2004-2005 Recipients & Citations

Click on the recipient to view the citation.



David Lebnan, Merrylands

for his actions at the scene of a home unit fire at Neutral Bay.

On the morning of 4 January 2003, Mr Lebnan was driving past a unit block in Neutral Bay when he noticed smoke coming from the block.

He stopped, spoke to a unit resident, then went to attempt access into the unit which was apparently on fire. He was unable to kick the door down, but smashed a hole near the lock and gained access to the unit. He entered the unit with the building fire hose, and continued to hose the flames until the arrival of the Fire Brigade. He was subsequently treated for smoke inhalation.


Gareth Alexander Martin, Mortdale
Matthew Sidney Ernest Sharp, Yowie Bay

for the attempted rescue of a man from a burning vehicle at Sylvania.

On 22 January 2003, a vehicle crashed into a telegraph pole at Sylvania, bursting into flames and trapping the driver inside the vehicle.

Mr Martin and Mr Sharp witnessed the accident, and immediately raced to help the driver. Mr Martin smashed the window, and both men then tried unsuccessfully to extricate the trapped driver by leaning inside the vehicle.

Fire and smoke eventually forced the rescuers to stand clear of the burning vehicle, which was engulfed in flames. The driver died in the accident.


Jason Wasley, Wooloomooloo

for the rescue of a man from the Parramatta River.

On the evening of 23 May 2003, Mr Wasley, who was on the Rivercat Ferry on the Parramatta River, noticed a car in the water near the Silverwater Bridge, and a man near it struggling and calling for help.

Mr Wasley made several attempts to throw a buoyancy ring to the man, but on seeing the victim start to float face down in the water, he dived in and swam to his rescue.

Mr Wasley swam the man back to the boat, and supported him until he regained consciousness. The victim was then taken to shore for ambulance treatment.


Brooke Duffey, Albion Park

for her actions during a house fire at Cootamundra.

In the early morning of 1 October 2003, Brooke Duffey, (aged 11 years), was woken by smoke in the house where she was sleeping. Brooke had been left in charge of her three young cousins, as her aunt had gone to work.

Her 8 year old cousin was also woken by the smoke, and the two girls went outside to investigate.

Brooke realised the house was on fire, and quickly returned inside to wake the other two children and shepherd them outside to safety. While neighbours assembled outside, one child re-entered the burning building, and Brooke once more entered and brought the child back out to safety.

The fire totally destroyed the building.


Shane Christopher Palmer, Wellington
Rodney Allan Ridley, Burcher

for the rescue of a man from a collapsed well at "Myrtlevale", Corinella district.

On 8 October 2003, a man was inspecting a newly dug well on his property in the Corinella district, when a wall collapsed on him covering him with dirt.

Mr Palmer, who had excavated the new well, and Mr Ridley, who was working nearby, immediately went to assist the trapped man. Assistance was called for over the UHF radio, and both men proceeded to dig the earth away from the man's head with their hands.

Assistance finally arrived, and with the aid of spades and shovels, the trapped man was eventually freed, and brought out of the well to emergency services' assistance.


Robert George Langford, Umina Beach


Judith Anne Dudley, Umina Beach

for their actions at the scene of a motor vehicle fire at Umina.

In the early morning of 24 January 2004, a vehicle accident occurred in Umina, trapping the driver inside the vehicle. Ms Dudley was woken by the crash, and ran to the accident. On noticing smoke coming from the vehicle, she tried unsuccessfully to open the driver's door.

Mr Langford then arrived, and although the vehicle was now burning, he was able to finally release the semi-conscious driver and drag him to safety.


Stewart Peter Carberry, Mount Hutton

for his actions at the scene of a violent robbery at Hamilton South.

At about 7 pm on 5 August 2003, six youths assaulted the shop assistant at a bottle shop in Hamilton South.

Mr Carberry was a passenger in a vehicle passing the shop when the attack occurred. The shop assistant was being punched and kicked and assaulted with a wooden stick and bottles of liquor.

Regardless of his own safety, Mr Carberry immediately went to the man's aid. The attackers then turned their attention to Mr Carberry and began repeatedly kicking and punching him. While this was happening, the injured shop assistant was able to retrieve the money till, which had been removed from the shop earlier. The shop assistant then went to help Mr Carberry, along with the friend who had been driving the vehicle.

The attacking youths finally backed off and left the scene.


Joshua Carew, Doyalson


Station Commander Dennis Rayner, NSW Fire Brigades
Senior Firefighter Philip Brown, NSW Fire Brigades


Brendan Carew, Doyalson

for their actions at the scene of a house fire at Doyalson.

On the afternoon of 26 July 2004, fire broke out in a two storey home occupied by a mother and her 2 year old son.

The woman went downstairs to investigate the smell of smoke, leaving her son upstairs. She found a burning blanket near the combustion heater, and immediately opened a door and threw the blanket outside.

The draught from the open door fanned flames from the burning couch, and, all of a sudden, access up the internal stairs became impossible.

Joshua, Brendan and Ross Carew raced to the scene. Joshua entered the house in an attempt to climb the internal stairs, but was driven back by heat and smoke. Brendan used a ladder outside to climb to the upstairs level. He then smashed a window with a pot plant, and, with his fist wrapped in his jumper sleeve, proceeded to smash away jagged glass from the window frame. However, he was unable to enter due to black sooty smoke.

Ross Carew threw a brick, breaking another upstairs window, but again, Brendan Carew was unable to enter due to choking smoke.

The distraught mother, together with Joshua and Ross Carew, raced up external stairs onto decking at the back of the house. The mother smashed a window, but access once again was impossible due to the intensity of the blaze. Joshua Carew smashed a sliding door, and once more entered the burning house, but was again beaten back by the intense smoke.

Fire Brigade personnel arrived, and Station Commander Rayner and Senior Firefighter Brown, after donning breathing apparatus, entered the upper storey of the house, but were forced to exit due to heat and parts of the building collapsing.

The fire was eventually extinguished, and the body of the two year old boy recovered. Also regrettably, a fire fighter collapsed at the scene, and after admission to hospital, died from a heart attack.

Ross Carew received a Letter of Commendation for his actions during this incident.



Daniel Frizzle, Tanilba Bay


Kenneth Blackmore, Lemon Tree Passage
Maurice Harland, Lemon Tree Passage

for their actions in the attempted rescue of a man from a submerged vehicle at Lemon Tree Passage.

On the afternoon of 4 April 2003, a vehicle crashed into the water at Lemon Tree Passage foreshore and immediately sank with the driver trapped inside.

Mr Frizzle ran to the scene, dived in and swam out to the vehicle, which was about 1.5 metres under water. Mr Blackmore and Mr Harland also entered the water to lend assistance.

All three men were unsuccessful in their attempts to open the car doors to release the driver. Mr Frizzle was able to eventually reach through the window and cut the seat belt, but was still unable to release the driver.

Eventually, Mr Frizzle was able to attach a chain to the vehicle, and a winch dragged the vehicle out of the water. Regrettably, the driver was deceased.


Karl Ian Jenkinson, Kurnell

for his actions in the rescue of three women from a submerged vehicle at Merry Beach, near Ulladulla.

On the evening of 20 April 2003, a vehicle, carrying three young women, crashed off a bridge at Merry Beach and landed upside down in the water, with just its wheels showing.

Mr Jenkinson ran to the scene and jumped off the bridge into the water to assist the car occupants. He managed to open one door, and dived down to assist one occupant to safety. He subsequently was able to release a second woman and drag her to safety.

During this time, two other persons, Stephen Davy and Michael Avenell, also attended the accident, and were able to release the third woman to safety.

Mr Davy and Mr Avenell received Letters of Commendation for their actions during this incident.


Eve Foster, C/- Henry Kendal Hostel, Wyoming
Patricia Singleton, C/- Henry Kendal Hostel, Wyoming
Daniel Wall, C/- Henry Kendal Hostel, Wyoming

for their actions during a fire at Henry Kendal Hostel at Wyoming.

On the afternoon of 12 January 2004, a fire broke out in a unit at the Henry Kendal Hostel at Wyoming.

As the units contained elderly persons, and fearing they may become trapped, Mr Wall, an employee, went to investigate. He then contacted the Fire Brigades, and commenced the evacuation of residents.

