Skip links and keyboard navigation

St Monica's High School Administration Building

Abbott Street, Cairns

Add to favourites

St Monica's High School Administration, July 2015 ; Heritage Branch Staff

St Monica's High School Administration, July 2015

This 1941 Moderne style building is hidden behind the trees opposite the Abbot Street pedestrian crossing, adjacent to St Joseph’s Convent. It was built as a girl’s high school for the Sisters of Mercy. The Sisters had come to Cairns from Cooktown in 1892 and re-invigorated St Monica’s primary school, built in 1890. Eventually, the building was too small to adequately house secondary students and the purpose-built high school was an important addition to the town’s educational offerings. It was designed by South African-born Cairns resident Vibert McKirdy Brown and constructed by V W Doyle. The ground floor originally included two large classrooms, main entrance hall with staircase to the first floor, rear entrance porch and cloak room. The first floor housed music rooms and 12 cubicles for pianos with insulated walls and glass observation windows – perhaps to ensure piano practice was proceeding. Provision was made for a future northern extension to the building, but this never occurred. Instead, new buildings were erected fronting Lake Street in the 1970s and the original building became the administrative centre for the school. This office serves the school community.

Featured in this trail:

Coordinates: -16.91760123, 145.77312389

Full details of this heritage-registered place are in the Heritage register.

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
28 February 2023