Under the Local Authorities Act of 1902 all Municipal Councils became Town Councils; Cairns Municipal Council became Cairns Town Council on 31 March 1903.
The functions and powers of the Council under the Local Authorites Act 1902 included construction and maintenance of roads and streets, bridges, wharves and jetties and other public works, control of traffic, use of land and buildings for the provision of public services and amenities including fire stations, parks, libraries and other recreational, educational and civic facilities, pounds, cemeteries, dams, reservoirs and water supply infrastructure, gas and electricity works, street lighting, rubbish dumps, sewerage farms and disposal works.
The Council was empowered to create by-laws with respect to all matters within its jurisdiction, but all such by-laws required the assent of the Governor-in-Council.
Town Councils were also responsible for administering the Town Fund and for carrying out valuations on properties for the purpose of collecting rates.
The Town Council included a mayor, a town clerk and a number of other members. In addition, the Council appointed its own officers who were paid from the Local Fund. From time to time, the Council appointed committees for special or general purposes.
Cairns was proclaimed a city and Cairns Town Council became Cairns City Council on 12 October 1923.