Barron Shire (1890-1920) was an area of about 500 sq miles immediately north and west of the Cairns township. Before 1890 Cairns township was a small municipality, adjoined by the Cairns local government division. The Barron division was formed by severance from Cairns division, and took in Freshwater (now a suburb of Cairns, south of the Barron River), Smithfield, Kuranda and Mareeba. Barron division was restyled as a shire in 1902.

The name came from the Barron River which has its headwaters in the Mareeba district. The river was named in 1876 by the police officer and explorer Robert Johnstone after Thomas Barron, an ex-police officer and chief clerk of the Queensland Police Department.

Barron shire's chief accomplishment was the building of a bridge over the Barron River at Kamerunga. Its office was in Cairns, however, to the chagrin of residents of Mareeba who by 1920 had a substandard town (population 1300) and were on a railway junction, Barron shire was abolished, and 48 sq miles were transferred to Cairns shire and 442 sq miles to Woothakata shire, the latter headquartered in the old mining town of Thornborough.

Barron division/shire's populations were:

Census DatePopulation

Woothakata Shire, Freshwater, Kuranda, Smithfield and Mareeba entries


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