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A Successful Year for Cairns Historical Society and Museum​

A Successful Year for Cairns Historical Society and Museum

CHS Board. Courtesy of Cairns Historical Society and Museum
Left to Right: Standing — Karen Oakes, Megan Lilly, Vice President Dr Jan Wegner, Dr Nicky Horsfall, Treasurer David Goodman, Ralph Peters. Seated — President Dr. Clive Skarott, Secretary Lyn Warwick. (Absent Fiona Jose; Executive Officer Dr Sandi Robb; Accounts Manager Debra Ferguson).

Local history is in safe hands as Cairns Historical Society celebrates 65 years and strong visitor numbers at Cairns Museum.


Cairns Historical Society and Museum has welcomed nearly 23,000 people through the doors, continuing a new benchmark for attendance levels compared with pre-pandemic visitation.

With its home in the School of Arts building in the heart of the Cairns CBD, the renowned institution welcomed 22,579 domestic and international visitors in the 2022-23 financial year, an increase of 25 per cent from the 2018-19 financial year.

The Society’s impressive collection of stories, records and artefacts – surpassing more than 92,000 items – continues to connect with schools and training providers, with its education program reaching over 5,500 students during the past year, an increase of more than 500 students from the previous year.

The Cairns Historical Society and Museum held its 65th Annual General Meeting and presented its Annual Awards to deserving volunteers and historical researchers at the Edge Hill Bowls Club on 14 October.

The 2022-23 financial year at the Cairns Historical Society and Museum also featured new Management Board and staff appointments and other key milestones, including:

  • New board appointee Karen Oakes (former Childcare Director and Tourism Guide)
  • Appointment of Dr Sandi Robb as Executive Officer, Shelley Cai as Front of House
  • Coordinator and Dr Sabine Mercer as Volunteer and Workplace Health & Safety Coordinator
  • 59 volunteers working across the Museum and Historical Society with 13,200 hours worked
  • Community engagement program including 12 public lectures
  • 214 visitors to the Society’s Research Centre and responding to 393 requests for information and images

Cairns Historical Society and Museum President Clive Skarott congratulated the team of employees and volunteers for delivering exceptional levels of service, rich local information and outreach during the 2022-23 financial year.

“Our greatest achievement this year has been to adapt, change and grow to meet the needs of increased visitor numbers to the Museum and Research Centre. The Society continues to be well positioned to meet strategic and operational objectives: to collect, preserve and share the history of Cairns and Far North Queensland with the young and old,” Mr Skarott said.

“In our 65th year the Cairns Historical Society has proven to be a resilient organisation which is able to rise to the challenges of the 21st Century.

“The Society remains strong and inclusive, and that is what we want – a member-based organisation, which is welcoming to visitors, offers benefits to locals and encourages participation in a variety of ways for its 422 members and 59 volunteers.

“On behalf of the Board, I acknowledge the significant support of our major sponsor Cairns Regional Council, along with platinum sponsor MacDonnells Law, and our schools program sponsors Ports North and Cairns Discovery Tours.

“Our partnerships enable the Society to deliver a key tourism and research facility, for locals and visitors alike.”


Read the Cairns Historical Society Annual Report 2023

AGM 65 celebration Pres Dr Skarrot_ VPres Dr Jan Wegner_ Treasurer David Goodman
AGM 65 celebration with Treasurer David Goodman, President Dr Clive Skarrot, and Vice President Dr Jan Wegner.

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