The opening of the Valour, Courage and Bravery Exhibition at the Royal Australian Mint – A display, honouring Australian Bravery Decorations and their recipients.
Australian Bravery Decorations recognise acts of bravery by members of the community. They selflessly put themselves in jeopardy to protect the lives or property of others. Bravery is a deliberate choice to go from a place of safety to danger or remain in a perilous position to provide help and on the 29th of August 2015, the Royal Australian Mint opened a public display to honour those who had received such decorations. The exhibition was the culmination of months of work by the Royal Australian Mint, in collaboration with the Ms Sharon Prendergast, the Director, Honours and Awards Secretariat of Government House Canberra, Mr Allan Sparkes CV,VA, President of the Cross of Valour Association of Australia and representatives of the Australian Bravery Association and Bravery Institute of Australia. Itis estimated that over 200,000 visitors to the Royal Australian Mint viewed the exhibition.
CROSS OF VALOUR
As the highest Australian Bravery Decoration, the honour of having their Cross of Valour on display was given to Mr Darrell James TREE CV (SA). Mr Tree was the first Australian to be awarded the Cross of Valour.
On 14 August 1988 Mr Tree, accompanied by his nephew, went to assist a crane-operator in removing wooden telephone poles along the edge of the road running beside his property near Talia. The driver had his 3 year old son on the crane with him. When Mr Tree went to put a chain around a pole he saw sparks jumping from the crane’s tyres and that the jib of the crane was in contact with the powerline. The driver jumped clear and went to remove his son, who at that time was in a boxed section and not coining Into contact with electricity. Sparks were arcing beneath the crane to the ground and twice Mr Tree stopped the driver from going to the truck. He warned him not to touch the boy as he knew that the crane was alive with electricity and that he would be electrocuted. He went to get a rope and turning round he realised that the driver must have attempted to rescue his son, as he had electricity arcing through his body and was being electrocuted. Mr Tree pushed him clear and fell to the ground unconscious having himseIf been electrocuted.
Regaining consciousness Mr Tree saw the boy standing between the tyre and the mudguard with electricity entering his head near his right ear, passing through his body and also entering near his Left elbow. Knowing that the boy was about to be fatally electrocuted he pulled him clear and again lost consciousness having been electrocuted once more. When he regained consciousness on the second occasion he found that neither the driver nor his son was breathing. On his own, as he had sent his nephew for the ambulance, he gave mouth to mouth resuscitation to them both. The boy responded, but in spite of Mr Tree ' s further attempts to give the father cardiopulmonary resuscitation, he died before medical assistance arrived. Mr Tree comforted the boy and drove him to meet the ambulance. He then followed the ambulance to the hospital at Elleston and was later flown to Adelaide for treatment. In saving the boy's life Mr Tree had 19 stitches inserted in his left arm, 37 stitches to his back, 5 stitches on his right foot and 5 stitches on his left foot. One toe on his left foot was amputated and he received burns to his back.
STAR OF COURAGE
As the second highest Australian Bravery Decoration, The honour of having their Star of Courage was given to Mrs Joanne LUCAS SC ES (WA)
On the morning of 10 May 2008, Mrs Lucas rescued a man who had been attacked by a shark at Middleton Beach, Albany, Western Australia.
Mrs Lucas was setting up equipment to conduct Saturday voluntary surf boat training as a member of the Albany Surf Club when she was alerted to a person in trouble in the ocean. She ran to the water’s edge and discovered that a swimmer had been attacked by a shark. Unable to find anyone to help her, and conscious that the shark was continuing to circle the victim, Mrs Lucas immediately swam out towards the man. The man was in a critical state, weakened by significant blood loss, and barely able to tread water or swim. Keeping sight of the shark’s dorsal fin, Mrs Lucas grabbed hold of the man, keeping herself and him afloat as she faced the 80 metre swim back to shore. She watched intently as the shark now manoeuvred around some nearby swimmers who were thrashing about frantically to scare it away from the scene. Mrs Lucas faced a dangerous predicament, fearful that the splashing water would re-ignite the shark’s agitation, prompting it to resume its attack on the victim or target her and the other swimmers. Nevertheless, she maintained her composure and concentrated on the helpless victim, courageously swimming him back towards the beach. Despite the extraordinary demands of the ordeal, and her state of exhaustion, Mrs Lucas continued to reassure the victim and once back on land, others were on hand to provide first aid until ambulance officers arrived at the scene.
