Several Hunter heroes have been honoured with Australian Bravery Decorations. The Governor-General of Australia, his excellency the honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove paid tribute to the heroes on Wednesday.
“On behalf of all Australians, I pay tribute to today's bravery list recipients.
“They are a source of courage, support and inspiration.”
Included on the honours list were:
The late Stephen Charles Dick, Garden Suburbs, Commendation of Brave Conduct
For acts of bravery considered worthy of recognition.
On the afternoon of April 12, 2016, Mr Dick went to the rescue his son who became caught in a rip at Boomerang Beach, New South Wales. Mr Dick was visiting Boomerang Beach with his wife and children. As he was swimming with his 13 year old son, the boy became caught in a strong rip. He immediately swam over to his son and pushed him towards the shore. The boy managed to find his footing as Mr Dick directed him to swim. The boy followed the directions and, upon reaching the beach, turned back to see his father floating face down about 50 metres from the shore.
A man who had witnessed the incident managed to obtain a surfboard and swam out to Mr Dick. He then put his arms around Mr Dick’s neck and swam back to the shore where CPR was commenced. Unfortunately Mr Dick was unable to be revived. For his actions, Mr Dick is commended for brave conduct.
Lloyd Rudi Mulder, Valentine, Bravery Award
For acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances.
On the afternoon of October 1, 2013 Mr Mulder were at the scene of a petrol tanker accident in Mona Vale. A petrol tanker carrying 34,000 litres of fuel was travelling along Mona Vale Road when its driver lost control.
The tanker travelled through a roundabout before jack-knifing, tipping onto its side and sliding across the road. It collided with several cars and burst into flames. The flames quickly began to engulf the damaged cars, one of which contained four elderly people.
Other rescuers were able to extract two of the occupants and removed them to safety, however they struggled to extract the driver and another passenger trapped inside the vehicle. At this point the rear of the vehicle caught alight and the flames and heat intensified, forcing rescuers back.
When the third passenger managed to exit the vehicle, the heat and risk of explosions made it impossible to provide assistance. Mr Mulder and another firefighter arrived at the scene and immediately went to the aid of the passenger who had crawled from the burning vehicle. Despite the risk of further explosions and the life-threatening situation, Mr Mulder and the other firefighter stayed with the passenger.
Sadly, the man was unable to be saved and the car's driver also perished at the scene. A further six people were taken to Royal North Shore hospital for treatment for a range of burns and other injuries. By his actions, Mr Mulder displayed considerable bravery
Andrew George Cochran, Medowie, Star of Courage
For acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril
At the same petrol tanker crash Mr Cochran was involved in the rescue of two people. As the flames quickly began to engulf the damaged cars, Mr Cochran reached one of the vehicles containing four elderly people. He entered the vehicle and attempted to remove the dazed and disorientated occupants.
Two of the occupants were assisted from the car and escorted to safety while he continued to try to extract the driver and another passenger who were still trapped.
Mr Cochran continued to assist until the flames and heat intensified and he was forced back from the vehicle. He then went to comfort the two people who had been removed from the car. He continued to assist with the evacuation of the area and offered assistance to emergency services personnel when they arrived on scene. By his actions, Mr Cochran displayed conspicuous courage.
Stephen Thomas Lamb and Gregory Thomas Lewis, Belmont, Commendation of Brave Conduct
For acts of bravery considered worthy of recognition
On the afternoon of March 8, 2015, Mr Lewis and Mr Lamb assisted in restraining an armed offender during an assault at Belmont.
They heard a female screaming in a neighbouring property and immediately scaled a fence and entered the yard to assist the female. When the male offender saw them arrive, he threw a chair towards the men before grabbing hold of a loaded spear fishing gun.
The offender ran down some stairs and moved behind a glass sliding door, cocking and aiming the spear gun towards the men as they rushed the door. The offender discharged the gun causing the spear to skim past one of the men.
They immediately wrestled the offender to the ground. During the struggle, Mr Lamb sustained an injury however the men were able to disarm and detain the offender until Emergency Services arrived. For their actions the two men have been commended for brave conduct.