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Cairns is a city in Queensland, Australia, on the tropical north east coast of Far North Queensland. The population in June 2019 was 153,952, having grown on average 1.02% annually over the preceding five years. The city is the 5th-most-populous in Queensland, and 15th in Australia.The city was founded in 1876 and named after Sir William Wellington Cairns, following the discovery of gold in the Hodgkinson river. Throughout the late 19th century, Cairns prospered from the settlement of Chinese immigrants who helped develop the region's agriculture. Cairns also served as a port for blackbirding ships, which crews transported slaves and indentured labourers to the sugar plantations of Innisfail.During World War II, the city became a staging ground for the Allied Forces in the Battle of the Coral Sea. By the late 20th century the city had become a centre of international tourism. In the early 21st century it has developed into a major metropolitan city. Cairns is a popular tourist destination because of its tropical climate and access to tropical rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.