After hearing the Isis Shire CEO speak recently at the Small Towns Conference, La Trobe University Bendigo (Vic), a PWF reader has alerted us to the wonderful community response to the Childers Backpacker Hostel blaze.
Following the disastrous fire of 23 June 2000, when 15 young backpackers lost their lives, the close-knit community came out in force to comfort the 69 survivors and provide them with support and assistance.
Since then Queensland’s Isis Shire Council and the Childers community have faithfully restored the building to its 1902 glory. The former Hostel is now a Memorial / Visitor Information Centre / Regional Art Gallery.
Isis Shire, in the centre of the Wide Bay Region, is a blend of lush agricultural land, historic towns and lovely coastal areas. The administration and retail centre is the historic town of Childers where most of the main street is ‘Heritage-listed’.
The magnificent redevelopment of the Palace Backpacker Hostel won a National Trust (Qld) Award for Excellence in Heritage Conservation Works as well as several other design awards.
Childers has become a stopover point for thousands of travellers. Over 250,000 visitors have passed through the Memorial. Childers has become a ‘rest stop’ situated as it is halfway between Brisbane and Rockhampton.