Photograph courtesy of Ports North.
White’s Shed is an important part of Cairns history.
It may not look like much from the outside at the moment, but the original internal timber structure built in 1923 is spectacular.
Thirteen transverse timber frames support the roof and are linked by a ridge beam, purlins and girts.
There is the remains of an electrical conveyor system built into the roof of the shed that was used to stack up to 80 tons of bagged of sugar an hour.
The original building is 63 metres long and 22 metres wide and was capable of storing 6000 to 7500 tons of sugar.
The usefulness of the shed declined in the 1950s and was no longer in operation when the bulk sugar terminal was established in Portsmith in 1964.
The shed is a rare reminder of parts of Queensland’s cultural heritage as surviving wharf sheds disappear from Australia’s coastal cities.
White’s Shed with its remaining sugar bag handling equipment is the only example of this type of structure still in existence in Australia.
It’s hoped the remains of the sugar bag handling equipment will contribute to a heightened understanding of Queensland’s history because all records of how the system was used have disappeared.
The shed will be restored as part of the Cairns Entertainment Precinct project and become a part of Cairns heritage that everyone can enjoy.