3.7-inch anti aircraft gun on Horn Island

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War history & memorials near Cairns

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TNQ Writer

Tropical North Queensland has a rich war history spanning from World War I to more modern conflicts. Here’s how you can learn more about war history in Cairns & Tropical North Queensland.

Afghanistan Avenue of Honour

Photo: athertontablelands.com.au/travel-directory/avenue-of-honour

The Afghanistan Avenue of Honour is located in Yungaburra on the Atherton Tablelands and follows the path of fallen commando Ben Chuck’s gun carriage. It features a major memorial, an honour board memorial dedicated to the men who died serving Australia and a plaque dedicated to the fallen military working dogs.


For a deep insight into war history in Cairns and Tropical North Queensland, explore the Cairns Region ANZAC Trail. With sites ranging from Trinity Beach in the north, to Babinda in the south, the trail explores memorial parks, cemeteries, war memorials and more.

Australian Armour & Artillery Museum

Located just 20 minutes north of Cairns city, the Australian Armour & Artillery Museum is home to over 200 armoured vehicles and guns and represents the military heritage of 15 countries. Get up close to vehicles, tanks and field guns, and take a ride in an armoured vehicle.

Cairns Museum

Delve deep into the history of the region at the Cairns Museum, which features an ever-changing array of exhibits.

Atherton Tablelands WWII Trail

Spend a day exploring the rich war history of the Atherton Tablelands following the Atherton Tablelands WWII Trail. The trail includes the Rocky Creek Hospital Precinct, the Atherton War Cemetery and the Tumoulin Railway Station.

Millstream WWII Heritage Walk

The walk begins from the Millstream Falls carpark

This 1km return track meanders through an area used by  2/14th and 2/28th Battalions of the Australian Army during WWII. Learn about the conditions during the war and how the soldiers lived, worked and played from informative signs throughout the trail.

Torres Strait Islands

The Torres Strait played a prominent role in World War II – a base for the Air Force, a vantage point for soldiers and home to more than 5000 personnel, just to name a few. You can experience The Torres Strait’s rich war history by joining Strait Experiences, Torres Strait Eco Adventures or Torres Strait Heritage Tours, which all offer tours around Horn Island, the Torres Strait Heritage Museum and the Torres Strait Islands.

Trinity Beach

It’s hard to imagine that this palm-fringed haven has a war history, but Trinity Beach was used as a major training ground for troops during World War II. Check out the information signs on the Trinity Beach Esplanade to learn more about this area’s significance in war.

Tanks Arts Centre

The Tanks Arts Centre may be a colourful mecca for live music, art and theatre, but the tanks themselves have a much darker history. The concrete fuel tanks were built in 1944 for World War II naval operators and were excavated into the side of Mount Whitfield. Join a free guided tour every Tuesday and Thursday departing from the botanical gardens to learn more about the tanks.

Cairns War Memorial

Located on the iconic esplanade, this clock tower was originally built in 1926. The Marble honour rolls bear 142 locals’ names from WWI, including two women. The painted clock face replicas are set at 4.28, when the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli commenced on the morning of 25 April 1915.

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