THE HAUNTED HOTEL OF CHILDERS
Most of the town of Childers was ruined in a disastrous fire in 1902, destroying the building from what is now known as Dimmeys down to the Grand Hotel. One building that survived was the Grand Hotel, but in the years that followed, the old pub had its own share of tragedy. A woman is believed to have hanged herself in one of the guest rooms and a man was allegedly thrown from a landing and died after he informed on an illegal betting ring.
Various publicans of the hotel are reported as saying their lives were being disrupted by at least one ghost. Nicknamed `Luke' he wanders around upstairs and down, opening locked doors.
A visitor to the hotel, while walking up the extremely narrow, steep stairs leading to the roof was surprised to see scratch marks on her legs, as if something had reached through the stairs and inflicted the injuries. A secret door from one room to another's wardrobe keeps us guessing as to the reason for this. Was it a lovers' secret entrance or something else? We'll probably never know.
One guest in 1997 was going up the front stairs, reached the first landing and felt what she reported as `something'. She looked up into the linen room above her and saw a man, dressed all in black, 1800s clothing. She felt no fear and proceeded to her room, sat on the bed and said later that she had felt calm and not at all threatened.
Many guests report that they have awoken in the middle of the night, feeling that an arm was draped across their shoulders. There was no-one else in the room.
At 4.30am one morning in August 2004 the publican, Dennis Corliss and a maintenance man were working in the bar when they heard heavy footsteps running down the front stairs and the stairs creaking. There was no-one there and no-one had been staying in the rooms at the time.
Chihuahuas belonging to members of the family have barked and attacked an invisible thing at times, with the hair on their backs standing up. Family cats have been sighted in the Hotel many months after they had died.
Several guests over the years have booked into a room, only to pack up and leave shortly after, having said that they had felt a "presence" in the room.
Then there's the matter of the lightning strikes which caused many thousands of dollars worth of damage - exactly seven years apart - in October 1997 and October 2004.
William Ashby built a hotel called the "Grand" at Slaughteryard Paddock at Horton. This hotel licence was transferred to the newly built Grand Hotel in 1892. Ashby's Grand Hotel was joined by a pharmacy, stores, a blacksmith shop and billiard saloon.
The year 1902 was a dry year in Queensland, and the Isis was not immune to the drought which ravaged the State. In that year a fire broke out near the Grand Hotel and destroyed the stores from the hotel down the main street to where Dimmeys store now stands.
When the stores were rebuilt, they were constructed in the distinctive architecture of the day and constructed of bricks.
The township of Childers was designed around the main street which had been merely a timbergetters' and teamsters' track.
This road follows the peak of a ridge, and water on one side of this road flows into the Isis River while on the other side of the road the water flows into the Gregory River. This street was originally called Main Street, and became a centre of controversy regarding its renaming. One group wanted it renamed "Howard Street" in honour of William Howard, but it was eventually renamed "Churchill Street" after the British Prime Minister.
Leopard trees were later planted along Churchill Street and this resulted in a shady main street which makes a memorable impression on visitors.