The Divisional Boards Act of 1879 provided for local government for any part of the Colony not included in a municipality and proclaimed a Division by the Governor. The first Divisional Boards, including the Cairns Divisional Board, were proclaimed on 11 Nov 1879.
The primary function of Divisional Boards was to provide such public services and amenities as: parks and reserves, cemeteries, libraries and recreational facilities, water and sanitation services, roads, bridges, wharves, street lighting, public health services, licences and registrations for businesses, markets and animals, town planning, and the control of noxious weeds and other pests.
Boards were also responsible for administering the Local Fund and for valuing properties within the Division for the purpose of determining and collecting rates. Boards could pass by-laws regarding all matters within its jurisdiction. All such by-laws required the assent of the Governor-in-Council.
Divisional Boards submitted an annual Statement of Revenue and Expenditure to the Minister. By-laws created by Boards required the assent of the Governor-in-Council.
The Division was governed by a rate-payer elected Board comprising a chairman and a number of members. Special or general purpose committees were appointed and the Board employed its own officers to administer its business, headed by a Clerk. Divisional Boards submitted an annual Statement of Revenue and Expenditure to the Minister.
The Local Authorities Act 1902 abolished divisional boards and created city, town and shire councils. Existing divisional boards became shire councils. Under this Act, on 31 Mar 1903, Cairns Divisional Board became the Cairns Shire Council.
Secretary for Public Works and Mines 11 Nov 1879 - 12 Dec 1887
Secretary for Mines and Works 12 Dec 1887 - 4 Jan 1890
Secretary for Railways and Public Works 4 Jan 1890 - 12 Aug 1890
Secretary for Public Works 12 Aug 1890 - 9 Jul 1891
Colonial Secretary c. Jul 1891 - 6 Aug 1896
Home Secretary 6 Aug 1896 - 31 Mar 1903