Mangrove boardwalk near Cairns Airport.

When I first moved to Cairns it took me a little while to find ‘my tribe’. I’m into an eclectic blend of digital fabrication, electronics, coding, wood and metal working. Out of the blue a long-time local got in contact and helped introduce me to the cool things being made in the Far North.

If you have just moved to Cairns or maybe are here on holiday. Here is a little cheat sheet to help you get connected and creating.

Clubs:

The Cairns Potters Club is centrally located in Parramatta Park and is well equiped with 6 kilns. They run open days on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings (9am-12pm), where you can meet with club members. The potters club also run introduction classes for children aged 5-12 years.

The JCU Cairns Robotics club is run by university students but is also open to enthusiasts outside the university. They often run Arduino workshops and SUMO robot competitions.

The Makers Is an emerging digital fabrication lab located at TAFE Queensland North. You can get access to a 3D printer and they are working on adding more equpiment. They run frequent open days where you can drop past and particpate.

Cairns Libraries often run cool workshops that cover robotics and coding. They also run craft and making sessions for younger creators, things like sand art and basket weaving.

Schools:

Edge Hill State School runs a STEM academy where older students build and program a soil moisture sensor. Younger students can design and build a cardboard arcade game.

The Smithfield State High School has a well-equiped MakerSpace and offer an extra-curricular robotics course for students.

TAFE Queensland North is a well equiped trade school. Their hobby welding night course was excellent. They run you through stick, MIG and TIG welding of mild steel and aluminium. They have heaps of courses on making just about anything.

Creators:

Kurt Schoenhoff has created lots of custom light and sound systems. He runs an online store selling 3D printing and electronic equipment.

Carl Turner Teaches design and interaction out at JCU. He has just started blogging and creates great stuff.

Rebecca Youdell & Russell Milledge experiment with blending human movement and technology. They often perform in local festivals.

Ian Tunbridge is a local artist that does great work with old industrial equipment. Ian often hosts workshops out of his Gordonvale cafe.

Allen McFarlen builds custom guitars and ukuleles out of his Cairns workshop. He often runs multi-day workshops that teach you how to build a Ukulele and case.

Chris is a machinist and ‘amateur’ clockmaker. Air quotes on amateur because I think his work is super skookum. He films his work and publishes it on YouTube.

John Plant is someone who makes things in the wild, completely from scratch. He doesn’t use any modern tools or materials. His YouTube videos are all silent and capture a fascinating glimpse at developing primitive technology. John identifies himself as being located in ‘Far North Queensland’ so he is from somewhere in the region.

P.S. This list of creators is by no means exhaustive. It just reflects the sorts of things I’m into.

Edits:

  • 2017/11/22 - Added Primitive Technology (aka John Plant)