether our involvement in government institutions such as the Southeast Queensland Council of Mayors has restricted our sense of place, confused our belonging, and provided others with a distorted view of the city, the region. 

Has it impacted businesses? Positively?  Negatively?

In my view, our “southeast Queensland” identity has restricted the ability of local business to secure business incentives such as payroll tax discounts and grants. 

Did it assist in securing Olympic Infrastructure? Build a stadium (second and third largest inland cities have one)?  Connect Toowoomba to Brisbane via train? Did it help with the second range crossing?  Has it doubled the work for local bureaucrats?

Is this an Identity Crisis? Which is it?  What do we want to be?

How would you describe Toowoomba?  Part of southeast Queensland or as the Regional Capital of the Darling Downs and Southwest or simply The Garden City or something else?

Is the uncertainty about our identity, hindering our ability to drive change, attract tourists, win major projects, build our own brand, and deliver business growth and sustainability?

George Akerlof and Rachel Kranton argue the importance of identity and its role in human behaviour, economic prosperity, and general community wellbeing. 

Taking this lead, I believe, clarification of Toowoomba’s identity crisis may be the most important economic decision the city can make. 

As our research continues, what is crystal-clear is that clarification of Toowoomba’s identity is required, as it is intrinsically linked to our economic future. 

I believe that our identity lies wholly as Australia’s biggest inland city (other than the Capital), built on its rich traditions of country, the Capital of the great Darling Downs and Southwest and we should remove ourselves out of the shadows of southeast Queensland. 

So, what do you think it is?   

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts by emailing

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