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Qing Ming

Qing Ming (Toomb Sweeping) Festival

Discover more of Cairns’ rich Chinese-Australian history

Cairns Historical Society + Cairns Museum Members are invited to two special events to mark the Chinese Festival of Qing Ming.

Qing Ming is an important, age old Chinese festival where families make their annual pilgrimage to their ancestral graves to “sweep the tombs” and pay respects to their forebears and loved ones. In China it is a public holiday and occurs 104 days after the winter solstice. This year (2022),  it falls on 3  – 5 April.

To celebrate Qing Ming, Cairns and District Chinese Association Inc (CADCAI) are planning two  community events to increase awareness of the festival and to recognise and pay respect to the thousands of invisible Chinese migrants who came to north Queensland to “seek their fortune” but sadly died here without any family around them.

The festival complements our current exhibition ‘Rediscovering Buk Ti: Chinese settlers in the lower Herbert district’.

Friday 8 April

History Talk –  Reviving Qing Ming

Join CADCAI for a short historical presentation by NQ Chinese historian Dr Sandi Robb and CADCAI’s own Heritage Manager Mary Low, to learn about Qing Ming and how it was celebrated in Cairns. Also known as the Pure Brightness Festival, this calendar event honours the ancestors of Chinese families and pays respects to those buried in Cairns Cemeteries. 

06:00 – 7:00 pm 

Entry is free but bookings are essential. Click here to book 

Location: CADCAI premises, behind Asian Foods in Grafton St (walk down the lane beside Asian Foods)



Sun 10 April

Qing Ming Cemetery Outing (and optional Lunch)

09:00 am – 11:00 am

Visit the heritage-listed Cairns Pioneer Cemetery to honour over 200 Chinese who were buried in mostly ummarked graves. In the Chinese tradition we will bring offerings of food and wine and burn incense. Then we’ll move onto the Martyn St Cemetery Visit several known sites to honour the early Cairns community starting at Andrew Leon and Mary Leon Piggot’s grave and memorial headstone. Other sites will include key Chinese early settlers and families.

Click here for more information and bookings


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