As the third highest Australian Bravery Decoration, The honour of having their Bravery Medal on display was given to Mr Shane James ALLEN (ACT)
On the afternoon of 17 September 2013, Mr Shane Allen rescued a boy from a flooded stormwater drain in Tuggeranong, Australian Capital Territory.
Mr Allen was cycling along a bike path parallel to a stormwater drain between Isabella Plains and Richardson when he heard screams. A 13 year old boy was being swept along the drain, which was flooded with fast running water after extensive rain. Mr Allen jumped off his bike, climbed over a fence and chased the boy. After trying unsuccessfully to use his backpack to reach the boy, he shouted to him to grab a ladder on the side of the drain. The boy was however swept past several ladders without being able to grab hold of any. Mr Allen sprinted some 200 metres ahead to another ladder and climbed down until he was waist deep in the water. He hooked one arm around the ladder and as the boy rushed toward him, he grabbed his wrist and swung him to the edge of the drain. He then assisted the boy out of the water and stayed with him until the arrival of paramedics.
COMMENDATION FOR BRAVE CONDUCT
As the fourth highest Australian Bravery Decoration, The honour of having their Commendation for Brave Conduct on display was given to Ms Mandy MILES (NSW)
On the morning of 6 July 1991, Ms Miles rescued two people from a house fire in Riverstone, New South Wales.
Ms Miles was driving along Railway Terrace towards Riverstone when she saw smoke coming from the roof of a house. Ms Miles stopped her car and ran to the house. On reaching the house she saw an elderly lady at the front door who opened the screen door and told Ms Miles that her husband and other members of her family were still in the house. Ms Miles escorted the lady outside before entering the burning building to look for others still inside. Thick smoke forced her to her hands and knees. After negotiating entry of the burning house, she realised that the old lady had followed her back into the house. Ms Miles was compelled to escort the old lady out of the house before entering the house a second time. She crawled into a bedroom and located a man who was lying on the floor with parts of his clothing alight. Ms Miles put out the fire on the man’s clothing, but the thick smoke in the room made breathing difficult and she was forced to leave the building. Once outside Ms Miles hailed a passing car and asked that the police and fire brigade be called to the scene.
GROUP BRAVERY CITATION
The honour of having their Group Bravery Citation on display was given to Mr Peter Hayes ATKINSON, Mr Brenton Anthony BAILEY, Mr Eddin BASIC, and Miss Rebecca Kate TRINNICK of Victoria
On the evening of 14 October 2012, four people attempted to rescue a man who was driving a Ford utility along the Henty Highway at Milltown when the vehicle left the road and crashed into a tree.
The four motorists stopped and made their way to the vehicle. A small fire in the engine bay was developing and attempts were made to put it out. Despite using fire extinguishers, the flames and smoke continued to intensify. The group then used debris and some clothing to beat out the flames, but to no avail. As the flames began to consume the vehicle they pulled pieces from the door and tried to prise it open but they were unable to free the driver. A nurse in the group checked the trapped man on several occasions initially finding a faint pulse but, on subsequent checks, it appeared to have stopped. When they were overcome by the choking smoke, and realised they were unable to get the man out of the vehicle, the group reluctantly retreated. Immediately after, the LPG fuel tank exploded. Sadly, the driver perished in the fire.
Other bravery citations for also posted on the online version
CROSS OF VALOUR
Mr Victor Alan BOSCOE CV of Queensland
On the morning of 13 September 1993 in the northern suburbs of Brisbane Mr Boscoe witnessed an armed hold-up and repeatedly placed his life in danger by pursuing two armed men fleeing from the scene with the proceeds of the robbery.
Although he had heard a shot fired, Mr Boscoe followed the offenders to the car park and identified their 'getaway' vehicle. He pursued the vehicle in his own car through difficult traffic conditions and maintained visual contact.The offenders changed cars, observing Mr Boscoe in the process. Mr Boscoe continued his pursuit ·at high speed. Unable to elude their pursuer, the offenders stopped their car and threatened Mr Boscoe with a shotgun and a handgun. Mr Boscoe immediately rammed their car. Several shots were fired at him. Despite his wounds from the shotgun and glass and metal fragments Mr Boscoe was able to manoeuvre his vehicle free and to continue his pursuit of the offenders, through another· change of vehicle, until forced to stop because of the damage caused to his car by the act of ramming. Mr Boscoe suffered injuries to his shoulder, arm and hand. As a result ·of his courageous efforts and presence of mind Mr Boscoe was able to provide Police with a useful description of the armed robbers, which assisted in the subsequent conviction of the principal offender.
