The North Cairns Australian Football Club was founded in 1955 however in the year 1965 after tireless volunteers cleared the surrounding bushland, the club moved to its present playing fields on the corner of Behan and MacNamara Streets Manunda, Cairns.
The current playing fields were opened by the Cairns Mayor, Darcy Chataway on 25 September 1965 after 6 years of laborious and back-breaking work by volunteers and families who made up the Club.
The project to clear the land began in June 1957 when the then president King Watson was convinced by newspaper reporter Frank Vaines that there was a future for the club to acquire and maintain a playing oval and room to build a clubhouse. The Lands Department granted the swampy, undulating area of some 15 acres to the Club on July 8, 1959.
Although buoyed by the news of the grant, the reality of the cost of construction invited some trepidation from the Committee and Club Members who, because of lack of funds or equipment, had no alternative but to roll up their collective sleeves and throw themselves into the project. In true pioneer tradition, the men and the boys felled and cleared the bush land while the women made endless pots of tea from water boiled in kerosene tins over the camp fire. Anyone who should be passing by were presented with a picture of workers who were sweaty and covered in dirt as they dragged logs, burnt brush and marked boundaries.
Just when the job seemed to be too hard for even the enthusiastic and determined workers, Pop Watson donated a massive 500 pounds for earth moving equipment. The gesture was acknowledged when the ground was officially named Watson Sports Ground. The Koppen Family stretched the kitty by allowing their company’s hire equipment to be used by the Club Members on weekends. Once the area was leveled, entire families became involved in cleaning and grassing the field ready for the first game.
In keeping with the imagination and foresight of providing a playing field for not only inter-club games but to host inter-city games, the Club invited Papua New Guinea side Boroko-Badilli to play North Cairns in a curtain raiser to a Cairns versus Brisbane clash.
A clubhouse was built in the early seventies and has since been extended and renovated. The Club has a large player membership of around 280 players from Senior grade through to Juniors including the Masters and Women’s teams. The Committee and Social Members combined make approximately 210. During the season the Club hosts 9 Senior games and several more Junior competition games as well as the Masters and Women’s competition.
North Cairns Australian Football & Sporting Club is and has remained a family club through the years and has been consistent in its success at all levels.