cairns art galleries and museums

Cairns Art Galleries and Museums

Cairns is a young city by european standards founded in 1876. Although when Captain Cook visited Far North Queensland in 1770 he found a well-established Walubara Yidinji indigenous population that may have been there for tens of thousands of years. Settlers and aboriginal people  fought tooth and nail during a period most Australians would hope to move on from. Today the two cultural streams are learning to share a common vision. The Cairns art galleries and museums we feature salute our history, and the new directions we are moving in.

What Makes Cairns Art Galleries and Museums Unique

Far North Queenslanders are proudly different. Hence our art galleries are not exactly the Louvre in Paris, or the Tate in London on the River Thames. In a similar vein, please do not expect a replica of the Victoria and Albert Museum when you come and visit us. Instead, experience our art as a reflection of our diverse range of humanity in all its facets. Because our Cairns museums are the store of the tangible, and intangible record of our endeavours, and we tell it as it is.

cairns art galleries and museums

Function Venue: Tanks Art Centre

The Multi-Function Tanks Art Centre in Edge Hill Cairns

No, we are not talking about the Australian Armour & Artillery Museum here. That one comes up next. The connection here is the buildings look a bit like a collection of round water tanks if you scroll down at that link. The Tanks Art Centre is an eclectic self-supporting place some say is the best contemporary music venue in our region. It also also hosts local and visiting arts expo’s, where you can wander through and see work in progress unfold before your eyes.

But that’s not all by far. Tanks also entertains visitors staying in our luxury holiday accommodation with drama productions. These sometimes feature adaptions of Shakespeare’s well-known plays, and they also present children’s theatre too. They have great workshops for learning exercise and dancing, while their Monday Monthly Market Day is the perfect place to experience a unique slice of culture in the tropics. We recommend this highly.

Armour Displays at  Cairns Art Galleries and Museums Newbie

The Australian Armour & Artillery Museum is one of the newest Cairns art galleries and museums, having opened in May 2014. The curators dedicate themselves to showcasing tanks, artillery pieces, and armoured vehicles from World War I onward. This is a rare opportunity to see a part of Cairns history less traveled nowadays. For many young men from Cairns and further afield have left our shores to do battle, and never returned.

The Australian Armour & Artillery Museum hosts armoured vehicle rides super for kids. They even have a shooting range for older ones and adults, where they can test their shooting skills with British and German bolt action rifles. There is a great souvenir and gift store with construction toys for children. On the 2nd and 3rd September every year they fire up a dozen historic armoured vehicles, so visitors can experience ‘actual combat conditions’ although some may find this an uncomfortable way to spend their time.

cairns art galleries and museums

Doongal Aboriginal Art: Cairns Today

Discover the Unwritten Culture of Australia’s Original People

Australia’s oldest citizens did not have a written language. They expressed themselves in words instead, and set their thoughts down in song and dance and art. You can sense their souls in the remarkable gallery of Doongal Aboriginal Art. The display is regularly refreshed, as the current generation makes its own unique additions to the growing collection.

Our Wanggulay, bali-style holiday rental reflects the unique architecture of our remarkable region. We are conveniently located for visits to Tjapukai Cultural Park where the Djabugay people celebrate their joy of living with fire and flame. Cairns in Far North Queensland is an amazing mix of cultures. You really ought to visit sometime. After we meet and greet, our Wanggulay becomes your own exclusive space you share with nobody.

cairns art galleries and museums

Clearing Mangrove Swamps: Cairns Museum

The Cairns Historical Society’s Record of a Pioneering Past

The Cairns Historical Society formed in 1958 to preserve the history of North Queensland in Australia. Its showcase display is probably the leader among Cairns art galleries and museums in terms of size of collection. For it has 3,100 books, 23,000 photographs, 2,250 maps and 25,000 documents on local and area history. These provide a must-see timeline for anyone interested in how our city evolved.

There are four main galleries, plus a fifth one for temporary expo’s. Thus you have a choice of a broad timeline, a snapshot of early days, a view into what it is like living in the tropics, and how a settlement became a modern city. The Cairns Regional Museum is generally open Monday through to Saturday from 10am to 4 pm. However it is closed from 25 to 26 December, on News Year’s Day, and Good Friday when the staff take a well-deserved break to spend time with their families and friends.

cairns art galleries and museums

Cairns Indigenous Art Centre: UMI Arts

A Non-Profit Among Cairns Art Galleries and Museums

UMI Arts in downtown Cairns has an indigenous board of directors dedicated to helping aboriginal people participate in, maintain and protect their cultural identity. It’s remit includes those living in Far North Queensland, and the islanders of the Torres Strait beyond which lies New Guinea. The UMI Cairns Indigenous Art Centre is part of this outreach, for it exists in turn to encourage local artists.

UMI is a creole word meaning ‘you and me’, and we need to work together to keep our culture strong. The gallery partly funds itself through facility and equipment hire, and event management services. It also has an active program of visual arts, music, and performances. From time-to-time they hold street markets to showcase indigenous creative business If the idea twangs a tune a tune in your heart then visit them. You could end up buying an original work to treasure for a long time.

The Winding Walkway: Crystal Caves Cairns

The Crystal Caves – René Boissevain’s One Man Vision

Our dictionary insists a museum is ‘a building in which objects of historical, scientific, artistic, or cultural interest are stored and exhibited.’ Well that certainly is the case at the Crystal Caves, one man’s vision of the beauty he desired. After a lifetime searching he still travels to every corner of the world, to add to his collection of crystallised fossils, gemstones, mineral specimens,  and rocks of all kinds. Only the most perfect are good enough for René Boissevain’s collection.

There are over 600 works of natural art in the virtual caves this remarkable person built. They create the impression of entering deep grottoes underground, and discovering the formations for yourself. In his own words, René and his young family arrived from Holland in 1964. It took a while for his interest in minerals to develop, but when it did there was no looking back. Crystal Caves, for us, is a tribute to the multi-faceted society we call Australian.  As also is this post: Saluting our history, and the remarkable talent in Far North Queensland on show in Cairns art galleries and museums. We’ll sign out, but just for now. See you soon.

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