Precious baby Isis
Palace fire survivor’s heartfelt gesture:
OUT OF THE ASHES: Lea Isis Jansen, whose father Rob survived the fatal Palace fire in 2000, was named after the event that changed his life.
THE Palace Backpacker Hostel claimed the lives of 15 young backpackers in 2000, but out of the ashes has come new life.
Rob Jansen, a traveller from the Netherlands who survived the fatal fire, has recently become a dad for the first time – and, in a heartfelt tribute to an event that changed his life and the community who came to his aid, he has named his daughter Lea Isis Jansen.
Mr Jansen and long-time partner Karin welcomed little Lea Isis into the world on the Caribbean island of Bonaire on March 17.
The intrepid traveller said as he searched for the perfect name for the little girl they were expecting, it occurred to him he could choose one that reflected his tender feelings toward the Childers community.
“I was going through endless name lists, like many other parents-to-be,” he explained.
“You are looking for the perfect name – some symbolism, some history, and personal reasons.”
When Mr Jansen came across the name Isis, he immediately took a liking to it, and moments later realised the connection.
“I must admit that gave it a big plus. The name Isis ticked all my boxes and more ... because of the history I have with the area and the symbolism of what happened in June 2000,” he said.
While he and Karin initially wanted to use Isis as their daughter’s first name, they already had a niece named Iris.
Believing the names would be too similar, they settled on Isis for their daughter’s middle name.
The Dutch national said he remained forever grateful to the Childers community for the help he and fellow survivors received following the fire, especially from long-term resident Donna Duncan.
“For me, Donna is the personification of the help we, as the survivors, got after the fire,” Mr Jansen said.
“But there were many more who put in their effort to help us out. I’m just as thankful to them as to Donna.”
Mr Jansen plans to return to the district one day with his family.
“There will be a day that I’ll bring Lea to Australia and to Childers. We hope to let Lea experience the world as we are doing,” he said.
“We want to show her the differences, rich and poor, happy and sad, cold and warm etc.
“But we also want to show her what the life-changing moments were in her parents’ lives.”
LIFE-CHANGING EVENT: Dutch traveller Rob Jansen survived the Palace hostel fire, which killed 15 of his fellow backpackers on June 23, 2000.
Lea Isis Jansen was named after the district as a special tribute.
Mr Jansen with Donna Duncan at the 10-year memorial for the fire victims.