By his actions Mr Boscoe displayed most conspicuous courage.
Mr Allan Sparkes, CV(NSW)
About mid-morning on 3 May 1996, Mr Sparkes rescued a boy trapped in a flooded underground storm water drain following record rainfalls at Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.
Mr Sparkes and a police colleague responded to an urgent call for assistance to rescue a boy trapped in an enclosed storm water drain. From the entrance of the drain, an object, believed to be the missing child, could be seen about 80-100 metres away. Mr Sparkes entered the drain, tied to a rope, and was rapidly washed 20 metres along it by the ferocity of the current before realising that the rope was inadequate. With a more substantial line, he re-entered the drain even though breathing space in the pipe had been reduced by the rising flood waters. The floodwaters again washed him some 80 metres downstream before he could establish that the object was only debris. The drain was now almost totally flooded, leaving only a small air space, and Mr Sparkes was in danger of drowning as frantic attempts were made by his colleague and others to haul him back to the surface against the flow. But contrary to a growing belief that the child had little or no chance of survival, screams were heard further downstream from a pipe under a section of the Pacific Highway at the junction of six drains. Convinced that the child would drown and had to be rescued by the fastest means possible, Mr Sparkes and his colleague descended into the flooded pipe through a manhole. Once in the drain, they found themselves in total darkness, without a life line, torch or emergency air supply. As it was impossible to call to the child above the roar of the floodwater, the rescuers separately searched the maze of water pipes. After progressing deeper into the drainage system, Mr Sparkes could hear the desperate screams more clearly and believed he had located the boy’s position. It was agreed that his colleague would search at ground level for another manhole closer to the child to facilitate a faster rescue. An ambulance officer then descended into the drains and remained in the flooded junction area to assist Mr Sparkes. Mr Sparkes secured a rope to himself and with the aid of a torch crawled back up the narrow flooded drain. Although already exhausted by his ordeal, Mr Sparkes dragged himself against the flow, finally, making contact with the child and managing to calm him. At this stage Mr Sparkes was 30 metres from the manhole entry and 3 metres underground. Mr Sparkes managed to coax the boy into letting go of debris, and allow himself to be washed down the drain to where Mr Sparkes could grab and secure him. Mr Sparkes then placed the boy in front of himself and they were both washed down the pipe to the waiting ambulance officer. Mr Sparkes suffered lacerations and abrasions to his back and shoulder and cuts to his fingers and feet from forcing his way against the flow. Throughout the rescue Mr Sparkes was aware that he was in grave danger of losing his life as he believed that the whole of the storm water system was only minutes away from again being totally engulfed with floodwater.
Senior Constable Timothy Ian BRITTEN(WA)
At approximately 11:30pm on 12 October 2002, following a terrorist bombing in Bali, Constable Timothy Britten placed his life in danger by repeatedly entering the burning Sari Club to rescue a seriously injured woman and to search for survivors.
Constable Britten, a West Australian police officer on secondment to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in East Timor, was in Bali on leave. As he walked to his hotel, he heard an explosion that he recognised as a bomb blast. He immediately ran approximately 800 metres toward the Sari Club, through narrow streets blocked by hundreds of panicking people fleeing the site. The Sari Club was reduced to a burning shell and large numbers of burned and seriously injured people were lying on the roadway and footpath. On being told that a woman was trapped in the building, Constable Britten ran into the burning Club and made his way through the debris as gas cylinders exploded all around him. He managed to locate the severely injured woman, but was forced back by thick smoke and intense heat. He returned to the street and sought help from a man, Mr Richard Joyes, who was there searching for his friends. Constable Britten, wearing only a light singlet top, shorts and thongs, ran back into the building with Mr Joyes to try to rescue the woman, but, having no protective clothing, was forced back by the intensity of the flames. Outside the Club, they were doused in bottled water and together ran back into the building to rescue the woman. On this attempt, Constable Britten and Mr Joyes managed to reach the woman, who was still conscious but pinned down by rubble and a piece of iron. Throughout this time and later in searching the building for other survivors, Constable Britten was aware that he was in danger of being severely injured at least and, possibly, of losing his life, as he believed that another major explosion had been planned to disrupt rescue efforts and kill emergency workers. Despite this constant fear and burns to his arm, Constable Britten persisted in the rescue until the woman was prised free and could be pulled from the wreckage. Constable Britten and Mr Joyes carried her out of the Club and placed her on a truck to be taken to hospital. They then both went back into the burning building to look for more survivors, but could see only dead bodies. Although Constable Britten wanted to continue entering the building to retrieve the bodies of victims, he was prevented by the growing intensity of the fire and further gas explosions.
