Episode 17 of Childers Podcast – Acquiring the Building

There’s a stained glass window which sits over the entrance to the Palace Hostel in Childers. It was fitted during the rebuild after the 1902 fire and for almost a century it stood as a beacon to the most prominent facade on the main street. Somehow it survived the June 2000 Backpackers Hostel fire. Today it sits as a champion […]

Episode 16 of Childers Podcast – Guilty

Immediately after they escaped the burning Palace, a number of backpackers reported their suspicions about the fire and nominated Robert Long to police as the primary suspect. Authorities then set about piecing together a case to prove it was deliberately lit. By establishing arson, they could pursue murder charges. Episode 16 of Childers – The Full Story podcast examines exactly […]

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 […]