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Cairns Region
Cairns regional LGA Qld.png
Location within Queensland, 2013, prior to de-amalgamation of Shire of Douglas
Population 165,525 (2018) (38th)
 • Density 98.002/km2 (253.82/sq mi)
Established 2008
Area 1,689 km2 (652.1 sq mi)
Mayor Bob Manning
Council seat Cairns City
Region Far North Queensland
State electorate(s) Barron River, Cairns, Cook, Mulgrave
Federal Division(s) Leichhardt
Cairns regional council.svg
Website Cairns Region
LGAs around Cairns Region:
Mareeba Wujal Wujal

Shire of Douglas
Coral Sea
Mareeba Cairns Region Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire
Tablelands Cassowary Coast Coral Sea

The Cairns Region is a local government area in Far North Queensland, Queensland, Australia, centred on the regional centre of Cairns. It was established in 2008 by the amalgamation of the City of Cairns and the Shire of Douglas. However, following public protest and a referendum in 2013, on 1 January 2014, the Shire of Douglas was separated from the Cairns Region and re-established as a local government authority.

The Cairns Regional Council has an estimated operating budget of A$300 million.


Prior to the 2008 amalgamation, the new Cairns Region consisted the entire area of three previous local government areas:

  • the City of Cairns;
  • the Shire of Douglas;
  • and the Shire of Mulgrave.

The City, which for most of its existence covered only the central business district and inner suburbs of Cairns, had its beginning in the Borough of Cairns which was proclaimed on 28 May 1885 under the Local Government Act 1878. With the passage of the Local Authorities Act 1902, it became a Town on 31 March 1903 and was proclaimed a City on 12 October 1923.

The Shire of Mulgrave had its origins in the Cairns Division, one of Queensland's 74 divisions created under the Divisional Boards Act 1879 on 11 November 1879. The Douglas Division was created on 3 June 1880. They became the Shire of Cairns and the Shire of Douglas on 31 March 1903. On 20 December 1919, it grew to include some territory from the abolished Shire of Barron, and on 16 November 1940, the shire was renamed Mulgrave.

On 21 November 1991, the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission, created two years earlier, produced its second report, and recommended that local government boundaries in the Cairns area be rationalised, and that the Shire be dissolved and amalgamated with the City of Cairns. The Local Government (Cairns, Douglas, Mareeba and Mulgrave) Regulation 1994 was gazetted on 16 December 1994. On 22 March 1995, the Shire was abolished and became part of the new City of Cairns.

In July 2007, the Local Government Reform Commission released its report and recommended that Cairns amalgamate with the Shire of Douglas, and that the new Cairns Regional Council be undivided with 10 councillors and a mayor. On 15 March 2008, the City and Shire formally ceased to exist, and elections were held on the same day to elect councillors and a mayor to the Regional Council.

In 2012, a proposal was made to de-amalgamate the Shire of Douglas from the Cairns Region. On 9 March 2013, the citizens of the former Douglas shire voted in a referendum to de-amalgamate. The shire was re-established on 1 January 2014.


The Region is divided into 10 divisions, each of whom elects one councillor to the Cairns Regional Council. At present, Division 10 contains all of the former Shire of Douglas, whilst Division 1 covers the southern districts which were part of the Shire of Mulgrave prior to 1995.

Towns and localities

The Cairns Region includes the following settlements:

1 - shared with Cassowary Coast Region
2 - not to be confused with White Rock in City of Ipswich
3 - shared with shared with Cassowary Coast Region and Tablelands Region


The populations given relate to the component entities prior to 2008. The next census, due in 2016, will be the second for the Region.

Year Total Region Cairns (C) Mulgrave (S) Douglas (S)
1933 25,197 11,993 10,303 2,901
1947 29,622 16,644 10,485 2,493
1954 37,597 21,020 13,477 3,100
1961 42,985 25,204 14,427 3,354
1966 45,927 26,696 15,312 3,919
1971 51,345 30,288 16,985 4,072
1976 62,628 34,857 23,025 4,746
1981 76,388 39,096 31,335 5,957
1986 91,688 42,227 41,711 7,750
1991 116,584 49,361 54,783 12,440
1996 129,698 116,718 12,980
2001 133,903 119,937 13,966
2006 150,484 136,460 14,024
2011 156,169 156,169 10,829
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