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There is something “especially” small about Cairns Museum’s latest temporary exhibit that will open this Saturday, September 7.

Suzanne Gibson, manager of Cairns Museum, said she expects strong interest in Small World, Les Paul’s Miniature Furniture exhibit, which celebrates one man’s life’s work.

A Cairns cabinetmaker and glazier, Paul created Lilliputian-sized rooms, which were exact miniature replicas of typical rooms in houses complete with furniture, wallpaper and art works.

““Les Paul worked his entire working life on the tools, creating furniture from North Queensland rainforest timbers. Then, in his retirement, he dared to downsize,” Ms Gibson said.

His passion was timber craftsmanship and he painstakingly made 11 small but perfectly formed room suites or dioramas, as well as four miniature collections, all at the exact scale of 1:6 (two inches to one foot).

The exhibition will display all of Paul’s tiny suites and some of his four collections.

“The quality of his work is extraordinary. Les Paul was a meticulous tradesman who took time to make his miniscule masterpieces perfect.

“His drawing room in silky oak took more than 320 hours and has 657 individual pieces that come together,” Ms Gibson added. 

“He didn’t use glue or nails or staples, each piece follows his craft with mitres, dovetails and mortise and tenon joints.”

Paul died in 1992 and the collection was cared for by his daughter Audrey Robins. It has now been gifted to the Cairns Historical Society.

It was her father’s wish the precious – and priceless – collection of rooms housed in special glass-fronted boxes be shown to the public at the Cairns Museum.

Paul never sold any of his works and the collection was to be kept together.

“Les Paul was an artist and an extremely skilled craftsman. His life and works remind us of Cairns history as a timber town and the many trades and past-times associated with the timber industry that were once part of the fabric of this town.”

The Small World – Les Paul’s Miniature Furniture exhibition will be open to the public from Monday 10th September and will remain open until January 2020.

Cairns Museum is located at the corner of Lake and Shields Street. For more information contact 4051 5582 or email


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