Over the next hour, Constable Britten and Mr Joyes carried the badly wounded from the street outside the Club to waiting trucks. At one stage, Constable Britten and Mr Joyes were stopped at gunpoint by an Indonesian police officer. It was only when Constable Britten produced his police identification that he and Mr Joyes were allowed to continue their rescue efforts. Constable Britten remained at the site helping Indonesian police and security guards, and only when he felt assured that emergency workers had the Sari Club site secured did he return to his hotel. On that night, Constable Britten selflessly placed himself in constant danger, sustaining burns to his arm, deep cuts and abrasions to his feet from explosion debris, potential injury from gas cylinder explosions, and exposure to deadly infection from blood-borne diseases.
Mr Richard Joyes, CV
At approximately 11:30pm on 12 October 2002, following a terrorist bombing in Bali, Mr Richard Joyes risked his life by repeatedly entering the burning Sari Club to rescue a seriously injured woman and to search for survivors.
Mr Joyes was unwell and resting in his hotel room in Bali when he heard a loud explosion, which shattered the window of his room covering him in shards of glass. Knowing that several friends were at the Sari Club, Mr Joyes went to investigate the explosion and find his friends. On his way to the Club, Mr Joyes heard that the explosion had been caused by a large bomb and was told by many of the hundreds of people running away from the site that another bomb was going to be detonated at any time. Despite this, Mr Joyes continued to make his way to the site of the burning shell of the Sari Club where he found large numbers of burned and seriously injured people lying on the footpath and roadway. Mr Joyes was asked by Constable Timothy Britten to help him rescue a woman trapped inside the Club. Despite learning that Constable Britten had already attempted to rescue the woman, but was forced back by thick smoke and intense heat, Mr Joyes did not hesitate to assist. Wearing only a tee-shirt, shorts and running shoes, Mr Joyes ran into the building with Constable Britten to try to rescue the woman, but, having no protective clothing, was unable to reach her because of the intensity of the flames. Outside the Club, they were doused in bottled water and together ran back into the burning building to rescue the woman. On this attempt, Mr Joyes and Constable Britten managed to reach the woman, who was pinned down by rubble and a piece of iron, but was still conscious. Mr Joyes and Constable Britten persisted in the rescue until the woman could be prised free and pulled from the rubble. They carried her out of the Club and onto a truck to be taken to hospital. Despite gas cylinders exploding all around them Mr Joyes and Constable Britten continued to enter the burning building to look for more survivors, but could see only dead bodies. Over the next hour, Mr Joyes and Constable Britten carried the badly wounded from the street outside the Club to trucks parked 100 metres away. Mr Joyes spoke to each person in a comforting way and brought calm to the last moments of many. At one stage, Mr Joyes and Constable Britten were stopped at gunpoint by an Indonesian police officer. It was only when Constable Britten produced his police identification that he and Mr Joyes were allowed to continue their rescue efforts. When he had done all he could, Mr Joyes left the Sari Club to look elsewhere for his missing friends. Throughout, Mr Joyes was aware that he was in grave danger of being severely injured at least and, possibly, of losing his life, as he believed that another major explosion would occur to disrupt rescue efforts and to kill emergency workers. On that night he risked personal injury many times, all whilst physically unwell, holding grave concerns for the safety of his life-long friends and in constant fear of another explosion.
By his actions, Mr Joyes displayed most conspicuous courage.
STAR OF COURAGE
Senior Constable Leah Helene RUDDER SC (NSW)
In the early morning of 10 April 2003, Senior Constable Rudder rescued an unconscious man from a burning house at Tarro, New South Wales.
