The years that fol­lowed ...

Isis Town and Country - - News -

June 23, 2010

Tears flowed in Childers on this day as about 70 peo­ple – sur­vivors, fam­i­lies of vic­tims and lo­cals – gath­ered to re­mem­ber the 15 back­pack­ers who died in the Palace Hos­tel fire 10 years ago. The mov­ing me­mo­rial was opened by Sheila Webb, who wept as she told of the hor­ror of los­ing her 24-year-old daugh­ter Claire to the blaze.

June 18, 2011

Childers po­lice of­fi­cer in charge Sergeant Ge­off Fay was one of six re­cip­i­ents of the Aus­tralian Po­lice Medal as part of the Queen’s Birth­day Hon­ours.

Sgt Fay was com­mended for an out­stand­ing ca­reer served through­out ru­ral Queens­land and a re­mark­able con­tri­bu­tion to the com­mu­nity of Childers in the chaotic weeks fol­low­ing the in­fa­mous Palace Back­packer Hos­tel fire in 2000.

As one of only four po­lice of­fi­cers sta­tioned in Childers at the time of the tragedy, he co-or­di­nated the po­lice re­sponse to the dis­as­ter and tried to bring the town back to some­thing that re­sem­bled nor­mal­ity.

June 28, 2012

A chil­dren’s book, writ­ten by the sis­ter of English back­packer and fire vic­tim Claire Webb, was placed at the Palace me­mo­rial on this day. Karen Kelly’s book is ti­tled An­gel Tree and hon­ours her lost sis­ter.

March 6, 2014

Al­most 14 years af­ter the Palace Hos­tel fire claimed the lives of 15 young back­pack­ers, sur­vivors broke their si­lence to speak out against a “dis­re­spect­ful” move by the coun­cil to trans­form the me­mo­rial build­ing into a so­cial venue.

A media re­lease is­sued by the Bund­aberg Re­gional Coun­cil to pro­mote the jazz event stated the af­ter­noon promised “jazz tunes, wine and good times” at the Palace space.

One of the 70 sur­vivors, Richard Tem­pest, voiced his fury at the coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to use the me­mo­rial build­ing as a so­cial venue.

“I, along with other sur­vivors around the world, and the fam­i­lies and friends of those young lives who were trag­i­cally taken that night, feel that us­ing this me­mo­rial room in such a way is in­ap­pro­pri­ate, un­think­able and un­be­liev­able,” he said.

March 17, 2014

Dutch trav­eller Rob Jansen sur­vived the Palace Hos­tel fire. On March 17, 2014, he and his part­ner Karin wel­comed their baby daugh­ter into the world. Lea Isis Jansen was named af­ter the dis­trict as a spe­cial trib­ute.

Novem­ber 10, 2014

Col “Curl” San­ta­ca­te­rina led the re­cov­ery ef­fort for the Palace Back­pack­ers Hos­tel fire in 2000. He re­tired on this day af­ter 35 years with Queens­land Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices.

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