The last time James Cook was this irritated around Cairns was when HM Bark Endeavour hit the Great Barrier Reef some 248 June’s back.
This time the irritant is not coral but a bloke, Scott Bowman who has an award from the Cairn’s Chamber of Commerce for making it a two-university town. For decades James Cook University had a higher education monopoly in Cairns, which ended as Vice Chancellor Bowman brought his CQU to town in 2012 –it now has 1000 students there. Plans to expand, with a $54m development, depend on federal funding (CMM August 8 2017). Local federal MP Warren Entsch has made positive noises and Cairns Chamcomm seems on-side.
It will be a matter for Bowman’s successor – he sails into the sunset at Christmas, perhaps with a map from JCU to ensure he does not run aground and have to come back.