McGregor Retreats FAQ

The essentials

When are McGregor Retreats held?

McGregor Retreats are seasonal held in Summer, Autumn, Winter & Spring. Classes normally commence at 9am and conclude at 4.30pm depending on the requirements and content of the classes. Details regarding check-in, drop off and official start and finish times are communicated to participants follow registration as the event draws closer.

Upcoming dates for McGregor: 

  • Autumn Retreat (2 days) – 24 & 25 March 18
  • Winter Retreat (5 days) – 2 – 6 July 18
  • Spring Retreat (2 days) – 22 & 23 Spring 18
  • Summer Retreat (7 days) – 13 – 19 January 19

Where are McGregor Retreats held?

The Summer, Winter & Spring McGregor Retreats are held at USQ’s Toowoomba Campus – approximately 8 kms from the Toowoomba city centre.


University of Southern Queensland
West St
Darling Heights QLD 4350

Autumn Retreat is held at the Queensland College of Wine and Tourism for 2018. For more information click here.

Who can attend McGregor Retreats?

McGregor has taught students from age 15 – 92, there is no reason you can’t join in on one of our fantastic classes!

Having said this art can sometimes be demanding and while for most classes enthusiasm and creativity are the only requirements, some classes will require a reasonable level of fitness.

For instance painters are typically required to stand at an easel for extended periods, while for most creative arts classes (e.g. woodwork and jewellery making) the ability to bend and lift is often important. We’re always happy to discuss options related to specific circumstance and would encourage anyone not sure to give us a call on (07) 4631 1111.


Some classes at McGregor cover adult themes and are not appropriate for those under 18, for this reason we ask that participants under the age of 18 contact the McGregor office before enrolling. Parental consent will need to be received in instances where nude models or adult themes are covered.

Typically McGregor tutors are happy to accommodate students from mid-high school age onwards, however juniors enrollments are looked at on a case by case basis.

Please phone the box office on 07 4631 1111 for more information.

#Life Model - what does this mean?

#Life model means this class will utilise live models as reference material. Please note the life model may be clothed or unclothed, male or female.

Getting here/ when you're here


When you select the ‘accommodation option’ through the McGregor booking process you will be provided with an applicable room at one of the USQ Residential Colleges for the length of the school – plus breakfast and dinner.  It’s a great way to complete your McGregor retreat and fully immerse yourself in creativity!

However if you’d prefer not to stay on campus Toowoomba does offer a host of other accommodation options bookable through normal channels such as AirBnb, WotIf and

On campus rooms

USQ Residential college rooms are fitted with a single bed and a desk. The rooms are basic student style accommodation, meaning they are clean, tidy and come with linen. Private and shared bathroom options are available, prices are listed in the pricing and payment section accessible from the applicable retreats webpage.

McGregor College is the first preference for on campus accommodation, however other on campus colleges including Concannon are used if required. There is NO SMOKING allowed on the university campus including in residential colleges.

The McGregor Office will endeavour to meet special accommodation requests such as staying next to another student, however we do reserve the right to make changes according to room availability.

What about couples? Residential colleges does not offer twin-share or double bed options for couples. Couples can however request a room with a shared bathroom.

Why stay on campus?

Aside from being quite cost effective, staying on campus provides you with a bit of ‘old-school camp’ fun with activities planned for each night following classes.

Additionally there is a special excitement in the air at the residential college as you join with others from across Australia, all keen to experience the vibrancy of McGregor Arts Retreats. The opportunity to share meals and conversations with like minded people, including your tutors makes for a memorable time.

Are there activities to do at night?

Yes there surely are. All students (staying on campus or staying off campus) can join in the special activities during McGregor Winter and Summer Schools.

These include:

  • Weeknight concerts featuring the talented McGregor music tutors and students. (Summer Retreat only).
  • Tutor Presentations – students can attend visual presentations by the amazing art tutors showcasing their work after class during the week.
  • McGregor Market Night – take home your very own piece of McGregor art as tutors and students showcase and sell their pieces. Free to attend, open to students and the public.
  • Trivia Night – quickly becoming a crowd favourite, a fun night for all to enjoy.  Free to participate.
  • Life Drawing – if schedules allow, art models will provide nightly life drawing sessions (minimal fees apply).

How do I get to Toowoomba?

