Overseas Walk: Walking through the history of Cairns
The 2.5km Esplanade along the foreshore of Cairns in the far north of Australia is a walk through the city’s history. From a shanty town for goldminers, Cairns was then officially settled in 1876. It’s vital role in World War II is told graphically here before its gradual growth into a tourist city with a population of 152,093 (mid-2018).
The walk stretches from Trinity Wharf almost to Cairns Airport. The wharf was developed in the early years of last century to accommodate larger ships. Nearby is a building (now the Barrier Reef Hotel) which was built in 1926 by P J Doyle, wine and spirit merchants.
With the lucky talisman of my namesake behind me, I deviate to the marina with its bobbing yachts, fishing boats and flashy cruisers before returning to the Esplanade, through parklands, under palm trees, round a new swimming pool, towards a large anchor. This was salvaged from local waters. It is now a memorial to the early mariners of the area and near the site of the first landing of Cairn’s official founding party in October 1876.
Soon I come to some strange indented granite mounds, described as “a herd heading out to sea” – herd of whales? Group of rocks? Who knows? A little further on is the granite obelisk commemorating the 1956 Olympic Torch Relay which started in Olympia, Greece. It is engraved with an actual-size illustration of the torches used to carry the Olympic flame down Australia’s east coast to Melbourne, during the Australian part of its journey.
Other walkers are combining a walk with sightseeing, like me; some keep-fit enthusiasts are pounding the pavement and the odd skate-boarder rattles by -- cyclists are mostly on separate tracks.