Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal


CARGO

A wide range of cargo has been loaded and unloaded from the Cairns wharves since 1876.  Examples of goods exported from the wharves included sugar, timber, copper, tin and bananas.  Less common items included wolfram, antinomy, bismuth and mangrove bark.





CONSTRUCTION

The first wharves were built in 1876 and most were privately owned.  In 1906, the Cairns Harbour Board was created and the Board resumed all the wharves.  In 1910, a significant wharf improvement scheme was undertaken.  This scheme included the construction of reinforced concrete wharves and wharf sheds.


History

 

1848 OWEN STANLEY SURVEYS COAST
On a government survey of the east coast for prospective ports Naval Lieutenant Owen Stanley investigates Trinity Bay. Whilst there, he encounters a vessel collecting sandalwood for the chinese trade.
1860 BECHE DE MER FISHERMEN ON GREEN ISLAND
Fishermen based on Green Island make use of Trinity Bay Harbour gathering water and wood from an area where Cairns was later established. Beche der mer (sea cucumber) is the first locally based export industry.
1876 PORT TOWN PLANNED
The settlement of Cairns surveyed by land commissioner John Sharkey. First wharf lease surveyed by Frederick Warner and issued to the Australasian Steam Navigation Company.
1878 HARBOUR MAPPED
Lieut. Connor surveys Cairns Harbour. A ship's diary recorded: This harbour..... could be rendered available to the largest vessels at all times of the tide, by dredging a cutting.
1887  RAILWAY WHARF CONSTRUCTED QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT
Queensland Government constructs the railway wharf to handle construction materials for Cairns - Herberton railway line.  Later purchased by the Chillagoe Rail and Mines Company.
1893  CAIRNS RAILWAY COMPLETED TO KURANDA
Railway reaches Kuranda.  Soon after, tourists travel to Kuranda by train from ship's side.  At the time local cabbies complain about loss of fares.
1906  CAIRNS HARBOUR BOARD ESTABLISHED
On commencement of operation the Board's assets consist of the dredge Willunga and £372 in cash.  The government having confiscated £402 held in trust for the board to pay for harbour maintenance and refurbishing of the dredge.
1910  CONCRETE WHARVES COMMENCED
Engineer C.N. Boult engaged to construct first concrete wharf, the first of a series of concrete wharves with a total length of 600 metres.
1912  SS PERTHSHIRE DOCKS
Channel dredging allows first overseas ship to dock alongside Cairns wharf.  Previously smaller vessels transferred cargo and passengers to the wharves from vessels anchored off-shore.
1913  DREDGE BOAT 'TRINITY BAY' ARRIVES
Cairns Harbour Board takes possession of suction dredge Trinity Bay.  The Board is criticised by the Cairns press for having the vessel constructed in Germany.
1914  NO. 3 WHARF AND SHED COMPLETED
Goods shipped to Cairns landed in this and the adjacent sheds for local companies such as Jack and Newell (J&N) and Armstrong, Ledlie and Stillman (AL&S).
1920  CYCLONE
An unnamed cyclone causes extensive damage to the Board property.  Workshop demolished and replaced by a new building that is later crucial to World War II building program when Board worked on defence projects.
1923  FIRST MECHANICAL SUGAR LOADER
First mechanical sugar loading facility in Queensland installed in sugar shed, now known as White's Shed.
1933  CARGO DOORS SEALED AGAINST WEATHER
All No. 3 Wharf shed cargo doors on the seaward side made watertight and wind proof with metal plates and levers to allow safe storage of goods.
1934  AUTOMATIC TIDE GAUGE
First automatic tide gauge installed enabling Cairns to be declared a standard port.  This tide gauge is on display.
1941  CAIRNS AT WAR
Australia declares war on Japan.  First American warships arrive in Cairns for supplies.  US Captain Hastings inspects harbour facilities for suitability as a naval base.  United States and Australian military forces make Cairns a transhipment port for Northern Australia and New Guinea.
1942  NO. 6 WHARF CONSTRUCTED
Cairns Harbour Board constructs Smith's Creek Wharf for United States armed forces.  This timber wharf is 150 feet long by 24 feet wide and cost of £9,603.
1948  CLOCK TOWER
The clock tower installed by A.L. Franklin on No. 3 Wharf shed at a cost of £900.  The clock was used to regulate working times for wharf workers as well as by townspeople.  Silenced in 1953, it was restored in 1986.
1950  PINEAPPLE CANNERY
Shed on Smith's Creek Wharf leased from the Harbour Board by Amberglow Pineapple Cannery.  The cannery was constructed to support the local pineapple industry.
1953  TRINITY BAY DREDGE
Cairns Harbour Board makes last payment on load for dredge Trinity Bay, which it purchased 40 years previously for a total of £42,000.
1955  ASSISTED MIGRANTS
First post-ar assisted migrants arrive at Cairns on migrant ship Flaminia in May.  Many work in sugar cane fields employed to cut cane by hand.
1964  BULK SUGAR TERMINAL CONSTRUCTED
Last shipment of bagged sugar leaves Cairns on Ras Maersk in June.  First shipment of sugar from Cairns Bulk Sugar Terminal on Sally Stove in October.  Sugar from Mossman now sent to Cairns by road instead of by sea on Sugar Lighters.
1969  CONTAINER TERMINAL
Container terminal established and first shipping container unloaded at
Wharf No. 6.
1974  TRINITY BAY RETIRED
Dredge Trinity Bay withdrawn from service after 60 years.  In 1976 it was converted into a floating restaurant but the project failed, and in 1981 is was sunk at Arlington Reef as target practice for the RAAF.
1977  MAIZE AUGER
No. 3 Wharf shed used to store maize from the Atherton Tablelands.  The maize is loaded from the adjacent railway into the shed auger and conveyor system through the large raised roof opening.
1990  CYCLONE JOY
Cyclone Joy caused $6million damage in the Cairns area.  Adjacent Marlin Marina destroyed, but little damage to boats.
1994 CITYPORT
Cairns Port Authority commissioned the development of a concept plan - Cairns Cityport - for the revitalisation of the waterfront with boardwalks, public spaces, marinas and cruise facilities.
1998 CYCLONE WAVE BARRIER AROUND MARINA
Cairns Port Authority commences construction of the wave barrier wharf to enclose and protect the Marlin Marina from any future cyclone damage.
2000  HERITAGE VALUES RECOGNISED
Cairns Wharf Complex listed on the Queensland Heritage Register.  The listing particularly recognises the historic values of the concrete wharves and original sheds.
2010  CRUISE LINER TERMINAL
Adaptive re-use of No. 3 Wharf shed with its conversion into an international cruise liner terminal and multi purpose venue is completed.