Cancer Council Queensland celebrates 60 years of spreading hope

Sixty years ago, Cancer Council Queensland was founded by a small group of volunteers who were committed to making a difference to the lives of people in their local community affected by cancer. From these foundations, to our current role as the state’s leading organisation for cancer information, support and research, our supporters have always been at the core of what we do. 


Our 60th Anniversary is chance for us to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work of our employees, volunteers, donors and supporters over the yearswho have all contributed to Cancer Council Queensland’s identity and successes. Our CEO Chris McMillan has embarked on a 60th Anniversary Roadshow to do just this.  

is travelling to ten regions throughout the state to mark this occasion and personally thank everyone who has shared our mission to reduce the burden of cancer in Queensland. These events will reflect upon Cancer Council Queensland’s past, present and future with the local communities that have shaped cancer support in their regions.  

So, what exactly are we celebrating? Here are a few of Cancer Council Queensland’s key accomplishments over the last 60 years. 

 – Queensland Cancer Fund is established by a group of concerned community members. Their purpose: to help people affected by cancer.  

 – We launch our iconic Nurse of The Year Quest. This fundraising and education campaign ran successfully for 38 years and involved thousands of nurses across all the regions of Queensland. 

 – Sid the Seagull ushers in a new era of sun protection, appearing on TV for the first time and launching the long-standing Slip, Slop, Slap campaign nationally. 

 – Our first accommodation lodge, Charles Wanstall Apex Lodge, opens its doors in Brisbane, offering a home away from home for cancer patients and their families while undergoing treatment. Since opening, 20,000 patients have been assisted with over 300,000 nights of accommodation. 

1983 – Cancer Council Queensland begins funding the Australian Childhood Cancer Registry. The Registry has provided  complete, population-wide information on childhood cancer in Australia for researchers, clinicians and families since  its beginnings, with the aim of improving outcomes for children with cancer. It is one of the longest running and most comprehensive databanks for childhood cancer in the world.

1992 – We celebrate our first Daffodil Day in Queensland. Not only is Daffodil Day our most iconic campaign, it has raised more than $30 million to date. All funds, kindly donated by the Queensland community, go towards lifesaving cancer research. 

1996 – The 13 11 20 Information and Support Line launchesIn 2020, it received 6500 calls seeking cancer information and support. 

1999 – The National SunSmart Program launches. More than 700 schools are currently registered in our SunSmart Program. 

 – We launch the Cancer Council Queensland Counselling service – the state’s only free specialist phone and face-to-face service for cancer patients and their loved ones. This service has helped more than 15, 000 people since it started. 

 – The Viertel Cancer Research Centre is established as a cancer research unit with Cancer Council Queensland. Our academic publications, on average, are being cited over three times more than the world average. Since opening, over 100,000 Queenslanders have taken part in the research projects of the Viertel Cancer Research Centre.  

 – Professor Ian Frazer makes headlines around the world when he develops the world’s first cancer vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. Research into the vaccine was partly funded by Cancer Council Queensland. 

2012 –
 The ESA Wig and Turban Service launches, providing wigs, turbans, fringes and headscarves to cancer patients experiencing hair loss due to treatment.Since its inception, the service has assisted 7725 clients and loaned 6879 wigs. 

 – Cancer Council Queensland’s hard work pushing the Queensland Government to tighten restrictions on smoking in shared spaces pays off as new laws ban smoking in schools in Queensland. 

 – Cancer Council Queensland advocates for the ban of commercial solariums in Queensland, and they are deemed illegal as of 1 January. 

 – The Australian Cancer Atlas is officially released. The Atlas reveals how geographical location can affect health and the likelihood of a cancer diagnosis. It maps cancer trends throughout Australia and increases our understanding of cancer prevention and diagnosis. 

2020 – 120 of our scientific publications are in top 10% most cited publications in the world. 

– The Cancer Risk Calculator is launched as a free online tool the public can use to find out ways to reduce their cancer risk. 

 achievements are evidence that by working together, we can make a significant difference to help improve the lives of Queenslanders impacted by cancer.  

Cancer Council Queensland will 
continue this important work until we can realise our vision of a cancer free future.