In 1955, a group of dedicated people interested in all aspects of ‘Art’ – especially for the benefit of the young people of the community and district – formed a committee and at a meeting held at the Cairns City Council Chambers in October 1955, chaired by the Mayor of the time Mr. W. J. Fulton, and so was born, “The Cairns Juvenile Eisteddfod”.
The first Eisteddfod was held from 28 May to 2 June 1956 in the Hibernian Hall, Corner Lake and Florence Streets. The sections included Music – Choral, Vocal Solos and Duets and Instrumental Solos and Duets, Elocution – Poems, Verse Speaking Choirs and Mime, Literary- Essays, Short Stories and original Poems, Dance- Ballet, Tap, Demi-Character, National (Highland and Irish) and Groups. The youngest sections were for 6 to under 8 years and Seniors were 16 to under 18 years.
The first Secretary was Mrs. Phyllis Rogers who was a very active member of the Cairns Community and served with the Eisteddfod as Secretary for 3 years.
Our Eisteddfod was held at the Hibernian Hall until 1968 when we went to the Rex Theatre in Sheridan Street and so on 1969 The Youth Centre – Mulgrave Road, in 1970 the C.N. Crosswell Assembly Hall at Cairns State High School.This was our venue until 1975 when we moved to the Cairns Civic Theatre. The Eisteddfod was held in May each year and at that time, it was not held on a Sunday. We required a second venue in 1979 when we used the C.N. Crosswell Hall again.
About this time the ‘Art’ sections were poorly attended and were finally discontinued. The Literary sections were also poorly entered but thanks to the dedication and hard work of Mrs K.S. Anderson, the interest began to increase and now is very strong in these sections.
In 1980 we celebrated the Silver Jubilee. We used many extra halls – some being – Uniting Church Hall, QCWA Hall, Trinity Bay High School Assembly Hall, Rondo Theatre and the Education Centre. In 1996, our then president Mrs. Vivian Bordujenko opened our own hall “The Cairns & District Junior Eisteddfod Assoc. Inc. Hall” in Greenslopes Street, Edge Hill. The Music and Speech were held in our own hall from the 41st Eisteddfod and up until now.
Over the years, our Eisteddfod has grown from 6 days to 18 days and has necessitated at times using two or three venues at the same time.
The Junior Eisteddfod plays an important role in the fostering of the various arts for the youth of Cairns and District. We are always pleased to welcome visiting competitors who come from throughout Queensland.
A Management Committee controls the Eisteddfod with support from Sub-Committees and Members. New Members are always welcome and our meetings are normally held the 1st Wednesday of the month at the C.D.J.E. Hall, 67-71 Greenslopes Street, Edge Hill at 7.30pm.