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Twenty years since Childers backpacker tragedy

Today marks 20 years since the deadly Childers hostel fire, which claimed the lives of 15 people.

Robert Paul Long torched the Palace Backpackers Hostel, killing young travellers and injuring dozens of others staying at the hostel in the small Queensland town.

Journalist Paul Cochrane, who reported on the horrifying blaze as a young reporter, told Deborah Knight people in the community were only recently ready to talk about it.

He has since put together a podcast for the anniversary, called “Childers -The Full Story”.

“Turning up there you really did get a sense of just how big it was and the gravity of the occasion, immediately,” he said.

“It was just the devastation right in front of you.

“The community really took it personally that this happened on their patch.”

He said many of the people he speaks to feel now is the time to talk about it.

Long was charged with two counts of murder and will be eligible for parole soon.

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Image: Paul Cochrane, Twitter

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