Category Archives: Events

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Bat Festival

Category : Community , Events , Raffle

On the 22nd of April, the Bat Festival was held at the Salt House Garden. It was an event organised by the Cairns Regional CouncilAustralasian Bat Society and CAFNEC.

Hundreds of people came along for live music, cocktails, microbat detecting, kids crafts, educational talks, flying fox flyout interpretive talks, a great raffle, BBQ, Zoo To You and more!



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Boomerang Bags Gallery

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Cairns ECOfiesta 2017

CAFNEC at EcoFiesta 2017

Check out our Cairns and Far North Environment Centre video from Cairns ECOfiesta 2017. We talked about Plastic Free July FNQ 2017, Boomerang Bags, the Wet Tropics Plan Review and out latest Ecotone amongst other things AND held workshops to make your own beeswax wraps, and screen printing to give recycled t-shirt a new life. Beeswax wraps are easy to make and a great alternative to plastic wrap! Why not switch to beeswax wraps as part of your Plastic Free July? Sign up here:

It was a fabulous sunny day of art, music, food and fashion at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal. A day of eco-activities, workshops, hands-on learning, expo of green-tech and sharing about sustainable living solutions. What a fantastic day to see all these people there to take care of our environment and our planet!

CAFNEC organized three workshops : the t-shirt printing, beeswax wrap making and Boomerang Bag sewing!

Now, check out these fabulous photos!

T-shirt printing with Charlie





Our two interns won some prizes in the contest!

Beeswax Wrap: Grating

Beeswax Wrap: Cutting and Melting

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Cairns Second Screening: A Plastic Ocean

Category : Events , Plastic free


Cairns and Far North Environment Centre, No Waste, No Worries, Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and The Junk Weavers Inc. are teaming up to bring you a second screening of “A PLASTIC OCEAN” after our sold out session in March!

A Plastic Ocean is an award winning film about the impact of plastic on our oceans described by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the most important films of our time”.

Come along, see this ground breaking documentary and then hear from the organisations working on the issue locally and how you can get involved.

Get in quick: we sold out for the last session!

A Plastic Ocean is an epic global adventure following a documentary filmmaker and a world record free-diver as they travel the earth discovering the shocking impact plastic is having on our oceans and the marine animals that live there. The film investigates how our addiction to plastic is impacting the food chain and how that is effecting every one of us through new and developing human health problems. The expedition leads the two adventurers to unusual scientific discoveries, heart-breaking truths and important solutions to one of the biggest problems confronting mankind.

Click here to check out the trailer

Get your tickets here


Monday 12 June, 6 – 9 pm
Event Cinemas, Cairns Central
Cairns Central Shopping Centre, 1 – 21 McLeod St, Cairns City, Queensland 4870

Bess Murphy, Community Engagement Coordinator, Cairns & Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC)Email:
Phone: 07 4032 1746
Join the Facebook event!

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Blog: Boomerang Bags February Update

Hi Boomerang Bag crew,

Thanks so much to everyone who came along to our first sewing bee. For those who weren’t able to make it we look forward to meeting you soon!

The numbers are in for the first sewing bee:

Item Tally
Complete bags 8
‘Very, nearly, almost’ complete bags 14
Bag pieces with pockets pre-attached 10
Cut bag pieces 65
Printed pockets 86
Sewn or ironed handles 20 sets
Cut handles 60 sets
Cut tags Lots and lots and lots

Boomerang Bags national recommend that each community should reach a ‘critical mass’ of 1000 bags before launching them into the community. So we have a few to go if we aim for this target but I’m sure each sewing bee we will get more and more efficient!

Drawing on the learning of the first meet up we’ve had a few ideas to streamline the process that we’ll implement at the next sewing bee:

  • Have a designated cup of tea/chat break half way through: we aren’t machines after all 😛
  • More of a production line with sewing machines/overlockers: piles with different stages of bag and assigning each machine a role
  • More irons and ironing boards for pockets and handles
  • Make up bag kits for people who can’t attend meetings to take home and sew
  • Make the sewing station larger (and use limited space better)
  • Making the instruction sheets for each station even bigger and clearer and assigning a volunteer to keep an eye over each station and how it’s going
  • Getting non-sewers who would like skills to sit with sewers and learn
  • Better rotation for those who want to try out different things.
  • Start at 4.30 instead of 4.00
  • Make sure the aircon isn’t temperamental again
  • Better explanation and clearer signs of where materials are: thread, scissors, extension chords etc.

We want your feedback: what creative ideas do you have to build Boomerang Bags Cairns? What ideas do you have from the first meeting? Let us know in this survey: (It’s anonymous!)

Thursday 2nd March 4.30pm – 7.30 pm (that’s next week!)
Where: Downstairs of Cominos House 27-29 Greenslopes St, Cairns North
Facebook Event:
What to bring: sewing machine or overlocker (if you have one), recycled fabric, snacks to share, or just yourself 🙂

A lot of people asked if they should bring their machine (or overlocker) along: yes, if you do have one then bring it along as it seems the back log in our production line so far has been the sewing stage. In saying this if you don’t have a machine don’t let that stop you from coming at all: there are so many other tasks that need to be done Eg cutting, printing, ironing, sorting, organising chatting 😛 You can also sit in with a sewer and learn.

Can’t come along but still want to help?

Do you have any fabric at home that may never be used? Donate it and we will turn it into Boomerang Bags. Anything will do so long as it isn’t overly thick or stretchy, even old sheets can be chopped up to be given a second life. We will also be gladly accepting donations of thread and any sewing accessories. Please bring in to the CAFNEC office (we will also have a donation box on the veranda for when office is closed).

