Heritage listing for the Cairns Technical College and High School building

The Queensland Heritage Council listed the Cairns Technical College and High School building on the Queensland Heritage Register in May 2014.

Designed by architect Nigel Laman Thomas of the Department of Public Works in July 1938, the following plan held at Queensland State Archives shows the layout of the building, with Ionic columns at the entrance.

Queensland State Archives Digital Image ID 27002, July 1938
Queensland State Archives Digital Image ID 27002, July 1938

Characterised by its neo-classical style, it is a prominent three-storey brick building as evidenced by this photograph which is situated at the corner of Sheridan and Upward Streets in Cairns.

Queensland State Archives Digital Image ID 2994
Queensland State Archives Digital Image ID 2994

A letter in Public Works batch file (Item ID 128134) gives the wording for a “commemorative plate” for the building. The letter written on 16 December 1940 by R M Riddell to the Under Secretary of Works requests the wording acknowledge the three fold purpose of the building used as a “State Intermediate and High School, and Technical College”. Riddell was appointed the Inspector of Technical Colleges when the branch of the Department of Public Instruction was formed in 1905.

The Cairns Technical College and High School building was opened during the Second World War. Correspondence about wartime concerns includes the following contained in Public Works batch file, Item ID 127962:

  • re-timbering of air raid slit trenches dug in the sandy soil of the school’s playing field to accommodate about 200 students
  • College compliance with the Queensland Government compulsory brown out of lighting regulations
  • the Civil Defence Organisation directive about the use of the kitchen in the Domestic Science Branch to prepare food for a mobile canteen in the event of an air raid.

Discover more about the development, administration and evolution of this building in the other Public Works batch files in ‘A’ Series – High Schools and Technical Colleges, including Item ID 127961, 1928–1933, and Item ID 128124, 1935–1970.

Susan Boulton
A/ Manager Public Access
Queensland State Archives

About Queensland State Archives

For more information about Queensland State Archives visit www.archives.qld.gov.au

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