Queensland hostel closes doors on Irish backpackers
by Lorna Nolan
A smashed microwave in the communal kitchen at Main Street Backpackers, in Proserpine. (Pic: Supplied)
An Irish publican has said he is no longer willing to take Irish
backpackers at his Queensland hostel due to a spate of drunken and
disorderly behaviour in recent years.
Dublin-born Thomas Dunne claims several incidents have caused chaos
for longstanding members of the Irish community in the locality.
He said he has had to continuously deal with property damage caused
specifically by the Irish contingent of guests at his hostel, Main
Mr Dunne, his wife Audrey, and their three children, have been
running their bar O’Duinns and adjoining backpackers hostel since 2006.
The backpacker accommodation is primarily used from May to November.
During this time backpackers’ work locally on farms for up to 20 weeks to gain a second working holiday visa.
He said he has had no issues at his bar, O’Duinn’s, but has had to
force several Irish guests to leave the adjoining hostel due to their
“Over the last three years the Irish backpacker has taken over the mantle [in behaviour] so we take less each year,” he told the Irish Echo.
“The Irish are the only ones to have caused deliberate damage.
“Out of the 150-plus backpackers we had last year, only nine were Irish and only four stayed for the season.
“This year we have had eight Irish backpackers. It’s only the start
of the season and already six have been thrown out, one checked out and
one girl remains, who may I add, is no trouble.
“Two of the Irish lads who were kicked out at 2am, we had them
arrested and charged for damage done to our accommodation,” he said.
The Irish Echo understands that two Irishmen will face Proserpine magistrates court on Monday, on property damage charges.
“A few years ago we had a problem with rule breaking at 2am we told a
few people that they would have to check out next morning at 10am.
“An Irish girl when leaving decided to stuff some paper under the verandah and set it alight,” he explained.
The pub handyman extinguished the fire just as the fire brigade arrived.
Mr Dunne first arrived in Australia in 1987 and spent time working in
Sydney and New South Wales Central Coast before moving to Queensland
with his family.
Mr Dunne claims he and other Irish dwellers are now facing a backlash
as a result of this unruly behaviour from Irish backpackers.
“It’s the last straw we will not be taking any more.
“What can I say, we can’t tar everyone with the same brush, but yes
we have had enough of the Irish backpackers who stay at our
“It’s sad really because the other nationalities say the same about them at the other hostels.
“It reflects badly on us as we have to live up here,” he concluded.
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