Tale of two great gardens
IT WAS ablaze with colour.
Nestled below Toowoomba in the lee of the escarpment lay the most magnificent railway station and gardens imaginable.
The occupants of six cars from Grafton Vintage Motor Vehicle Club stumbled upon Spring Bluff station as we travelled through scenic back-roads this week.
The station is on the main line between Toowoomba and Ipswich, and has a long and proud history of winning multiple awards in various well-known garden competitions - including Toowoomba's contemporary Carnival of Flowers festival held in September each year.
We were blown away by the variety and colour of the floral displays, by the breathtaking blossoms and by the idyllic setting on the side of the mountain range.
The old coffee shop was an added bonus - one of many beautifully painted period buildings on the site!
Our research revealed that during the 1930s and '40s, the gardens had been carved out of the rocky slope by dedicated Queensland Railway staff.
Almost immediately, their efforts snared the coveted first prize in QR's beautiful stations competition.
Thus started the tradition that has rewarded thousands of visitors to the site from that day to this.
It has to be said however, that the devastating floods that hit Toowoomba then tore down the mountain to engulf the community of Murphy's Creek and went on to destroy Grantham in January 2011 also destroyed Spring Bluff.
The photos of that event - on display at the station - are truly heart-breaking.
But incredibly, the dedication and hard work of QR staff has resulted in the complete restoration of the station and gardens which now look better than ever.
When God created this beautiful world, he looked out upon it and saw everything he had made - and he was delighted with it all.
The Bible tells us that he then created people and placed them in a magnificent garden with everything needed to sustain an unparalleled quality of life.
But it didn't last! The beauty and the harmony were destroyed as a consequence of disobedience and self-centeredness.
It then took a gutsy effort by God to address and remedy this heart-breaking situation.
Yes, in Jesus, he painstakingly re-built the foundations, making it possible for us to choose to enjoy a new relationship with him.
Mind you, to see, experience and embrace this, we do need to turn off the sometimes chaotic highway of life and search for the beauty and tranquillity and colour and magnificence that is the creation of the Creator.
Just as we did when we found Spring Bluff.