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  • Tamara Sheward

    TropicNow writer

    Email Tamara Sheward

    Cairns CBD smartens up with opening of new university campus

    Blue-ribbon disciplines including medicine and law will be the focus of James Cook University’s new Cairns City Campus.

    The city campus, adjacent to the School of Arts Building at 36 Shields St, was officially opened today by dignitaries including Cairns mayor Bob Manning.

    The five-storey building features start-of-the-art teaching, study and meeting installations, medical training facilities and a moot court where law students will hone their courtroom skills.

    Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding said the opening of the CBD campus brought JCU full-circle to where it began in Cairns three decades ago.

    “Before our founding supporters secured the spacious campus at Smithfield, JCU classes were taught at TAFE and staff initially worked in rented premises in inner-city suburbs,” she said.

    “So it’s especially fitting that our newest facility is in the heart of the city, close to where we began in 1987.

    "I recommit this campus and the University to be an economic and social engine for Cairns and the broader Far North Queensland community, to bring the power of our education, research and engagement to bear on the growth and well being of this exceptional region."

    Professor Harding said the new building, which features the works of local artists Brian Robinson and Paul Bong, was an inviting and inspiring place that showcased its tropical surrounds.

    “We see it as a meeting place, where students and regional professionals can develop their skills, where we can add value to the Cairns and regional economies and where tropical knowledge of many kinds will be shared.

    “We are delighted to be further expanding our presence in Cairns.”


    The new campus houses the offices of Generalist Medical Training (GMT) – which sits within JCU’s College of Medicine and Dentistry – providing medical education to doctors who are training to be GPs in the Cairns coastal region.

    “The campus will also be an important resource for the 180 JCU medical students who are already based in the city, as well as nursing and allied health students who are completing placements here,” Dean of Medicine and Dentistry Professor Richard Murray said.

    “Having GPs train with JCU in the same building means we can provide continuity of support for both medical students and JCU graduates who are choosing to work and continue their training in our region.”

    Law and business subjects, particularly in the Master of Business Administration, will also be taught at the campus in response to community requests for after-hours teaching in the city centre.

    Dean of JCU’s College of Business, Law and Governance, Professor David Low, said the campus would allow JCU to work more closely with civic and business leaders.

    The campus is accessible to all JCU students for individual or group study. Business groups and other community organisations will be able to hire the boardroom and training spaces, which include a high-tech boardroom with teleconferencing and catering facilities.