Today, the Trust’s Management Committee maintains the total site (excluding the rail line) employing a caretaker to maintain the grounds and beautiful gardens. The spring display is absolutely stunning with thousands of visitors each September enjoying the magnificent display with an array of poppies, ranunculus, stock, snapdragons, petunias and many other annuals bursting into colour under the warm sunshine. “Beautiful”, “Tranquil” and “Picturesque” are three words which appear frequently in the visitors book on the station platform.
Many overseas visitors are struck by the natural beauty of the site and pause to enjoy the tranquillity, then spend a great deal of time photographing the wonderful scenery. Back in 1914, Queensland Railways launched a garden competition to encourage railway staff to beautify the stations and grow vegetables. This challenge was enthusiastically embraced by Station Master Ralph Kirsop and his wife Lillian. During the 1930’s and 1940’s, Ralph, Lillian and their Night Officers removed 50 tons of stone and gravel in a wheel barrow to level the foundations, removed a bank 300 feet long and 20 feet high for better perspective, terraced the whole garden with 120 tons of blue metal supplied by the Department and planted thousands of Iceland poppies, roses, bulbs, azaleas, sweet peas and tulips.
Together the employees provided approximately 22,000 man hours of work. Their efforts were rewarded with first prize in the Southern Division for at least nine years. In 1962, Don Wharton was appointed Station Master with the condition that he maintain the gardens which had fallen into a state of neglect. Together Don and recently arrived Night Officer Barry Stone embarked on a restoration project that took more than three years.
Their efforts were rewarded with the “Most Improved” prize in the Queensland Railways Garden Competition. From 1967, Queensland Rail required railwaymen employed at Spring Bluff to participate in the upkeep of the gardens. This approach was enthusiastically adopted by Don Gray, Peter Robertson, Kevin Ward, John Kelly, Don Caldwell, Greg Leisemann, David Schafferius and Barry Stone.
Over the years, railway staff were involved in restoring the terraces, clearing lantana to create picnic grounds, which were levelled by a Queensland Railways bulldozer, planting the lawn areas with couch and kikuyu, adding a cricket pitch for leisure and planting shrubs to provide a longer floral display. The restored gardens were very successful in the Queensland Railways garden competition winning 11 consecutive Firsts. The gardens have also enjoyed considerable success in the Chronicle Garden Competition held each September during Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers.