History of Cairns AFL CLub


How it all began

1955 In late July – Frank Vains and Bruce Mourden put an article in the Cairns Post (where they worked) to ask anyone that was interested I a game of Aussie Rules footy to be at the North Cairns Reserve (now the Cairns Hockey Fields) on the Saturday afternoon.

5th August – First meeting of the Cairns Australian Football League (CAFL), a committee was formed (including Kevin Crathern ) and Bruce Mourden was appointed Secretary of the league and Kevin Crathern was appointed as the first A grade coach. The Cairns team played games again visiting navy ships and RAAF players at the council grounds in North Cairns. 1956 Kevin Crathern became the Vice President of the league. The block of land (mangroves) on Mulgrave selected as the new CAFL ground could either be purchased by the CAFL or the Australian National Football Council could purchase the land and the CAFL would have to do the work of clearing the land of trees, filling in the dense bushlands and turning it into a suitable playing field. The CAFL decided to do the hard work of clearing the land lead by Kevin Crathern (as President of the CAFL 1957-1974) as it was the only way to go. It was a big job for many working bees consisting of a small band of keen workers doing something for the game they loved and getting the game on the map in Cairns, which was dominated by the sport of Rugby League.

1973  CAFL Social Club was granted a liquor licence.

1974  Jim Barlow introduced Reg Lillywhite to the CAFL Social Club.

1975  December, Reg Lillywhite was elected president of the CAFL Social Club. 12 months later Reg Lillywhite was elected president of CAFL (now AFL Cairns), a position he held until 1989.

1983 – 84   One of the most significant things were Reg Lillywhite and Jim Barlow convincing the committee to commit to building a new function room attached to the existing social club, known as Cazalys.

1984  The only stream of revenue was hosting functions, weddings and bingo at Cazalys, to fund the 4 teams competing at the time.

1984-85  Reg Lillywhite and Allen Aylett negotiated with the National Football League to purchase the freehold of “Australian Football Park”.

1985  Reg Lillywhite was granted Cazalys Social Club life membership for his achievements.

1992  Introduction of Cazalys first 22 poker machines, which saw a significant rise in cash flow for the Club.

1993-94  Final payment was made on Australian Football Park, Cazalys.

1992-95 $500 000 was spent on upgrading the Social Club and extensions. $1M was spent on the grounds.

1994   A major 10 year sponsorship of $100 000 went to the “Brisbane Bears”.

1997-98  AFL Cairns acquired the western grandstand from the Gabba and it was relocated to Australian Football Park. $2.4M was spent on the infrastructure.

1998  Four light towers were erected boasting a 1000-lux. Official turn-on of lights 11th November 1998.

1999  CAFL purchased the 51st battalion barracks housing property adjacent to grounds, now known as AFL House. Additional instrumental purchases in the late 90’s include The Goodyear & Sigi Graf building’s and other strategic housing properties surrounding Australian Football Park.

2001- 2003  Cazalys stadium was official sponsored by Bundaberg Rum, and named “Bundaberg Rum Stadium”.

2002-2005  Over $4M spent on Cazalys social club construction and renovations, which now hosts: 600-seat Function Room, now known as “The Allen Aylett Room”. New Sportsmans’ Bar overlooking the playing surface TAB and Sportsbet facilities , Lounge Bar , 280 Poker Machines Members Bottle Shop. Barassi’s Restaurant & Coffee Shop

2008  Over $2.1M spent on Cazalys stadium upgrade. Including lighting to AFL television standards and new entrance gates on Till street.

2010  July -Deputy PrimeMinister Wayne Swan pledged 3M government handout to kickstart the redevelopment of Cazalys stadium.

2011  15M Stadium redeveloment completed included new grandstand and players facilities, media box and upgraded lighting.

July 16 2011   Inauguaral AFL premiership game between Richmond and Gold Coast Suns. Cairns will host for 3 matches over 3 years

Dec 8 2011   Construction of Twin light towers started today,opening up a wealth of opportunities

2012  Cazalys Wins Queensland Club of the Year . The top prize completed a hat trick of awards for Cazalys on the night, after wins in the Best Football Club 2012, and Best Club FNQ.

July 12th 2013 Cazalys completes 6.5M expansion. Premises were extended by 1800sq m. Expansion included a state-of-the-art children’s entertainment area , new kitchen and cafe, and a refurbished gaming lounge. The expansion was officially opened on the 12th July 2013 by Allen Alyett

March 11th 2014 Cazalys wins The  Best Club Far North QLD, The Best Football Club QLD & The Best Social Club QLD at the prestigious Clubs QLD Awards For Excellence.

July 12th  2014  Cazalys Stadium hosts it’s 4th AFL premiership game this time between The Western Bulldogs and The Gold Coast Suns.

March 23rd 2015 Cazalys wins The  Best Club Far North QLD, The Best Football Club QLD, The Best Community Service By A Licensed Club QLD & the Best Queensland Club Of The Year 2015 at the prestigious Clubs QLD Awards For Excellence.


Clubs Queensland Awards for Excellence 2015. CORPORATE/EVENT: Clubs Queensland Awards for Excellence 2015. Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, Queensland. 2015. Photo By Pat Brunet/Event Photos Australia


 July 11th  2015  Cazalys Stadium hosts it’s 5th AFL premiership game between The Western Bulldogs and The Gold Coast Suns.