The Darling Downs starts at the edge of the Great Dividing Range, in the city of Toowoomba. It is the largest inland city in Queensland, and a service centre for the southern and western Downs.
The Darling Downs region is known for its cathedrals, universities, fine wines, fresh produce and flowers. Toowoomba hosts Easterfest in April and the Carnival of Flowers in September. To the south, Stanthorpe and Texas are well known for wine making and orcharding, with the Apple and Grape Festival giving residents and visitors the chance to celebrate both industries.
Agriculture, the emerging energy sector, and the retail and manufacturing industries that support them are some of the most economically significant sectors on the Darling Downs.
Agriculture and food processing
The Darling Downs economy has a traditional base of agriculture activity, supported by its unique diversity of land, climate and water supply.
The region is well known for its horticulture, cereal grains, irrigation and grazing industries.
Produce from South West Queensland is also transported to market via the Darling Downs, and intensive processing industries (including feedlotting) are emerging and expanding.
Several international companies have recently committed to developing multi-billion-dollar coal seam gas (CSG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) industries in the Surat Basin. Gas will be used for local power generation, local consumption and exports via a new LNG facility in Gladstone that is connected to the region by a world-class network of pipes.
The Surat Basin energy province covers about 110,000 square kilometres, spread across most of the Darling Downs and into the South West Queensland region. It is one of Queensland's most energy-rich CSG resources, with more than 6 billion tonnes of proven thermal coal resources, which are largely undeveloped and highly suitable for electricity generation.
The Darling Downs is increasingly becoming a regional transport hub and a service centre for the expanding Surat Basin energy province, prompting growth in retail trade, manufacturing and transport.
Manufacturing industries make up some of the largest employers in the Darling Downs, after agriculture and mining. Food and beverage manufacturing is the largest subsector due to the area's proximity to agricultural production.
Machinery and equipment manufacturing and metal product manufacturing are also well represented within the region, with high growth expected as the energy sector continues to expand.
- Read the Darling Downs Regional Plan.
- Learn more about the CSG-LNG industry in Queensland.
- Contact the local and regional councils of the Darling Downs region to find out more about specific towns and locations:
- Last reviewed
- November 6, 2013