Impacts of the Development


False Cape occupies a commanding position at the entrance to Cairns Harbour.  This position, clearly significant for its visual amenity, also provides a strategic defensive position.  During World War II, the tip of the False Cape peninsula was the site of principal coastal defence for the Port of Cairns.  Defensive structures built during this time are a prominent feature of the False Cape site: their historical significance is recognised in their listing on the Queensland Heritage Register.

Although generally thought of solely as isolated gun emplacements, the historic structures at the site are manifold, and spread from the tip of False Cape itself to Sunny Bay.  The structural elements of the coastal artillery battery and supporting structures that remain include:

  • Upper and lower gun emplacements
  • Battery observation post
  • Main magazine
  • Machine gun position
  • Signal station
  • Winch area and cutting (formerly used to winch materials up the hill from the access road)
  • Rock with concrete platform located at northern end of Sunny Bay
  • Access road and camp site, stretching from False Cape to Sunny Bay.

In addition to the recognition of the historic significance of the False Cape site, the Heritage Register Listing specifically refers to the cultural and aesthetic significance of the site for Cairns residents viz:

“The whole of the area has an aesthetic value, and the defence installations in particular have landmark quality.

The place has a special association for the local community, not just as a recreational venue for over 120 years, but also for its association with the Second World War, which had a significant impact on Cairns and district.”

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