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Tom Pyne

Tom Pyne – A Cairns Life

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Tom Pyne Cairns

Early Life

Tom Pyne was born in the sugar town of Babinda in 1935. He was the youngest of five children born to John Samuel and Katherine Hannah Pyne. His siblings included his brothers Jack and Frank and his sisters Ethel Hunt and Grace Macauley.

Tom attended the tiny McDonnell’s Creek School in Bellenden Ker and then Hambledon State School in Edmonton.

Who was Tom Pyne?

Tom Pyne was a long serving Mayor of Cairns and surrounds. He was Mayor of the Mulgrave Shire from 1979 to 1995 and Mayor of Cairns from 1995 to 2000. He retired from local government politics undefeated.
Tom Pyne 1935 – 2011

Family Life

Marion Mackinnon married Tom Pyne in 1955 when she was eighteen and he was twenty.

Indeed this marriage of Tom and Marion Pyne joined two pioneering families of Far North Queensland, the Wienerts and the Pynes.

Subsequently, they had two children, Joann Grace (born in 1960) and Robert John (born in 1967).

Marion and Tom Pyne
Marion and Tom Pyne

Work life

His first job was as a wood machinist with A.H. Kent, a furniture manufacturer in Cairns. Next, he worked for Queensland Railways, the Department of Works and then as a salesman for Advanx Tyre and Motor Services. He later opened his own business, Tin-Sang and Co, in Edmonton.

Tom Pyne – Public Life


Tom Pyne joined the Australian Labor Party at the age of 18. Subsequently, he rose through the ranks and held the positions of President and Secretary of the Edmonton branch on several occasions. As a result, he was presented with a Life Membership of the ALP on the 2nd of August, 1985.

Mulgrave Shire Council

At the age of 26 Tom Pyne was elected to the Mulgrave Shire Council as the Councillor for Division 1. Tom served on the Council from 1961 until it was abolished by an amalgamation process in 1995.

In 1976, he was elected Deputy Shire Chairman. In 1979, he was elected unopposed to the Chairmanship of Mulgrave Shire Council following the retirement of the former Chairman Ken Alley. Indeed he was re-elected to this position in 1982, 1983, 1988 and 1991.

Mulgrave Shire Council
Mulgrave Shire Council

Tom Pyne and the Amalgamation Election

The Cairns City Council amalgamated with the Mulgrave Shire Council in 1995. Consequently, the amalgamation election for the new body saw Tom (as Mulgrave Mayor) contest the poll against sitting Cairns City Council, Mayor Kevin Byrne. Tom subsequently defeated Kevin Byrne.

As a result of the win, Tom became Mayor of the newly amalgamated Cairns City Council in 1995. He served a final 5 year term during 1995 – 2000. Hence, he retired from this position, having never been defeated at an election.

Tom Pyne
Tom Pyne

Local Government Association of Qld

Tom was elected to the Local Government Executive in 1982 and was reappointed in 1985, 1988 and 1991. However, in the lead up to the 1995 amalgamation of Queensland Councils, he became the Chairman of a group of 20 local authorities leading the Campaign Against Forced Amalgamation.

Tom Pyne – Other Positions

While serving as Chairman of the Mulgrave Shire Council, Tom also filled a number of other official positions. Hence, these included the role of Senior Vice-Chairman of the Local Government Association of Queensland, Chairman of the Board of Directors of local radio station, 4am.

In addition he was appointed Chairman of the Queensland Electricity Board in 1991 and Committee Member of the Far North Queensland Youth Assistance Inc for twelve years. He was also Deputy President on the Cairns/Mulgrave Water Supply Board, to which he was first appointed to in 1968 and the Wet Tropics Management Authority.

Following a number of years in retirement, Tom passed away suddenly in 2011 and was survived by his wife Marion, daughter Joann, son Robert and Granddaughter Kate.

Tom Pyne: memorial cartoon
Tom Pyne: Memorial Cartoon

Remembering Tom Pyne


A Poem by Bob Burgess


2000 Olympics Certificate

Tom’s Gong

Tom Bows Out with a Tear

The Big Man with a Passion for Cairns


Cairns Museum Appreciation Award


Tom Pyne legacy

Tom’s vision the blueprint for our future

Tom Pyne Remembered

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2 responses to “Tom Pyne – A Cairns Life”

  1. […] Alfred Pyne AO (Tom Pyne) was an Australian politician. Firstly, he was the Chairman of the Shire of Mulgrave from […]

  2. […] Council (to the annoyance of some former Mulgrave Shire residents). The former Mulgrave Shire Mayor Tom Pyne was successful at the amalgamation election, becoming the first Mayor of the newly merged […]