HomeCommunityEnd of an era for the Federal Backpackers Hostel

End of an era for the Federal Backpackers Hostel

Federal Hotel with Bill Emerick Snr, Proprietor
Federal Hotel with Bill Emerick Snr, Proprietor. Photo credit: Picture Bundaberg

Demolition of the Federal Backpackers Hostel will be finalised in early October marking the end of an era for the historical CBD building.

Fire ripped through the hostel earlier this year leaving the building at imminent risk of collapse.

After an assessment by structural engineers the building was deemed dangerous and initial demolition was carried out to make the area safe.

The remainder of the demolition will be carried out in coming days, along with the demolition of the Spotted Dog Tavern which was also impacted by the fire.

The Federal Backpackers building, which was gutted by fire.

Originally the Federal Hotel, the building has featured prominently in the CBD landscape since 1889.

According to Nev Rackemann, in his compilation titled Bundaberg and District Buildings and Structures with Notes of Historical Significance, the hotel cost just $4800 to construct at the time.

“This hotel was erected to take advantage of the northern railway link from Maryborough,” Nev wrote.

“Early in the 1900s contractor N C Steffensen added a third story.

“When the hotel was placed on the market in August 1986, it was valued at $700,000.”

The fire is not the first disaster to strike the Federal Backpackers Hostel.

Bourbong St in 1929 after asphaltic surfacing laid by Council
Bourbong St in 1929 after asphaltic surfacing laid by Council. Photo credit: Picture Bundaberg

On April 7, 1921 the Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser reported the hotel lost its roof in the “severest cyclonic disturbance in the history of Bundaberg”.

“The rear portion of the Federal Hotel roof was blown off into Bourbon [sic] Street,” the article said.

“In front of the Federal Hotel the electric lighting wires were snapped by portion of the falling roof.”