Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Building Renewal
  • Last updated:
  • 31 May 2016

The Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve at Maleny is renowned for strong conservation values. It has been a popular tourist destination for more than 50 years. The reserve’s current building facilities need to be modernised and upgraded to meet the needs of all users including volunteers and visitors.

Project scope

The Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve building renewal project seeks to strengthen the critical role the reserve plays in the conservation and exhibition of flora and fauna, and the scenic values of the Glasshouse Mountains' landscape. This is in line with what the Thynne sisters intended when they gifted the land.

Project update

At its meeting on 28 January 2016 Council unanimously confirmed its commitment, including the necessary funding, to the delivery of the MCSR renewal works. Council’s budget is supported by $1 million from the Queensland Tourism Infrastructure Fund and the MCSR Advisory Committee is also dedicating $250,000 to the project. The Friends of Mary Cairncross are also considering putting some funds towards the educational and interpretive components.

The Queensland Tourism Infrastructure Fund is an initiative under the Australian Government’s Tourism Demand-Driver Infrastructure Programme administered by the Qld Government through the Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games.

Council awarded the construction contract to Hutchinson Builders in March 2016 and construction started in April 2016. The construction program is estimated to be around 12 months (weather dependent).

The construction work will be strongly guided by a detailed environmental management plan which identifies all environmental risks and how the project is to be managed, along with roles and responsibilities for ongoing monitoring and reporting.

Prior to start of construction temporary site services will be set up on the lawn area near the bus parking bays to allow continuity of visitor services including volunteer welcoming, guide services and hospitality services.

The cafe has been closed. Council is currently progressing interim arrangements for a refreshment van until the construction of the new Education Centre and Cafe are completed. It is anticipated that the interim arrangement for the refreshment van will not be in place until 1 June 2016.

During the construction period the rainforest walks, the picnic and barbecue areas and the public toilets will remain accessible to the public, as will the existing Glasshouse Mountain viewing areas. There will be some minor changes to access to these areas, which will be noted through directional signage on site. There will also be some changes affecting the bus turning and parking area so please follow any onsite directional signage on your arrival.

View the proposal

More detailed information can be found in the following documents.

Where to from here

Site works started in April 2016 and the construction program is estimated to be around 12 months (weather dependent).


The reserve is renowned for strong conservation values and community partnerships. It has been a popular tourist destination for more than 50 years and welcomes about 200,000 visitors each year.

The building renewal aims to accommodate the needs of the reserve's partners, and to address aging infrastructure, increased visitation and changing demands for engaging educational materials by providing the following facilities:

  • a new discovery centre
  • an elevated viewing platform that offers enhanced and safer viewing of the Glasshouse Mountains
  • elevated boardwalk within the rainforest edge
  • staff and volunteer offices
  • a conservation research area
  • a meeting theatrette for presentations, workshops and learning activities
  • a tea-house style café that provides a relaxed atmosphere for daytime eating and beverages
  • a gift shop with local and regional eco-friendly products that promote the reserve’s key values
  • covered gathering and meeting space for educational tours.

The Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is 55 hectares of National Estate listed subtropical rainforest overlooking the Glasshouse Mountains.


For more information please contact the project coordinator via council's customer service centre