By Air 

Fly direct to Toowoomba (Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport): 

You can fly directly into Toowoomba from Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns and Townsville. The Airport is called Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport (WTB) when making bookings. The airport is located to the west of Toowoomba and is about a 25-30 minute drive from the campus.

There are transfer options – for more information visit

Flying to Brisbane Airport:

Brisbane Airport can sometimes offer a wider range of direct flights and can sometime be more economical for participants. Brisbane Airport is about 2 hours from Toowoomba.

Con-X-ions (previously The Airport Flyer) runs a door-to-door service from the airport to anywhere in Toowoomba daily. Website – phone 4630 1444 or 1300 956 203

Or catch the Airtrain (0 7 3217 3308 or email to Roma Street Transit Centre (07 3236 2020) and board a Greyhound Coach (1300 473 946 or

By car

Toowoomba sits atop the Great Dividing Range and connects to the New England Highway running north/south, Warrego Highway running east/northwest and Gore Highway from the southwest.

Toowoomba is the heart of the Darling Downs and is about a 2 hours drive from Brisbane.

We are a smoke free campus

Please note, as of the 31 May 18, USQ is a smoke-free campus.  Smoking is not permitted anywhere on campus. Visitors who wish to smoke will need to do so off the campus grounds.

I'm flying in, how do I get around Toowoomba?

Toowoomba is Australia’s second largest inland city – you’ll find it is fairly easy to get around with bus, taxi and Uber all available from the USQ.

For Taxi’s call Garden City Cabs 133222

Buses check out Translink

Uber can be accessed via the mobile app as normal.

Is there parking available?


There is adequate parking at the residential colleges for those staying on campus. For those not staying on campus there are several car parks around the campus. Most are free of charge, however a couple are metered, while others are reserved for staff.

Please take note of parking instructions around the campus as anyone parking in restricted zones will be fined by campus services.

Is there wi-fi?

Wifi is available on the USQ campus in most areas.

Please note computers are not supplied to students – you will need to provide your own internet capable device to access the Wifi.

Access in the accommodation area is not guaranteed, however there is guest wifi access in all common rooms and dining rooms.

What is Toowoomba's weather like?

Toowoomba’s weather can be varied and as such it can be quite cool during the winter months and very warm during the summer months.

It is recommended that you pack appropriate clothing for your attendance at each school.  Please note that residential colleges do not provide heating devices, extra blankets or fans.  You may wish to consider packing an extra blanket or electrical heating device  for winter or a cooling device for the summer months.

What's the deal with food?

Complimentary tea and coffee is provided (byo mug), however food is not included in your tuition. You can purchase food from the outlets on the USQ Campus or bring your own – fridges and microwaves are available on campus.

A short drive from the campus you’ll also find various fast food outlets and restaurants including Sushi, McDonald’s, GYG and Super Rooster. The MgGregor team are always happy to direct you.

If your selected McGregor Retreat runs over a weekend, a light lunch is included on Saturdays and Sunday – as on campus outlets will be closed.

Classes & enrolling

Accreditation for Bachelor of Creative Arts (BCA at USQ)

Students enrolled in USQ’s BCA who attend and complete three McGregor School Visual Art programs over the period of their degree receive one exemption (1 elective).  There is a five year cut off limit to claim exemption and you must present your certificate and seek approval from the Visual Art Faculty Student Support Staff.

Are there early bird discounts?

Each school offers an early-bird price for you to attend. The discount is normally around 10% and ends 6 – 8 weeks before the school.

Are there Scholarships or Bursaries available for McGregor?

The Friends of McGregor Schools Inc. offer several bursaries throughout the year to attend the McGregor Art and Music Retreats.

Check out their website for more info on how to apply.

Class size?

Most classes have a maximum limit of 12 – 15 to ensure your tutors can dedicate suffice learning time to you.  Places fill quickly so don’t delay in booking today.

How do I enrol in a McGregor class?

Bookings for each school are open as soon as all tutors and requirements are finalised, typically 4-6 months in advance of the school. Bookings can be made:

  1. Online, by selecting the school you wish to attend, the class you wish to participate in and selecting the ‘Book Now’ button.
  2. Over the phone, by calling the Artsworx Box Office on 07 4631 1111.
  3. In person at USQ Artsworx box office – A Block, USQ, West St, Darling Heights, QLD 4350.

