Frame capture of two people holding hands and snorkeling along a coral seabed.

Far North Queensland time capsule

Experience the tropical beauty
 Beth Taylor

To celebrate Big Screen’s upcoming tour to Cairns, Mission Beach, Kuranda and Babinda, here are a range of films featuring Far North Queensland.

The Cane Cutters (1948) takes a look at the life of Queensland sugar cane cutters. It shows itinerant workers contracting with a cane farmer, cutting the cane and loading it for transport, from early morning to dark.


A scriptwriter and a director argue their approaches to the problem of a comprehensive documentary about Australia: one favours an experimental style, the other a more conventional approach. Excerpts, wittily observed, from both proposed films indicate the faults of each, and the problems of making such a film are chronicled with considerable humour. Far North Queensland features from 13:40.


Life in Australia: Cairns (1964) was made to attract migrants and tourists to the Cairns region; the film depicts everyday work and leisure in Cairns in the 1960s. Includes footage of cane burning and cutting, sports such as fishing, and local tourism.


Directed by John Milson. Will the Great Barrier of Reef Cure Claude Clough (1967) takes the form of a psychiatric session, using the metaphor as a way to explore the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.


Great Barrier Reef  (1968) features the wonderful camera work of Ron Taylor.

If you have enjoyed looking at this slice of life in Far North Queensland, you might also enjoy our time capsule curated collections.