Ms Foster and Ms Singleton, also employees, assisted in the evacuation of residents to safety. Some of the evacuation needed to be carried out through restricted spaces, and was done with great professionalism by Mr Wall, Ms Foster and Ms Singleton.

All residents were safely accounted for at the scene.


Peter Wilfred Taylor, Hargraves

for his actions at the scene of a motor vehicle accident and fire at Hargraves.

On the evening of 18 January 2004, Mr Taylor and his wife came upon a vehicle accident near Hargraves, which involved two persons trapped in the vehicle.

Mr Taylor went to the assistance of the two occupants, while his wife drove to the nearest town to summon help. Although the passenger had suffered head injuries, Mr Taylor assisted him to a safe area, and then returned to assist the driver who was trapped in the vehicle cabin.

Mr Taylor noticed smoke coming from under the dashboard. He was able to open the driver's door to assist the trapped driver, but then realised fire had broken out.

Mr Taylor then smothered the flames with a seat cover, and eventually, the driver freed himself and Mr Taylor assisted him to safety.


Joseph William Catlin, Wagga Wagga

for his actions as the passenger in an "out of control" vehicle on a property at Ariah Park.

On the morning of 15 July 2002, a man suffered a heart attack while driving a utility on his property.

Joseph Catlin, (aged 11 years), a passenger in the utility, thought the driver had fallen asleep. The driver's foot jammed the accelerator fully open, and his other foot had jammed under the foot brake.

Joseph's quick thinking allowed him to steer the vehicle around the paddock several times, and eventually lean over and switch off the ignition. During the "out of control" drive, the vehicle had hit farm machinery and had narrowly avoided crashing into a dam.

Joseph ran to the farmhouse to alert family members.

Regrettably, the man was deceased.


Ross William Whittaker, Islington
George Callum Soutar, Islington

for their actions at the scene of a house fire at Islington.

In the early morning of 21 August 2004, fire broke out in a residence at Islington.

Mr Whittaker was alerted to the fire, and immediately went to the scene, and entered the premise through a side window. The place was fully alight and smoke filled, and Mr Whittaker located a woman, collapsed on the floor with her lower body on fire. He dragged the woman to the window, but he was forced to exit due to the heat and smoke.

Mr Soutar arrived on the scene, entered the building and located the woman. Eventually, Mr Whittaker re-entered the premise, and together with Mr Soutar, they were able to remove the woman outside.

They comforted her with wet towels until the arrival of the ambulance personnel, but regrettably, she died some days later in hospital.


Gregory Paul Lee, Tamarama

for his actions at the scene of a home unit fire at Tamarama.

On the evening of 24 December 2004, Mr Lee was alerted by a screaming child to a fire in a neighbouring residence.

He located a hose, ran to the unit where the fire was, and proceeded to douse the flames which had engulfed a Christmas Tree and some lounge room furniture.

He removed a woman from the unit, and brought the fire under control prior to the arrival of the Fire Brigade.


Sergeant Christopher John Hines, NSW Police

for his actions in the rescue of a man from the waters of the Shoalhaven River at Nowra.

On the morning of 21 September 2003, Nowra police were alerted to an incident at the Shoalhaven River Bridge at Nowra, where a man appeared to be intending to jump from the bridge into the river.

Sergeant Hines attended the scene, and attempted, unsuccessfully, to make verbal contact with the man. The man then jumped into the river, and Sergeant Hines immediately notified Police Radio of the incident, then entered the water and swam 80 metres to the person who was floating face down.

Sergeant Hines realised the man was not breathing, and held him in the recovery position.

Other police then attended the scene in a commandeered craft, and assisted in dragging the man to the shore. Attempts to lift him into the boat were unsuccessful due to the heaviness of his water logged clothing.

First aid was given to the man until the arrival of ambulance personnel, who conveyed him to hospital for further treatment.

Letters of Commendation

During the year, the following awards were also made:

Ruth Warhurst, Warrawong

Joseph Thomas Reid, Baulkham Hills

Ross Carew, Doyalson

Stephen Davy, Yass

Michael Jon Avenell, Hilltop