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Childers, Robert Erskine, 1870-1922, Irish politician and author. Born into a Protestant family, he was a clerk in the House of Commons (1895-1910). Gradually becoming convinced of the need for Irish Home Rule, he resigned to work for it, engaging in gun-running for the Irish Volunteers in 1914. After serving in the British forces during World War I, he represented the Irish cause at Versailles and was a member of the Irish delegation that negotiated the treaty with Britain (1921). By this time he was opposed to anything other than republic status for Ireland and urged rejection of the treaty. He fought in the Irish Republican Army in the civil war that followed the creation of the Irish Free State, and was court-martialed and shot as a traitor in 1922. Childers wrote on Irish politics and on military matters, but his best-known work is Riddle of the Sands (1903, repr. 1971), a spy novel. His son, Erskine Hamilton Childers, 1905-74, became a naturalized Irish citizen and a member of the Dáil in 1938. He held a succession of cabinet posts in the Fianna Fáil governments from 1944 on and in 1973 was elected president of Ireland.

See A. Boyle The Riddle of Erskine Childers (1977).

Childers is a town in southern Queensland, Australia, situated at the junction of the Bruce and Isis Highways. The township lies 325 km north of the state capital Brisbane and 52 km south-west of Bundaberg. Childers is located within Bundaberg Regional Council Local Government Area. At the 2006 census, Childers had a population of 1,350. The township is set on a ridge overlooking fields of rich volcanic soil. Childers is renowned for its heritage character and is classified a National Trust town. The historic colonial buildings of the main street (Bruce Highway) are set amongst large, shady leopard trees. The sugar cane industry features prominently in Childers and has sustained the town over the years. Fruit and vegetable cropping is common on the lands around town. Tourism is a growing industry in Childers, with a number of the preserved historic buildings in town becoming tourist attractions.


Europeans first arrived in the area in the 1850s. Pastoralists established properties soon after to raise cattle on the fertile lands. Back then, sugar was (as it is now) the key crop grown in the Isis. The railway line to Childers opened in 1887 and was pivotal in the early development of the area. The town is reportedly named after Hugh Childers, British statesman, who was the Auditor-General of Victoria in the 1850s. The railway line closed in 1964.

Childers has seen a number of serious fires over the years. The 1902 fire destroyed much of the town centre. The town made international headlines in June 2000, when a fire destroyed the Palace Backpackers Hostel, claiming the lives of 15 tourists. The hostel reopened in 2004, and includes a memorial to those lost in the blaze. It now acts as an art gallery exhibiting works from local artists.

Childers acts as a major economic centre in the Wide Bay Region and is undergoing considerable growth.

Childers retains much of its historic significance, although many of the streets were redeveloped under a 'Streetscape' project that continues today.


The Isis Town and Country is the town's local newspaper, being distributed once weekly. Childers is also served by a monthly community newspaper, the Childers Chit Chat, as well as its own radio station, 88.0FM Red Dirt Radio. Childers remains one of the most picturesque small towns in Queensland.

Education in Childers consists of several primary schools, as well as the local high school, Isis District State High School .


Childers holds a Multicultural Festival once a year on the final weekend in July. It then hosts its agricultural show on the following weekend, the first weekend in August. The show has been running since 1903.



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