The CHS Archives Collection holds more than 40,000 items, including personal memoirs; family history and reminiscences; academic and Government papers; books; unpublished reports; newspapers; journal articles and maps. Many of these are available digitally. A separate Images Collection holds nearly 40,000 digitised photographs

The collections cover Far North Queensland, from south of Cardwell, north to the Torres Strait and west to Burketown, taking in most of the Wet Tropics, Cape York Peninsula, the Einasleigh Uplands and the Gulf of Carpentaria. Cairns is a particular focus.

Both collections are available for personal or professional research through the CHS Research Centre.

Researchers can book to access the collection in person or submit an online request. The catalogue is not available online but our professional archive and photographic researchers are available to assist you search and discover the collection when you come into the centre, or undertake research on your behalf when a query is submitted.

All searches requested to the Society require an initial 1 hour payment fee with a reduced hourly rate fee for every hour thereafter. This goes towards the important job of covering costs to maintain our significant collection for future generations to enjoy. Cairns Historical Society is committed to its role as custodians of this great community asset.

Copies of items may be purchased, subject to copyright


About CHS

Book an appointment to visit the Research Centre – the Collection holds more than 60,000 items covering an area from Cardwell to Bourke Shire.

Photographic Collection

Seeing is believing - the Cairns Historical Society’s collection catalogue has been assessed as nationally significant for its extensive visual record of Far North Queensland.


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