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Cairns Pioneers

The following list identifies some of the people who developed North Queensland. They all played a major role in Cairns becoming the City that it is today. There are many other people who played their own part in the history of the region, this list simply identifies the best known.

Mr Christie Palmerston
Palmerston Range

Well known northern bushman and explorer.
Mr Henry Abbott
Abbott Street in Cairns

The first Land Commissioner and Surveyor. Came to Cairns in the early days and established a bank.
Mr Norman McLeod
McLeod Street in Cairns

The first postmaster in Cairns
Mr Brinsley Sheridan
Sheridan Street in Cairns

The Police Magistrate in Cardwell who was given the job of choosing the site for the City of Cairns.
Mr John Atherton
Atherton Tabeland, town of Atherton

Famed early explorer of the region
Mr Alexander Douglas
Port Douglas

Seaman, explorer and policeman famed for opening up much of the far north's most rugged territory.
Ms Claudia Lakeland
Lakeland Downs National Park

Renowned throughout North Queensland as a bushwoman and an unbeatable shot with a rifle.
Mr John Newell
Newell St in Cairns

Founder of Herberton on the Atherton Tableland.
Mr Christie Palmerston
Palmerston Range

An adventurer known as a mystery man in North Queensland. Made his name as an explorer in the harshest of terrain.
Dr Hugo Flecker
(1) Flecker Botanical Gardens
(2) Box Jellyfish - Chironex Fleckeri


As well known general practitioner who helped identify the box jellyfish in the 1950's. Also a keen botanist, hence the involvement in the Botanical Gardens.
Dr David Thomatis
Thomatis Creek (north of Cairns)

Former Headmaster at Townsville Grammar School who moved to Cairns in 1884 and proceeded to develop a farm to grow cotton.
Dr Edward Koch
Monument at Abbott and Spence St Head of the Cairns Base Hospital (in front of Cairns Casino)

Head of the Cairns Base Hospital and medial pioneer for the region at the turn of the century. Made considerable progress on the identification and treatment of malaria.
Mr Henry MacDonnell
Established law firm Mac Donnells

Credited with bringing legal representation to the region at the turn of the century. Company still operates today.
Mr George Dalrymple
Dalrymple Range

Often considered the "father of North Queensland" Dalrymple was a famous pioneer and developer in the region.
Mr Edward Kennedy
Kennedy Range

Well known explorer from Rockhampton to Cape York.
Mr Richard Daintree
Daintree River and National Park

Discovered gold at the Gilbert River.
Mr Frank Jardine
Jardine River

One of the earliest and most influential pioneers with a questionable attitude towards Aboriginals.
Mr Alexander Draper
Draper Street in Cairns

Known as the "father of Cairns" due to his involvement in so many organisations and businesses in the early days of Cairns history.
Mr William McCormack
McCormack Street in Cairns

Early unionist who helped develop the mining industry in the region, going on to become the State Premier of Queensland in 1919.
Mr Thomas Fitzgerald
Founder of Innisfail

Innisfail was formerly known as Geraldton (approximately 95 kilometres south of Cairns).
Rev John Flynn
Royal Flying Doctor

Founder of the now famous Royal Flying Doctor Service (1928)
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