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183-185 The Esplanade, Cairns

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Floriana (2009) ; EHP

Floriana (2009)

Floriana Guesthouse office (2009) ; EHP

Floriana Guesthouse office (2009)

Floriana windows (2009); EHP

Floriana windows (2009)

Floriana Villas adjacent to Floriana guest house (2009) ; EHP

Floriana Villas adjacent to Floriana guest house (2009)

Floriana internal staircase (2009); EHP

Floriana internal staircase (2009)

This rather unassuming bed and breakfast establishment at the northern end of the Cairns Esplanade has a fascinating history. It was built for Maltese migrants, Paul and Paulina Zammit in 1939. Arriving in Melbourne in 1912, Paul Zammit moved to the sugar plantations around Bartle Frere. By the early 1930s he was the wealthiest cane farmer in the region. Named after the port of the Maltese capital, Valetta, Floriana is a symbol of Zammit’s success. Notable architect, Edwin R Orchard, designed the substantial two storey home in the best residential street in Cairns. The design incorporates elements of an interwar Queenslander with Maltese elements: the centrally positioned ground floor entrance with a balcony above the vestibule and louvred timber panels either side of the main door; the ground floor comprises a large ballroom; and a decorative central winding staircase is a feature. Zammit received a medal from the Pope, having built a Catholic Church in Bartle Frere. He made a huge contribution in sponsoring and assisting other migrants to settle in the Cairns region. He built the first multi storey hotel in Cairns; the 1956 Continental Hotel, (now the Cairns International Hostel) as well as the adjacent Floriana Villas.

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Coordinates: -16.91076348, 145.76699177

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