At around midnight, Senior Constable Rudder was driving into her driveway after work when she heard breaking glass and yelling coming from a neighbouring house. On investigation she found a house on fire, with a female trying to put it out with a garden hose. The woman informed Senior Constable Rudder that she had called emergency services. By this stage the fire had engulfed the front section of the house. Concerned for the safety of any occupants, Senior Constable Rudder looked through a partially broken window to determine whether anyone was inside. Visibility was poor, so she used a steel bucket she found at the rear of the house to break more of the window. She was still unable to see inside and the window was too high for her to gain access, so she ran to the rear of the house and tried the back door. It was locked so she kicked the wooden door repeatedly until she had made a hole to crawl through. She was still unable to gain access, however, due to intense heat and smoke. She returned to her vehicle, called for assistance and grabbed a torch. Senior Constable Rudder used the torch to smash a window, then looked inside to find a man lying on the floor, wedged between the foot of a bed and the wall. She returned to her car to advise colleagues who had now arrived, that she was going inside to rescue the man. One of her colleagues went with her and they both entered the house through the hole in the rear door. They tried to drag the man from the house but he remained wedged and they were forced to retreat when they were overcome by the intense heat and thick smoke. After getting some fresh air, they re-entered the house and, despite the fire gaining in intensity, returned to the bedroom. As they dragged the man to the door of the bedroom, the walls and ceiling began to collapse and both officers were showered with sparks and debris. The man became jammed in the doorway, and while Senior Constable Rudder tried to free him, her colleague was forced to retreat due to smoke inhalation. While in great danger of being overcome by smoke herself, Senior Constable Rudder persisted by continuing to pull the unconscious man by his feet down the hallway. A colleague then assisted her in removing the man from the burning house to safety.
By her actions, Senior Constable Rudder displayed conspicuous courage.
STAR OF COURAGE
Mr Charles ZERAFA SC (Tasmania)
On the morning of 9 May 2006, Mr Zerafa assisted a wounded police officer and confronted an armed offender at Mangalore, Tasmania.
Mr Zerafa was travelling along the Midland Highway at Mangalore, Tasmania, with a friend when he came upon a police vehicle and another vehicle stopped by the side of the road. Two other drivers had stopped by the vehicle and were attempting to assist a police officer, who had been shot and was lying on the ground. One of the men notified police on the police radio of the situation, and informed Mr Zerafa and his friend that a man was armed with a gun. As the two men moved away, Mr Zerafa approached the wounded officer and checked for a response. Despite the considerable risk to his own safety, he then yelled to the armed offender and tried to negotiate with him, but the man responded by pointing a gun directly at him. Mr Zerafa moved away as the offender knelt down beside the wounded police officer. The offender then went to back to his vehicle and appeared to be reloading his weapon, which allowed Mr Zerafa the opportunity to return to the police officer. While continually trying to negotiate with the gunman Mr Zerafa inched closer to him, however the offender responded by pointing the gun at him again. Mr Zerafa continued negotiating until the police arrived and arrested the man
By his actions, Mr Zerafa displayed conspicuous courage.
Mr Clayton Trevor GIDDINGS SC (NSW)
In the early morning of 13 February 2007, Mr Clayton Giddings helped rescue a man from a burning vehicle in Mudgeeraba. The car had left the road, rolled several times down an embankment and come to rest upside down, catching alight immediately. Mr Giddings was one of several motorists who arrived at the scene to find the driver of the vehicle semi-conscious and held by his seatbelt. Mr Giddings crawled inside the vehicle through a rear window and tugged at the driver’s shirt. When the driver’s hair and clothing caught alight, he used some clothing to smother the flames on the man and his seat. At one point, Mr Giddings had to back out of the vehicle because of the intensity of the fire. After another man kicked in a window and caused the flames to retreat slightly, Mr Giddings re-entered the vehicle. He pushed the driver upwards and managed to undo his seatbelt, then worked with two others to pull the driver out and lift him to safety shortly before the vehicle exploded. Mr Giddings was subsequently treated for burns to his arms.
By his actions, Mr Giddings displayed conspicuous courage.
STAR OF COURAGE
Mrs Christiana Jane KING SC (Qld)
On the afternoon of 10 September 2013, Mrs Christiana King was leading an Australian trekking party at Banis Donki (Black Cat Track) at Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea, when the party of twenty eight were attacked at their camp site by several armed men.
The attackers entered the camp dressed in dark clothing and balaclavas and carrying a shotgun and machetes. They murdered two members of the group and seriously injured others, with another of the trekkers later dying from their injuries. When the attackers demanded that the group leader identify themselves, Mrs King, without regard for her personal safety, immediately stepped forward. She began to negotiate with the attackers, offering to show them where her money was located, and pleading with them to stop their brutal assault and leave the camp. Once the attackers had ransacked her tent and belongings, one of them struck her on the side of the head with a machete and knocked her to the ground. The attackers then proceeded to systematically rob the camp site while they continued to assault the group. Once the attackers had fled, Mrs King organised first aid for the injured and called for medical assistance and evacuation. For more than five hours, mostly in darkness, she led those trekkers still able to walk along a barely discernible track to meet the rescue parties. Throughout the journey, Mrs King voluntarily took the most vulnerable position, either at the lead or the rear of the group, during long sections of the trek, knowing that another attack could take place at any time.