Class sizes are limited to typically 10 – 15 people, so bookings are essential. Early bird pricing allows you to save around 10% and spots can be secured with a $100 deposit.

When a class becomes full you can sign up to the waitlist to attend the class. If a spot becomes available you will be contacted to complete your enrolment. Spots do become available from time to time as unforeseen circumstances arise meaning participant can no longer attend – so make sure you sign up to the wait list!


The tuition fee does not include materials.

Please view the material list for each workshop (available on the workshop web page).  Once you have booked, you will an itemised materials, which include tutor contact details and places of purchase, with your confirmation email.  The material cost noted is indicative only and doesn’t take into consideration items you may already own.

The level of investment of art wares and tools is often your choice and we encourage you to liaise with the tutor prior to your workshop.

Participant Conduct

The University of Southern Queensland supports the principles of procedural fairness and values social justice, equal opportunity and the provision of a safe and supportive working environment, and as such all McGregor Arts Retreat students and tutors are expected to treat others fairly, honestly and responsively, and with proper regard for their rights and obligations.

By enrolling in a class a student agrees to follow the tutor’s instruction and not deviate from the program.  If a student fails to follow the tutor’s guidelines, they may be asked to leave the class at the tutor’s discretion.  If this occurs no refund of fees will be offered.

Professional Development Acknowledgement

A statement of Attendance is provided to students that complete the McGregor Arts Retreat in its entirety.  This includes the workshop hours and is signed by authorised persons.


If the workshop you wish to book is full – no new registrations will be taken however participants can still go on the workshop waitlist. If you are on the waitlist we will contact you as positions become available.

Please do take this option if you are keen as sometimes there can be cancellations leading up to the Arts Retreat. Also feel free to book an alternative class to ensure you aren’t disappointed and if a place comes up in your preferred workshop – we’ll be happy to switch your enrolment.

What are the closing date for enrolments?

McGregor Retreat may choose to close bookings up to two weeks prior to a retreat commencing in order to adequately cater to participant needs for those workshops which require pre-ordering of materials. If you’re looking to book last minute and bookings online have closed, please contact us via phone or email for more information.

Classes do often sell out – so book sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment.

Woodwork, Sculpture and Jewellery classes bulk order materials and as such it’s unlikely that last minute enrolments will be accepted – so please book early for these workshops!

What happens if I enrol and then can’t attend?

We understand that sometimes life can get in the way of our plans. If you make a booking and are unable to attend the school that you have enrolled into you are able to cancel your booking and receive a refund of your course costs less a $100 non-refundable deposit if the cancellation is made before the final cutoff date for cancellations (usually 1 month before the commencement of the school). Cancellations made after this date would receive no reimbursement of fees paid. Please also note, cancellation of your accommodation after commencement of McGregor Winter School will also incur a $50 fee.

The McGregor Office may waive or reduce the cancellation penalties if a student has cancelled due to a medical condition or bereavement. We ask that a registrant provide evidence of their inability to attend the school.

You can join our E-News list to be one of the first to know when a new school is available for enrolment or when new classes have been added. Simply send an email to with your name and email address requesting to be put on our E-News list.

Workshop cancellations?

The McGregor team reserves the right to cancel a class if minimum enrolments are not reached or if any unforeseen circumstances occur.  If your class is cancelled you will receive a full refund or the option to transfer to another class.

Other things you might like to know

Are the McGregor Art retreats only for university students?

No, anyone can enrol, from any sector of the community.

How do I keep up to date with upcoming McGregor events?

You can join our E-News list to be one of the first to know when a new school is available for enrolment or when new classes have been added.

Simply send an email to with your name and email address requesting to be put on our E-News list.

Who are the Friends of McGregor?

The Friends of McGregor Schools Inc. was formed in 2003.

The objectives of the Friends is to contribute to raising funds for scholarships, equipment for the McGregor Schools and to promoting Art within the Community through membership, raffles and donations. In the past, Friends of McGregor have actively obtained equipment such as easels, jewellery tools and more recently, a 500 cubic litre Woodrow kiln.

As a financial member of Friends of McGregor, you will benefit from discounted class fees when attending any of the McGregor Schools: Summer, Winter and Spring.  Friends of McGregor will also receive an exclusive booking period prior to workshops going on sale to the general public.

Check out their webpage to find out more and join today!