Childers the Podcast: Episode 14 – Man Hunt

A day after the Palace Backpackers Hostel had been burnt down, police identified a man suspected of lighting it. A full scale man hunt was underway and had the Childers community and surrounding towns on edge. They feared for their safety as the man dubbed Australia’s most wanted was on the loose for five days after the fire. During a […]

Childers Podcast Episode 13 – A Princess Comes to Town

The burden of a week of intense grief and trauma was weighing heavily on the survivors and the Childers community. The town needed a lift. It came in the form of the first Royal visit to the region in 25 years. Episode 13 of Childers – The Full Story podcast looks back at the hastily arranged visit by Princess Anne […]

Childers Podcast Episode 12 – Going Dutch

The strong Dutch contingent staying at the Palace brought a unique energy to the backpacker group. And in June 2000 they found a common bond through the love of their national football team. But the fire would tear the group apart and change young lives forever. Episode 12 of CHILDERS – The Podcast chats to Dutch survivors Rob Jansen and […]

Appearance on The Today Show

With just a week to go until the 20th anniversary of the fire which gutted the Palace Backpackers Hostel in Childers, media coverage is ramping up considerably. I was a guest on The Today Show on Channel Nine this morning to discuss my recollections of the fire and its aftermath and of course, CHILDERS – The Full Story podcast. It […]

Episode 11 of Childers Podcast

Three days after the fire a highly emotional memorial service was held in the Community Centre. It featured the full suite of Government officials, but the focus was on the group of survivors, lead by James Whitehurst, who coined the term which would become synonymous with the 15 victims. Episode 11 of CHILDERS – The Podcast looks at how that […]

Childers Episode 10 – Kim Skubris & Karl Stefanovic

On June 23, 2000, the Palace Backpacker Hostel fire in Childers was the biggest news story in the world. I was the first TV journalist on scene and would report on every stage of the story over the next three years, from the fire, the people involved and the full investigation to the building redevelopment to its grand re-opening. But […]

Episode 9 of Childers Podcast – Keith

Keith O’Brien was the first of the survivors who escaped the Palace Backpackers Hostel that I met on 23 June, 2000. In Episode 9 of CHILDERS – The Podcast I caught up with Keith to talk about how he managed to get out of the building and drag his roommate to safety. It also explores a matter that became central […]

Childers Podcast – Episode 8: The Media Arrives

When Australia woke on the morning of June 23, 2000, it was to headlines of the tragedy unfolding in Childers. They were watching the vision shot by Channel 7 cameraman Mick Gray and hearing radio accounts from Wayne Heidrich who ran the local newspaper. They were the first pictures and reports that were seen and heard across the world. Their […]

Childers – Episode 7

Episode 7 of Childers – The Podcast is now available. It is the harrowing story of Julie O’Keeffe – as told by her brother David and his wife Deirdre. There are several ways you can listen to this episode. _____ Here it is in the PLAYER below: _____ _____ It is available on Apple Podcasts (aka iTunes) by CLICKING HERE […]

Episode 6 of Childers Podcast

Episode 6 of the Childers podcast is now available. It focuses on the community response to the fire on 23 June, 2000 – led by the town’s inspirational Mayor of the time – Bill Trevor. 20 years on, Childers continues to deal with the scars inflicted that night. However, with Bill at helm and Isis Shire Council CEO (and current […]