In 1924 it was decided to construct a war memorial in Cairns. A design competition, won by North Queensland monumental masons Melrose and Fenwick, initially incorporated a striking clock. Eventually a simpler four-faced mechanism was adopted. The 12.5 metre high monument was topped with a soldier standing at ease and completed for a cost of £2074.
Mayor Draper unveiled the memorial at its original site at the intersection of Abbott and Shields Streets on ANZAC Day 1926. Increased traffic demands resulted in it being relocated to its present position some years later. The clock faces, now fixed at 4.28 am, note the time of the first landings on Gallipoli.
Memorial plaques on the lower section of the column list 140 men and two women. On adjacent plinths are two commemorative artillery pieces: an 1887 5" BL Vavasseur naval gun and a Second World War field artillery gun. To the north is a series of memorials to other conflicts and para-military/para-medical services.
This memorial forms a part of the Cairns ANZAC Trail which can be found here.