In the late 1890s nearly 3,000 cases of explosives were landed in Cairns each year, most of which was used by the mining industry inland. The Harbour Master was responsible for storing and transporting explosives at the port and from 1884 they were kept on a barge anchored near Magazine Creek in Trinity Bay. The barge was only 50 feet by 16 feet and storage space was limited.
To solve the storage problem the government proclaimed a 22 acre Explosives Reserve here in 1900. The site was chosen because it was close to the port, accessible by rail and yet still in a sparsely populated area. The Magazine, Detonator Shed and wooden manager's residence (now demolished) were built in 1901 at a cost of £2,500. The buildings were secured with a high fence and a railway siding was built up to the wooden platform. Most of the explosives went by train to Mount Molloy, Chillagoe and Mareeba.
During World War II the magazine was used by the Australian military and nineteen soldiers were stationed here to guard the explosives. Since World War II the building has been used as a storeroom for the timber mill.