About Us


Cairns Rudolf Steiner School grew out of a perceived need for a genuine educational alternative in our local community. In 1997, Nila Chambers, an experienced Steiner teacher from Melbourne, began planning for the school. The school subsequently opened its doors in 2002 with 25 children accommodated in a small house in Stratford. A 42 acre bush property in Kuranda was purchased six years later, as a permanent school site. The property is a beautiful, tranquil place traversed by walking tracks and seasonal creeks, with a 10 minute walk to the lovely Barron River. After the move to our permanent site in 2008, the school was renamed Candlenut Steiner School. The Candlenut tree is a native tree found in the area and, in its simplest form, means ‘seed of light’. In mythology, the Candlenut tree symbolises enlightenment, peace and protection.

Until 2010, the school offered Kindergarten and Preschool through to Class Seven. In November 2010, the school received accreditation to also offer Classes Eight to Ten. In 2011, Class Eight was available and each subsequent year we progressed to Class Nine then Ten, with our first Class Ten cohort graduating in 2013. From 2014 we offered Playgroup sessions, a four-year-old programme, two combined Kinder – Prep classes and single stream classes from Class One to Ten. The high school campus (completed in March 2015)             incorporates a science laboratory, manual arts workshop, an art studio and a general learning area.

In 2015 the school rebranded to Cairns Hinterland Steiner School as part of our reaching out to Australian and International partners. A Mandarin language programme was introduced from Early Childhood to Class Ten, with Class Nine students participating in an annual exchange with Chengdu Waldorf School in China. 

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