By her actions, Mrs King displayed conspicuous courage.
Master Calyn John HOAD BM (Qld)
On the afternoon of 31 August 2013, Calyn Hoad, aged 7 years, rescued his brother from an oncoming vehicle at Springwood, Queensland.
Calyn’s mother was attending to his sister in the ladies washroom after her dance class whilst he and his younger brother waited for them. When his mother was distracted, his brother ran out of the dance studio building and through the carpark. Calyn closely followed the boy who proceeded to run into traffic on busy Watland Street. Calyn immediately grabbed his brother's arm and pushed him back onto the footpath and out of the way of oncoming traffic. At this point a 4WD, which was unable to stop in such a short distance, hit Calyn causing severe injury.
By his actions, Master Calyn Hoad displayed considerable bravery.
Ms Jicenta-Leigh FULLERTON BM (SA)
In the late evening of 5 December 2012, Ms Jicinta-Leigh Fullerton went to the assistance of a teenage girl who had been stabbed at Quorn, South Australia.
Ms Fullerton was driving along Groves Road at Quorn when she came upon a State Emergency Services vehicle. The vehicle was parked on the side of the road about a hundred metres from her home and a young man, who she knew, was standing next to the vehicle. Ms Fullerton pulled over to ask him what he was doing there when she saw a young woman in the front seat who had been seriously injured. Ms Fullerton challenged the man to explain what he had done. Without concern for her own safety, she bravely and selflessly got out of her vehicle and went to assist the woman. She opened the door, noticed blood in the vehicle, and shook the semi-conscious woman. Ms Fullerton again questioned the man and demanded he immediately take the injured woman to hospital. As she turned to further assist the young woman, the man grabbed hold of a hatchet and hit her in the head. She fell to the ground with the offender then repeatedly striking her. Sadly, Ms Fullerton died at the scene.
By her actions, Ms Fullerton displayed considerable bravery.
Mr Alan Kennedy TURKINGTON BM (Qld)
On the evening of 16 March 2011, Mr Alan Turkington went to the assistance of the occupants of a single vehicle accident on Springbrook Road, Mudgeeraba, Queensland.
Mr Turkington was walking along the footpath when he witnessed a single vehicle accident. A black sedan collided with a guard rail, rotated anti clockwise, and came to rest partially blocking the roadway. Damage sustained to the vehicle caused its lights to fail and made it difficult for oncoming traffic to see the accident due to the time of day and the colour of the car. Mr Turkington immediately went to assist the driver and two children, aged five and six years. He lifted the children to safety and as he was providing assistance to the driver, another sedan, the driver of which had not seen the damaged vehicle, braked suddenly and collided with the rear passenger side of the stationary sedan. The damaged car propelled forward, hitting both its driver and Mr Turkington, who was knocked to the ground, causing severe head, chest and abdominal injuries. Sadly, two days after the accident Mr Turkington passed away from his injuries.
By his actions, Mr Turkington displayed considerable bravery.
Ms Ruth Lynden SHERIDAN BM (Vic)
On the evening of 20 November 2011, Ms Ruth Sheridan assisted two persons trapped in a burning vehicle following a crash in Mount Pleasant, Victoria.
The vehicle had slammed roof first into a power pole. Two rear seat passengers were thrown clear but the driver and a front seat passenger were trapped inside the twisted and burning wreckage. Ms Sheridan, who had been driving by the scene, wet a cardigan and began to beat out the flames, instructing other bystanders to follow suit. Despite the proximity of power lines, she entered the burning vehicle through a rear window and tried to calm the injured and panicked occupants. She assisted them to protect their faces against the smoke. When emergency services arrived, they were able to extinguish the fire and extricate the occupants.
By her actions, Ms Sheridan displayed considerable bravery.
Mrs Leanne Gayle BARBER BM (NSW)
On the morning of 5 August 2012, Mrs Leanne Barber attempted to rescue a man who was being attacked by dogs at Broken Hill, New South Wales.
