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Cairns High's Centenary Book Launch


Centenary Book Launch – “Cairns High The First Hundred Years 1917 - 2017”

On the official birthday of Cairns State High School, and at the location of the first school building, a 400+ page colour book will be launched. Tickets to this celebratory event, commencing at 5.30pm on Sunday 5 February at Novotel Oasis Resort Cairns, are $20 and can be purchased through Destination Cairns Marketing - available at

Filled with inspirational and funny historical accounts and amazing photos this $50 book is great value for money and will be a prized possession for any former or current member of the school community, as well as any Cairns local. The book can be advanced purchased from the school for pick up at the event or from the school after the event. Centenary Celebrations Souvenirs including the Centenary Book can also be purchased online via school and via

“Over six years of research, countless hours searching local and state records and thousands of words and pictures later, Cairns State High School history teacher, Mr Peter Stanton's dream of documenting the history of the school in time for the Centenary Celebrations has come to fruition.

I am excited to see the finished product launched to the community on Sunday. I am even more excited because I have had the chance to read some of the fascinating stories from a range of eras in the school's one hundred year history. Being able to get a sneak peak of this beautifully produced publication, I have been delighted, saddened and enthralled by the episodes in the school's history which have shaped the school. Seeing the first class on the original site, reading of the development of facilities, experiencing the accounts of the bus accident and learning of the important role the school played in the wars, I have enjoyed every snippet! So I can't wait to get my hands on my own copy and I know everyone else will treasure the book and marvel the commitment and dedication of its author”, commented Mr Chris Zilm, Cairns State High School Principal.

Cairns High The First Hundred Years 1917 - 2017 is the story of a school which has faced more than its fair share of challenges from its formative years to the present. Bubonic plague, Spanish flu, the two world wars, the bus crash and the arson attack on the original school building are only some of those challenges addressed in the first part of the book, a year by year account of the school’s first century. The author, Peter Stanton, has personally experienced 27 of those years as a teacher at Cairns State High School since 1990. 

The second part of the book investigates in more detail some of the main traditions and innovations of Cairns High. The section begins by exploring institutions which no longer exist such as the Technical College, the use of corporal punishment at the school, the rail motor and the cadets. Subsequent themes include the origins of school symbols and the sports houses, the main sports played at the school in the past one hundred years, the successful orchestra and other aspects of the Arts, the contributions of Indigenous students and Cairns High’s emergence in recent years, despite its earlier challenges, to become an internationally recognised school. The book concludes with a series of lists noting past house winners, school captains, duxes, school staff and students who passed Junior and Senior exams.  

“This book is not just a history of Cairns High but also of the people and events of Cairns itself. There are 2 parts: the first being a year by year account of the major happenings connected with the school, the 2nd part encompasses themes such as Sport, the Arts, the Cadets and the school’s progress to becoming an International School. With over 1500 images accompanying the informative and anecdotal text, Cairns High The First Hundred Years 1917 -2017 recreates an educational era in Cairns which transformed significantly between 1917 and 2017”, commented Peter Stanton, author.