Never a bridge too far for Carol and her beloved Toogoolawah
THERE was never a bridge too far for Carol Toms in her mission to better her beloved Toogoolawah.
Now her name will live on in the community for generations to come.
The pedestrian bridge (also known as the bubble bridge) that links Toogoolawah State High School to the town has been named in her honour in recognition of her successful fight to have it retained for pedestrian safety.
Mrs Toms served as a councillor on the old Esk Shire Council from 1983 to 1990.
During that time the Department of Main Roads decided to realign the entrance into the town and as a new bridge was built, the old timber bridge was handed over to the council to do with as it pleased.
The prevailing thought at the time was to pull it down as it would be too costly to maintain but Mrs Toms argued vigorously to retain it for the safety of students.
The original bridge stood for more than 25 years before it was upgraded and replaced with a concrete bridge in recent years.
"It is special,” Mrs Toms said.
"The mayor says it should last 100 years that bridge, and I'm telling you I'm not going to last 100 years,” she said with a laugh.
"It meant everything. It meant all the work I'd done for the community in the 54 years that I lived there was recognised.”
Mrs Toms and her husband Leon have moved to Ipswich in the past three weeks to be closer to their two children.
But Toogoolawah will always be home.
"I come over the hill coming into Toogoolawah and see the lights and (think) 'oh I'm home'.”
It has not been an easy transition and Mrs Toms admits she is still "raw.”
"Everything about Toogoolawah I like,” she said.
"The people of Toogoolawah, they are just so gorgeous... the friendliness, the willingness to put themselves out to help. It's a great community.
"Don't get me started because I only just left it.”
Originally from Brisbane, she was whisked away from the nurses' quarters at the Royal Brisbane Hospital to the area by her husband after their marriage.
They quickly started a family and Mrs Toms joined her husband's business on the land before they sold up in the 1970s.
The pair moved into town and ran the Toogoolawah bus service for nearly three decades.
During her time in town, she said there weren't too many groups she didn't participate in at one point in time.
She fought for the Watts Bridge Memorial Airfield to be established and argued strongly for the introduction of wheelie bins.
"My husband says when I die, on my tombstone he's going to put 'she's gone to a meeting, given half a chance she'll chair it',” she laughed.