Library Special Collections Cairns Special Collection

Cairns Special Collection

The aim of the Cairns Special Collection is to support teaching and research in the University by the collection and preservation of the literature of north Queensland, past and present. The collection is held in the Special Collections area and may not be borrowed. In some cases there may be restrictions on the handling, use or copying of material from this collection in the interests of its long-term preservation and adherence to the copyright law.


The Cairns Special Collection is a collection of books, archives, and ephemera related to north Queensland, or by north Queensland authors, developed in response to the University’s research focus on regional topics. As the collection has expanded a second function has emerged: that of preserving the historical and cultural heritage of north Queensland

The collecting guidelines are:

  • North Queensland is defined as the area north of latitude 22.30 including the Barrier Reef, Torres Strait and other islands that are part of the State of Queensland

  • the University Library attempts to collect comprehensively books which deal in whole or part with north Queensland; the proportion of content dealing with north Queensland will usually be at least 25%

  • major serials published in the north Queensland area are collected including literary serials; those published by research organisations; major newspapers; annual reports of major cultural and business organisations and substantial newsletters from regional organisations

  • reports, environmental impact statements and similar 'semi-published' material of relevance to north Queensland is acquired

The current focus of these holdings is:

  • FNQ subject area and/or authors

  • Material of FNQ interest in environment, tourism, ecotourism, land use

  • Archives which are donated and relevant to the Cairns area

What is in the Cairns Special Collection?

The collection consists of:

  • Material relevant to far north Queensland (either content or author)

  • Information on various environmental campaigns e.g. Irvine Bank, Daintree

  • Australian & State Year books and Census materials

  • Printed ephemera such as pamphlets, and brochures which are a useful source of information about social history. Items which the Cairns Special Collection has include materials on sugar, Cairns tourism and promotional materials, ATSI and economic development.

  • Archive materials include the:

    • Mt. Molloy Copper Syndicate

    • Wet Tropics Collection

    • Douglas Shire Wilderness Action Group

    • CAFNEC archive and photographs, and the

    • Sylvia Maud Card Collection

    • The Percy Trezise collection

Further information, and a listing of archival material, is available from the Archives of the JCU Library.