Over­seas Walk: Walk­ing through the his­tory of Cairns

Walking New Zealand - - Contents -

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.

Above: The Cairns Es­planade . FQG Photo

By Ju­dith Doyle

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