SAFCA works to preserve
the history of Stratford
The Stratford and Freshwater Community Association (SAFCA), with support from the local community and assistance from a Queensland Government Q150 grant and the Cairns Regional Council, has established a Heritage Trail in the historic Cairns suburb of Stratford.
For thousands of generations the area along the banks of Bana Bidagarra was significant to the Yirrganydji. When gold and tin lured European and Chinese miners to the area, the rainforest was cleared as Kanakas worked on the banana farms and sugar-cane plantations. Chinese tended their market gardens and timber-cutters snigged enormous cedars. The Thornborough road and the Kuranda railway were built along the base of the Whitfield Range and lighters, cutters and junks plied their trade along the Barron River. Timber mills, rice-mills, wharves, wharehouses and shipyards sprang up, and a handful of families made Stratford their home.
Stratford retains much of the charm of tropical far north Queensland that is rapidly disappearing from other suburbs. We have Rankine’s mill, the Heritage Listed magazine, Tully’s Hotel, Draper’s Lily Bank home, railway heritage, evidence of several Barron bridges dating back to the 1920s, Constable Dwyer’s grave, WWII military heritage and many traditional wooden Queenslanders in the Stratford character precinct.
During 2009 Dave Phoenix, a postgraduate researcher at James Cook University, uncovered the history of the area. Signs documenting the history of 29 important sites in Stratford were installed to make a Heritage Trail through the suburb. The trail was opened in 2009 as part of Queensland's 150th Anniversary celebrations.
If you would like more information or would like to become involved in this exciting project, please email us at 'heritage_trail @ stratfordhistory.org.au' or contact us using the 'Contact' form on this website.