Historic images of the Federal Hotel. Inset: WG Emerick. Photo: State Library.
Historic images of the Federal Hotel. Inset: WG Emerick. Photo: State Library.

Community tributes to stately building with a colourful past

THE community has paid tribute to the stricken Federal Backpackers building, which started its life in Bundaberg's early days as the Federal Hotel.

Locals say the street will look eerie in the absence of the once stately Federal Hotel building.

Perhaps one of the biggest losses to the Bundaberg streetscape will be the iconic circular beer sign topping the building.

Aged pamphlets from the early 1900s promote the hotel as being "right alongside the railway station" and saying "tourists, commercials and the travelling public will find everything of the best".

Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey gave his best wishes to all affected by the blaze.

"My thoughts are with the migrant workers and business owners who have been affected by this terrible event," he said.

"I would like to thank all emergency services and council staff involved for their great work."

MP David Batt also joined in thanking local services.

 

Historic images of the Federal Hotel.
Historic images of the Federal Hotel.

 

"Our Bundy community has been through many heartbreaking disasters and throughout each event, we rally together to support one another and do whatever needs to be done to move forward," he said.

"Now is another one of these times.

"The fire at the Spotted Dog Tavern and the Federal Backpackers overnight is truly devastating.

"Thankfully though, everyone is safe and all backpackers are in alternative accommodation and in contact with their consulates to organise replacement identification documents and items that were lost in the blaze."

Mr Batt praised those who had joined in helping.

"Already, many residents and organisations have reached out to see how they can help - thank you for your generosity," he said.

"When I spoke with the relevant authorities on scene early this morning, I was advised the recovery process is well and truly underway and if any donations are required, the community will be notified.

"I have also been advised that road closures may remain in place for an extended time until the structural integrity of the building is confirmed so please continue to seek alternative routes and expect delays when travelling through the area."

Mr Batt paid tribute to the grand old building.

"This historic building is an iconic part of our main street with so many stories to tell," he said.

 

FLASHBACK: Angela and Leo Sbrizzi and family celebrate Australia Day on a float called Rita on Bourbong Street near the old Federal Hotel. Photo: contributed
FLASHBACK: Angela and Leo Sbrizzi and family celebrate Australia Day on a float called Rita on Bourbong Street near the old Federal Hotel. Photo: contributed

 

"As part of the Federal Hotel, it was one of the early nightclubs in town called Foxys and the backpackers' section had less desirable tenants when the Rebels motorcycle gang occupied the ground floor as their clubhouse.

"I have always been proud to call Bundy home, but it's the spirit we see in the days, weeks and months after events like this that really cements my genuine love for who we are as a community."

Mr Batt also gave his considerations to the business owners.

"Our thoughts and prayers should remain with Pato, his Spotted Dog family and all others involved in this terrible incident and again, thank you to all emergency services and disaster recovery personnel who have been involved," he said.

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said it was a tragic sight.

"Sad to see two businesses lost to fire last night but thankfully no one was hurt," he said.

"A big thank you to our emergency services who have done a fantastic job."

Burnett MP Stephen Bennett thanked local services and said there were a number of ways locals could help.

- Contact Bundaberg Regional Council on 1300 883 699. Council has a disaster recovery team co-ordinating assistance.

- The Globe Hotel is collecting clothing and other items from Midday today

- Studio 202 hairdressers are collecting clothes and blankets should you wish to donate



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