Mrs Barber was alerted to screams coming from outside her property and, on investigating, she saw three medium sized dogs savagely attacking a man who was lying on the ground. The dogs had inflicted major bite wounds to his limbs and puncture wounds all over his body. Mrs Barber immediately moved forward and attempted to stop the attack, but the frenzied dogs then mauled her and caused extensive penetrating injuries to her body. When the police arrived the dogs confronted them before they were captured a few hours later. Following surgery Mrs Barber spent four days in hospital
COMMENDATION FOR BRAVE CONDUCT
Mr Thomas Peter McPEAKE (SA)
In the early evening of 27 July 2012, Mr Thomas McPeake assisted in the rescue of a woman who was trapped in floodwaters at Finniss, South Australia.
As night approached, Mr McPeake responded with colleagues from the Goolwa Country Fire Service to the Finniss River following a report that a woman had attempted to drive across a flooded ford and was trapped. After checking several crossings in the area, Mr McPeake and his colleagues heard a woman’s screams. Using torchlight the group made their way through uneven terrain and chest deep water to reach higher ground. From there they spotted the woman desperately clinging onto a tree branch in the main river channel. Mr McPeake volunteered to enter the torrent and, once a rope had been tied around him, he entered the water upstream and used the current to reach her. Mr McPeake reassured the woman and when a second rope was thrown to him, he tied it around her. They were then pulled back to safety by his colleagues.
For his actions, Mr McPeake is commended for brave conduct.
Mrs Sharon Maree VAUGHAN
On the afternoon of 16 November 2012, Mrs Sharon Vaughan rescued her father-in-law who was being attacked by a steer at Wolvi, Queensland.
Mrs Vaughan and her father-in-law were moving cattle through a gate between two paddocks when a steer struck the elderly man and flung him into the air. As the steer continued to attack the man, Mrs Vaughan hit and kicked it in an attempt to distract it. When this was unsuccessful, she drove a ute into the steer and used the bull bars to force it away. She then assisted the man into the vehicle and attempted to exit the paddock but saw that the gate was closed and blocked by the steer. Mrs Vaughan exited the vehicle and walked around the steer and opened the gate. When the steer remained in front of the opened gate Mrs Vaughan drove the vehicle into the steer and pushed it out of the way.
For her actions, Mrs Vaughan is commended for brave conduct.
Miss Kimberley Helene KERMODE (Queensland)
On the afternoon of 18 January 2014, Ms Kimberley Kermode rescued several people who were caught in a rip at The Spit, Main Beach in Surfer’s Paradise, Queensland.
Ms Kermode was walking along the ocean side of The Spit at Main Beach in Surfer's Paradise when four people became caught in a strong rip current. An older couple and two teenage boys attracted her attention and indicated that a group of people were in distress offshore, with waves breaking over them. Ms Kermode immediately dialled 000 but was unable to reach the lifeguard service. Knowing that assistance was not on the way, without hesitation she made her way out to the back of the waves and signalled for the group to swim parallel to the beach towards her. One by one those in the water managed to do this as Ms Kermode struggled to maintain her footing due to large waves crashing over her. Ms Kermode carried the exhausted first swimmer towards the shore and called for the two teenage boys to assist. She returned twice for two more of the swimmers, all of whom were exhausted and with one losing consciousness. She placed them in the recovery position on the sand. The fourth swimmer managed to make it to shore under her own steam. All the swimmers were taken to hospital for observation.
Mr Benjamin Alan NELSON
On the morning of 28 October 2009, Mr Benjamin Nelson attempted to assist UN personnel following an attack by Taliban militants in Kabul, Afghanistan.
In an attempt to disrupt the Afghan presidential elections, Taliban suicide bombers stormed the Bakhar Guesthouse at Kabul, Afghanistan. Over a two-hour battle, twelve people were killed including six United Nations (UN) employees, before the insurgents detonated suicide vests. Mr Nelson, a UN paramedic, together with another colleague, arrived at the site soon after the attack commenced. They were initially forced to take cover from gunfire and were then held at gunpoint by a nervous Afghan soldier until they proved they were unarmed. After they entered the guesthouse, amid the mayhem as shots continued to be fired, Mr Nelson and his colleague secured, protected and treated with dignity the deceased bodies of their UN colleagues until the police arrived and the violent attack ceased. In the aftermath of the attack, Mr Nelson and his colleague discovered that another colleague's body had been taken to a military hospital. They located the victim and drove the body through the city in an unprotected vehicle to a more suitable and secure facility.
For his actions, Mr Nelson is commended for brave conduct.
GROUP BRAVERY CITATION
Mr Steven James CREEVEY
Mr Steven Bruce FLEMING
Mr Allen PENMAN
On 27 January 2013, members of the Brisbane Australian Volunteer Coastguard based at Manly, responded to a distress call from the master of a yacht in Waterloon Bay west of King Island.
