Newtown, a residential suburb, is immediately west of central Toowoomba. It was situated in the vicinity of the boundary between Drayton and Toowoomba municipalities, and a compromise racecourse was reserved there in 1860 in an endeavour to settle contending horse-racing interests. The reserve is now Clifford Park, Toowoomba's metropolitan racecourse.
Newtown was within walking distance of Toowoomba, and in 1899 the St Mary's Christian Brothers Boys' College was built, positioned on West Street. Nine years later the Anglican Church opened The Glennie School for girls, named after Benjamin Glennie, the first Minister of St Lukes church (1856) in Ruthven Street, Toowoomba. Spreydon College (1908) was opened, in affiliation with the Presbyterian Church. When taken over by the Church nine years later, it was moved to a site in East Toowoomba and renamed Fairholme.
In the course of its urbanisation Newtown was detached from Gowrie Shire, Toowoomba's western neighbour, and it had a town council from 1913 until 1917, when it was merged with Toowoomba. Urbanisation brought the need for State primary school, which was opened in 1924. The Catholic Church strengthened its presence in Newtown with St Ursula's Girl's College (1931) and Our Lady of Lourdes primary school (1940). Protestant churches opened neighbourhood buildings, St Alban's Anglican church on the main road, Anzac Avenue, along with a Methodist church in Russell Street and Lutheran and Presbyterian churches.
Regional shopping was centralised in Toowoomba city, but the growth of a western suburbs retail catchment led to drive-in shopping centres in Newtown. The largest, Clifford Gardens, has discount department and variety stores, two supermarkets and nearly 90 other stores. Smaller centres are near the Anzac Avenue/Hill Street corner and further west beyond the racecourse. Evening meetings are held on most Saturdays at the racecourse, making it a popular venue for TAB punters.
Newtown includes the locality of west Toowoomba where the Gowrie Road Hotel is found in Bridge Street. The hotel is a reminder of Newtown's beginning in Gowrie Shire, which was named after Mt Gowrie (675m) further west. Newtown's main public space, Newtown Park, is the site of the State Rose Garden. 'Spreydon', the site of the former college in Warra Street, and 'Elphin', a pastoralist's town house in Anzac Avenue, are listed on the Queensland heritage register. Newtown's census population in 2006 was 9795.
Paul McNally, ed, School ties: a history of private schooling in Toowoomba, Toowoomba, Darling Downs Institute Press, 1989