50 Years of Cairns Black Marlin FishingPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams

The sculpture commemorates 50 years of Black Marlin fishing in Cairns.




Address:1 Spence Street, The Pier, Cairns, 4870
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -16.919768
Long: 145.780815
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:Technology
Artist:Craig Smith


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 25th September, 2016
Front Inscription

          50 YEARS OF

Captain George Bransford first visited Cairns during WWII as an American paratrooper and was inspired by the local fishermen`s tales of very large marlin along the outer Great Barrier Ref.  These were enormous fish that smashed their gear and stole their catches.

Eager to return after the war, Bransford sold his Florida charter fishing business and moved his family to Cairns to pursue his dream, commissioning local craftsman to build his 32ft (9.75m) single-engine timber fishing launch `Sea Baby`.

On September 25, 1966, Bransford made world fishing history when he and deckhand Richard Obach landed a 1064 lb (482.62 kg) black marlin at the edge of the outer reefs off Cairns.  It was the first ever landed in Australian waters, and the first `grander` ever caught on 80lb (37 kg) tackle.

This world record catch sent shockwaves around the fishing world and gave birth to a massive tourism industry that saw Cairns grow and prosper as the undisputed black marlin fishing capital of the world.  This all happened thanks to one man with a vision: Captain George Bransford.

This commemorative sculpture was unveiled on the 50th anniversary of this auspicious event on Sunday, September 25th, 2016 by Gale Bransford, daughter of Captain George Bransford 

Left Side Inscription

       This sculpture is
in recognition of the contribution the
Black Marlin, Istiompax indica
has made in the region of the past 50 years.

In 1968 the first marlin off Cairns was tagged, and since then more than 50,000 have been tagged, with re-capture information adding enormously to our understanding of the species.

The Cairns Professional Game Fishing Association was inaugurated in 1972, and by example their `Code of Practice` has led the world in best practice.  The CPGPA has worked closely with fisheries managers, scientists, tourism bodies and other stakeholders ensuring that diligent management systems are in place and that long term conservation efforts through tag and release fishing, improved techniques and scientific research lead the global effort towards a sustainable fishery for future generations to enjoy. 


Right Side Inscription

                This monument
             was erected by the
           Cairns Game Fishing

Capt. Dennis `Brazakka` Wallace ( President )
Bill McLeod (Vice President ) Capt. Dan McCarthy
Margaret Hoffman (Treasurer ) Cheryl Campbell OAM
         Counciller Max O`Halloran
          Councillor Brett Moller 
This commemorative sculpture was unveiled on
the 50th anniversary of this auspicious event
on Sunday, September 25th, 2016
by Gale Bransford, daughter of
  Captain George Bransford.

   Created by artist Craig Smith


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au