The yacht was moored about 400 metres west of King Island and was experiencing extremely foul weather whilst being swamped by large waves. The four coastguard crew members sailed their 10 metre rescue catamaran through 2.5 metre waves, and a 45 knot wind, to reach the yacht. On locating the yacht the crew members saw that it was in a perilous state, taking on water and sinking. Despite the treacherous conditions the crew members managed to retrieve the master of the stricken yacht and return safely to the Manly Coastguard base.
Mr Athol George DORRINGTON
Mr Ian Douglas GILL
Senior Constable Bradley Paul JACKSON
Mr David John O'BRIEN
of New South Wales
On 31 March 2009, a team of Local State Emergency Service personnel assisted by a police officer rescued a woman from a vehicle trapped in floodwaters near Bonville in New South Wales.
Severe flash flooding occurred in the Coffs Harbour region following a major storm event. A woman driving a 4WD was involved in a collision which resulted in her vehicle leaving the road and plunging into a swollen creek. On locating the vehicle, two of the SES team immediately donned personal floatation devices, fashioned temporary harnesses from tape, and attached themselves to a fifty metre rope which was held by a haul team on the bank of the creek. They entered the swift flowing water and when they approached the vehicle, a surge of water knocked the men off their feet. They became submerged and had to be pulled back to the creek bank. One team member stood down due to exhaustion and was quickly replaced by another of the group who fitted himself to the safety line. The two men entered the water but were pushed away from the vehicle by the swift flowing current. Further attempts were made, and finally one of the men was able to reach the vehicle and extract the frantic driver by pulling her out of the vehicle's window. The haul team then pulled the two men and the female driver back to safety.
GROUP BRAVERY CITATION
Mr Damon Scott BELL
Mr Blake Edward COLE
On 23 January 2013, two men rescued two others who were drowning at Marcoola Beach, Queensland.
Arriving at the beach to fish, the two men, who were friends and co-workers, quickly realised a group of six men, all international tourists, were struggling in the rough surf. The two friends immediately entered the water to help. One of the friends swam to the man who was nearest to the shore and brought him safely back in. The other friend swam to the man who was furthest from shore, approximately 100 metres away. The man in difficulty was much larger than the rescuer, who attempted for 20 minutes to swim the man back to shore in large surf. The rescuer’s friend returned to the water to assist and, together, they brought the semi-conscious man safely back to shore where he was treated by paramedics. An unknown surfer helped two other men return safely to shore, while the remaining two men in the group were able to make their own way back.
For their actions, the recipients are recognised by the award of the Group Bravery Citation.
Mr Brian Ugo DELL’AGOSTINO
Mrs Lynette Amy GILBERT
of Western Australia
On the afternoon of 11 December 2012, a prime mover with two semi-trailers attached crashed into the rear of a smaller truck on the Old Coast Road at Myalup.
The prime mover was quickly engulfed in flames and the driver was unable to be rescued. Mrs Gilbert called 000 then checked the driver who was trapped in the smaller truck. She saw he was initially unconscious and placed a space blanket on him. Despite the intense heat and concerns that the fire was about to engulf the truck, she and Mr Dell’Agostino used shovels to dig a firebreak between the two vehicles. The fire threat eased and Mr Dell’Agostino continued to monitor it as Mrs Gilbert returned to the driver to further assist in his rescue. When the police and emergency service authorities arrived, the fire was extinguished and the injured driver was removed from the cabin of his truck.
For their actions, the recipients are recognised by the award of the Group Bravery Citation.
GROUP BRAVERY CITATION
Mr Ian James DUNELL
Mrs Victoria Lee DUNELL ASM
Mr Bartholomew WUNDERLICH
In the afternoon of 7 February 2009, members of the Kinglake Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) were deployed in order to provide medical assistance during the devastating bushfires in Kinglake.
The group responded to reports of an overturned fire truck engulfed by fire in Kinglake West. As they neared the location of the truck, they were beaten back by fireballs and an intensifying blaze. They identified an alternate route along a narrow road and drove approximately two kilometres through fire and thick smoke to join a fire crew. The group was advised that the fire truck and its passengers were safe. Later in the evening, despite the bushfire directly threatening their own properties, the group responded to a call from a mother with two children escaping their burning house. As they neared the house, they recognised that the fire was impassable and established communications with other emergency workers to provide assistance to the family, before being forced to retreat themselves.
For their actions, the recipients are recognised by the award of the Group Citation for Bravery.