Stratford, a residential suburb on the Barron River, is seven km north-west of central Cairns. The suburb backs on to the Mount Whitfield range, now a conservation park.
As well as being on the river, Stratford is on the Cairns-Redlynch-Kuranda railway line (1887), which put it in a good position for the transport of saw logs from the Macalister and Lamb Ranges west of Cairns. The Bunning Bros sawmill was Stratford's most important industry, supplied through both the railway and private hauliers. The post office directory (1949) recorded the Stratford Hotel, two stores, a picture theatre, a butcher and a post office. Schooling was in neighbouring Freshwater.
Stratford had a population of about 1000 in the early 1960s, with its residential area clearly separated from Freshwater. Within 20 years the two suburbs were nearly joined. At the eastern end of Stratford, where the Captain Cook Highway crosses the river, there is an industrial area; Magazine Street next to the railway line is a reminder of the heritage-listed explosives magazine built there in 1901.
Stratford has a hotel, local shops, a bowling club, a Council library and a Rudolf Steiner school. Its census populations have been: