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.