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Bolands Centre

Lake Street, Cairns

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Boland's Centre Cairns, July 2015 ; Heritage Branch Staff

Boland's Centre Cairns, July 2015

Boland's Centre Cairns, July 2015; Heritage Branch Staff

Boland's Centre Cairns, July 2015

Bolands Centre -view from upper floor (2010) ; EHP

Bolands Centre -view from upper floor (2010)

Bolands Centre - internal stairs (2010); EHP

Bolands Centre - internal stairs (2010)

The Boland's Centre was erected in 1912 as a department store for Irishman Michael Boland. He immigrated to Australia in 1881 and became a leading merchant in Cairns. The building was designed by the Cairns architect Edward Gregory Waters, and for many years was the tallest structure in the city. At the time of construction it was innovative as an early reinforced concrete building, on a floating foundation, with imported plate glass windows and the first electric passenger elevator in Far North Queensland. It is the last surviving example of a large, early 20th century department store in Cairns. Boland had two earlier stores: a small timber shop located in Abbot Street from 1890 and a larger store in Spence Street. He gradually acquired adjoining properties in both streets. His brother John had a grocery store in Lake Street. Boland, who stocked a wide range of imported goods, was instrumental in the establishment of a Harbour Board, becoming chairman in 1909. By 1926 Boland's boasted 15 departments and had offices in London, New York, Kobe and all Australian states. A large two-storey extension was built in 1936. Today the building houses shops on the ground floor with offices above.

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Coordinates: -16.92329869, 145.77742956

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