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About Cairns Museum



The Cairns Museum is owned and operated by the Cairns Historical Society.

The Society's extensive archival and photographic collections are open to anyone with a research interest in Cairns or Far North Queensland.

If you have an interest in history, you need to visit the Cairns Museum and the CHS Research Centre at the Cairns School of Arts (from July 2017!)

The Cairns Museum has amazing stories to share about living in the tropics.

Stories of heat, sweat and hard work. Of cane, railways, rainforests and reefs. Of White Australia, Aboriginal resistance and European isolation. Tales of tourists, hippies and local celebrations, amidst humidity, cyclones, toads, mould and mozzies.

The Cairns Museum showcases the Cairns Historical Society’s amazing collection of objects, photographs and archival records. This collection holds the secrets and memories of the people, places, events and changing the environment of Cairns and Far North Queensland.

Come in and discover the real Cairns! 


  • Adult: $10
  • Child (under 14): $5
  • Family (2 parents or grandparents + 3 kids): $25
  • Pensioner/Senior/Concession: $8
  • Members: FREE

News By Cairns Museum

Cairns Museum to showcase crocs, toads and all ‘fun things’ about living in the Far North

Cairns Museum to showcase crocs, toads and all ‘fun things’ about living in the Far North

By Cairns Museum

17 Jul 2017

Cairns Museum manager Suzanne Gibson said the collection included “lots of crocs and toads and all the fun things about living in the tropics” but also focused on the region’s long indigenous history as well as the history of rail and industry.

Cr Manning said the three-storey museum, the latest part of his plan to make the city north Australia’s culture capital, brought a tear to his eye when he first glimpsed it this week.

“This is a great asset for the city, this will be visited by people who live here, will be visited by tourists and will play an active part in the next 40 to 50 years in this city,” he said.

“It is so important that localities, cities and districts protect their history.

Volunteer guide Persis Armstrong talks to students from Lau Kam Lung secondary college in Hong Kong were some of the first people to experience the new Cairns Museum PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
“For the first time in the history of this city we are now developing attractions within the CBD, this building and operation in particular, the aquarium, Munro Martin Park, the performing arts complex, the art gallery and the extension of that into the Courthouse and in the Mulgrave Shire building.”

And it impressed Hong Kong student Yoyo Chan who had a go at lifting a 35kg bag of sugar, one of the many interactive displays inside the museum.

“It’s not boring, it’s very fun,” she said.

“I was most surprised at the old fridge and washing machines and I want to return.”

Museum volunteer Persis Armstrong moved from Melbourne to Cairns 20 years ago and was passionate about the region’s history.

“The contribution that individuals can make is often not realised,” she said. “There are lots of examples in here like Johnno and the Woodward family.”

Cairns Museum set to open

Cairns Museum set to open

By Cairns Museum

06 Jun 2017

On 8 July, the newest attraction for Cairns will open its doors and showcase the story, history and wonderful tropical life of Cairns and Tropical North Queensland to the world. They will be welcoming locals and visitors alike to experience the past and the present, the beasties and the beauties of this region. The Museum tells the story of Cairns in four main galleries. Located in the heart of the city at the corner of Shields and Lake Street, it is in walking distance to all the CBD hotels.


Cairns Museum Reviews


0 Lisa L

If you would like a really authentic museum experience this is where you will get it! The tour guides are as old as the exhibits and brimming with actual knowledge and experience of the pieces they love to educate about.


0 Gordon G

The museum is currently being refurbished and re-opens in 2017 with new displays but the collections are still available for research. The society has one of the most extensive photographic collections of any regional museum/ historical society. The range of other documentary material is also impressive for local history buffs. Volunteers do an incredible job at helping gather material.

How to get to Cairns Museum

Cnr Lake and Shields Streets Cairns QLD 4870

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Hours: Mon - Sat: 10:00AM - 4:00PM

Cnr Lake and Shields Streets Cairns QLD 4870

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