Laidley is the second largest town in the Lockyer Valley, a sleepy little township which calls itself the ‘Country Garden of Queensland’ because the rich soils surrounding the town support mixed farming, vegetable growing for the Brisbane markets, dairying and cotton. A hub of activity throughout the week with art and craft stores becoming a very popular stop not only for locals, but also for the many visitors to the town. The town wanders through the countryside and is notable for a statue of a Clydesdale in the main street (symbol of the contribution made to the town by the animal), the Das Neumann house and an interesting pioneer village museum.
Location: Laidley is 83 km west of Brisbane and 108 m above sea level. The town is now by-passed a few kilometres to the north by the Warrego Highway from Brisbane to Toowoomba.
Once a popular stop on the Cobb & Co route, Laidley is able to provide its visitors with a range of every day needs as it is supported by a major food store, banks and other general stores. Laidley is renowned for its country Markets, which are a feature in the main street of town every Friday. The Clydesdale Statue gives notice that once a year the Laidley Heavy Horse Field Day Association holds a Show and Field Day. Animals come considerable distances to compete in the show.
Laidley Spring Festival
The Laidley Spring Festival bursts into retro life with a 3 day weekend of spring celebrations, best enjoyed by an historic steam train journey to and from the event. For over 50 years the festival has been an integral part of life in the beautiful little country town and is the one time in the year that its diversity is highlighted by community groups and associations that get together for the occasion. The City to the Bush festival programme includes a Street Parade featuring vintage vehicles, floats and bands, the annual Gardens and Flowers Show, an Orchid Show, Quilt and Craft Expo, church displays, arts and craft stalls and more.
Das Neumann Haus, easily located just off the main street on the corner of William and Patrick Streets, is one of those fascinating idiosyncratic buildings which can make an ordinary town seen quite special. It was built by Herman Neumann, a local carpenter and cabinet maker, and for many years was used as the family residence as well as a furniture showroom. It was handed over to the local council in 1983. Location: William Street
Laidley Historical Society Museum
Laidley has an excellent pioneer village with a superbly preserved slab hut as well as a an old gaol, general store, butchers shop and a number of other interesting buildings. The pioneer village is located where the old road through to Toowoomba used to go. It is fascinating, looking at the town which has now been by-passed by the Brisbane to Toowoomba road, to think that after 1865 it was the first stopping place for passengers who had caught the train from Ipswich to Grandchester and who were heading further west to Toowoomba, the Darling Downs and beyond. The Museum is open Sundays 2.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. or by appointment and is located to the south of the town on an old paddock which used to be a resting paddock for the Cobb & Co horses.
Rated among the top ten most fertile farming areas in the world, the Lockyer Valley is an intensively cultivated area often referred to as “South East Queensland s Salad Bowl”. It grows the most diverse range of commercial fruit and vegetables of any area in Australia. The valley is enclosed on either side by the Great Dividing Range. The largest town in the Lockyer Valley is Gatton. Other centres include Laidley, Forest Hill, Grandchester, Grantham, Helidon, Withcott and Prenzlau.
The first European to explore the Laidley area was Allan Cunningham who, travelling through the area in 1829, named it after the New South Wales deputy-commissary-general James Laidley.
The area was settled in the 1840s by J. P. Robinson who called his property Laidley Plains Station. By 1879 it had been officially proclaimed although it wasn’t until 1902 that the Laidley borough was officially announced.