Missing person

Missing Irish backpacker found safe and well

Declan Whales has been touring Australia. Photo: Instagram.

Declan Whales has been touring Australia. Photo: Instagram.

An online campaign to find a missing Irishman has proved successful after the backpacker was found safe and well on a Queensland station.

Friends of 30-year-old Declan Whales raised the alarm when they had not heard from him in over three weeks.

Whales, who last made contact while in Bundaberg on June 9, was discovered working on a cattle station 140 kilometres from the town of Bedourie in Central West Queensland.

The Irish Australian Support Association of Queensland’s Paddy Farrelly, who coordinated a public awareness campaign to find the missing man, said, “Police have laid eyes on him, he’s fit and safe and healthy.”

Farrelly said Whales had not informed friends that he would be uncontactable due to being out of signal range.

An online campaign by the IASAQ, which was informed of Whales’ disappearance by the Consulate General of Ireland in Sydney, was viewed by almost 300,000 people.

The initiative ultimately helped locate Whales, with a fellow backpacker calling in with information.

Declan Whales was discovered on a cattle station. Photo: Instagram.

Declan Whales was discovered on a cattle station. Photo: Instagram.

Farrelly said young Irish-Australians had been particularly engaged with the campaign, making every effort to help find the Irishman.

Whales’ new Australian friends had been desperate to know his whereabouts.

One Bundaberg woman wrote on Facebook: “absolutely heart broken. We used to work together. I pray to God that he is safe”.

Whales calls South East England home but has been in Australia for several months.

He visited Sydney, Byron Bay, Brisbane, Noosa and other pitstops before making his way to the cattle station to complete rural work to obtain a Working Holiday visa.