One more thing:

In case you missed it: the Queensland Government has committed to banning single-use plastic bags in 2018 – hoorah! A discussion paper has been released and public input is being sought  via an online survey into what a ban may look like in practice. To help you out the Cafnec Marine Response Team have put together some points which may help you guide your response. The survey closes on Monday 27th March so have your say now!


  1. Join ‘Boomerang Bags Cairns’ Facebook group:
    (Don’t worry if you don’t have Facebook – I will continue to communicate via emails also)
  2. Feedback on first sewing bee:
  3. ‘Like’ our Cairns and Far North Environment Centre page (
  4. ‘Like’ our CAFNEC Marine Response Team page (
  5. Have your say on the Qld Governments plastic bag ban survey: closes Monday 27th March
  6. Have a friend who is interested? Get them to sign up for the email list here:

Further reading: check out the national website or join the national Boomerang Bags Facebook group as a great place to get ideas on how others are running Boomerang Bags (

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact Bess, Community Engagement Coordinator at CAFNEC on 4032 1746 or

Flyer 1pg any date

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Plastic Free July: Weekly Catchup 2

Weekly Catchups Flyers

Plastic Free July Weekly Catchup 2: Making Beeswax wraps

This week Alice will be demonstrating how to make your own wax wrap. Wax wraps are great for storing, preserving and covering food. If you feel inspired by that, a donation will let you have a go at making your own (lots of fun). Alice is also going to show you her home-made produce bags and how you might make one yourself!

Week 2 Program
5.30 pm – Meet & Greet
5.45 pm – Dilemma bag (what did you struggle with?)
6:15 pm – Successes! (what did you do well with?)
6.30 pm – Activity Time: Beeswax wraps
7:15 pm – Snacks & relax
7:30 pm – Hammock Café closes

We’ll be meeting every Thursday in July at 5.30pm at the Hammock Cafe (70 Abbott St Cairns) to share stories, run plastic free workshops and giveaway some cool prizes!

Check out the Facebook event 

We hope to see you there!

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Plastic Free July: Weekly Catchup 1

Weekly Catchups Flyers

Plastic Free July is here: first weekly catch-up is Thursday 7th July

The power of social change rests in coming together.

So let’s meet up this Thursday and share our Plastic Free July stories and learn tricks and tips from each other and some special guests who are plastic free veterans.

We’ll be meeting every Thursday in July at 5.30pm at the Hammock Cafe (70 Abbott St Cairns) to share stories, run plastic free workshops and giveaway some cool prizes!

Week 1 Program Thurs 7th July:

5.30 pm – Meet & greet
5.45 pm – Dilemma Bag: Tell us what you couldn’t avoid
6.00 pm – Successes!! Tell us what went well!
6.30pm – Activity Time: scrumptious Plastic Free recipe sharing and toothpaste making workshop
7.15 pm – Snacks and relax, Hammock Café closes

Check out the Facebook event 

We hope to see you there!

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Plastic Free July: ‘Bag it’ Screening wrap up


Thanks to everyone who came out for our ‘Bag it: Is your life too plastic?’ film screening and how to fundraise night on Thursday 30th of June.

We had a full house – apologies to those who missed out!

Check out the pictures from the night and in case you missed it, check out the trailer for ‘Bag it’ here

If you still need to make a GoFundraise page for Plastic Free July click here!









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Plastic Free July: Family Fun Beach Day pictures

We had a great day at Yorkeys Knob on Saturday 25th of June launching Plastic Free July FNQ with our Family Fun Beach Day!

Sandcastles, BBQ, drain stencilling, bag painting, colouring in, singing, plastic free living demos and giveaways!

Check out some of the pictures and a special video made by PhlipVids above, and coverage in the Cairns Post below.


web 2

Bags hand screen printed with our ‘Plastic: It All Adds Up’ logo for the event


Some of the great prizes for sand castle building!


Paint your own bag


Drain stencil project


Colouring in (want to print and colour your own? Download it here)


No Waste No Worries plastic free living display


Purging Plastics display


Tangaroa Blue


Ditch plastic straws!


Plastic bag and coffee cup waste display


Lovely tunes


Sand castle comp in action


Sand castle comp in action


Drain stencil project


Nemo facepaint


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It All Adds Up: Family Fun Beach Day


Join our Family Fun Beach Day!


Date : Saturday, June 25
Time: 02:00 – 05:30 PM
Location: Yorkeys Knob Foreshore Park (Northern Sims Esplanade)

A family friendly event for all ages that aims to raise awareness about plastic consumption and its effects on our environment.

With Plastic Free July just around the corner, we would love to show the community what the every-day person can do to reduce their plastic usage, in a fun way!

This event is part of the team’s new campaign called “It All Adds Up”, which hopes to send a positive message and empower the community to make a change.

Some activities planned for the day include:
1. Sand competition
2. Paint your own re-usable calico bag
3. Drain stencilling drains with the message “This Drains to the Great Barrier Reef” – council approved activity
4. Marine Debris – “Where Does This Come From?” game
5. Colouring in activities
6. Tips and ideas for living plastic free

There will also be a sausage sizzle, and there are awesome prizes to be won!

So come on down to the esplanade (North end near the playground) for some fun outdoor activities, we hope to see you all there!

Contact person: Bess Murphy – 0409 696 939


Join our Facebook event
Plastic Free July
“It All Adds Up”
Drain Stencil Project

Bag logo