Toc H started in Cairns on the 5th February, 1943 during World War II under the stewardship of Reg and Norma Morris. It was established at the Grand Hotel opposite the Cairns Railway Station and the hotel was renamed Talbot House. It had 119 beds and was open for the use of servicemen during the war. Meals were also served. In 1950 Toc H was disbanded but was later reformed on the 10th May, 1992 at St John’s Anglican Church. From the very start the Branch was oriented towards activities for youth in Cairns and for many years it was responsible for sending many young people to Toc H Youth Leadership Courses around Australia.
The Branch also held its own annual youth training programs for children and these focussed on building self-esteem in young people who were in years 7, 8, and 9 at their schools. These were highly successful. Support was also given to the Cairns P.C.Y.C., especially in the building of its new Centre in Cairns. At the moment the Branch is looking at ways to move forward into the future and projects being considered are:
Giving a bursary each year to a student to help his or her education. This bursary will come from interest on the investments that the St John’s Branch has.
Developing a leadership program for people who could benefit from sharpening up their own leadership skills. The focus will be on Christian Leadership.
Setting up a CAMEO program for people who may be marginalised because of their race or religion. (COME AND MEET EACH OTHER)
It is envisaged that formal meetings will be held once a quarter, but the immediate need is to build up a small group of people who are willing to steer Toc H forward into the future.