The McLeod Street Pioneer Cemetery is the oldest surviving cemetery in Cairns and was mainly used between 1877 and 1919 during which time there were at least 2510 burials, the last of which was in 1946. Many graves are unmarked, but several major conservation projects between 1988 and 2014 have identified numbers of hitherto unmarked interments and have repaired many headstones.
The cemetery is well treed and includes an interpretative rotunda, added after the initial major conservation works in 1988/90. The rotunda includes a comprehensive index of known burials. Several headstones demonstrate links with the First World War. Memorial plaques to Privates John and Robert Hides form part of their father's headstone. Lieutenant Cyril Bown died at sea and is commemorated on the graves of his father and two brothers. Sergeant Peter Foster was badly gassed and was buried, alongside his father in 1922.
Council has also installed a number of digital Quick Response or QR Codes in the Cemetery. The QR Codes enable Smartphone users with a QR reader to access biographical data on a selection of gravesites. Adding to these new interpretive elements, an educational resource for teachers along with the accompanying Student Worksheets have been prepared by the Cairns and District Family History Society in accordance with the Australian Curriculum and consultation with accredited teachers.
This site also forms a part of the Cairns ANZAC Trail. To see more information about this trail, see the below links: