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Wednesday 27 March 2019

His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland, congratulates the following Queenslanders, recognised for their brave acts in the latest round of Australian Bravery Decorations:


Senior Constable Ian Bruce Buckmaster and Mr Charles Wayne Ingham

On the morning of 10 July 1998, Queensland Police Officer Senior Constable Ian Buckmaster (then Constable) and Mr Charles Ingham (then Constable) rescued a young child from a burning car in Loganlea, Queensland.

Constables Buckmaster and Ingham were in pursuit of a stolen taxi that was being driven erratically and at high speed through the streets of Loganlea. During the pursuit, the taxi at times mounted the footpath, cut in front of other motorists, collided with another vehicle, sped through vacant land and drove on the wrong side of the street. One of its front tyres had deflated and was separated from the wheel rim. With the stolen taxi reaching speeds of up to 120kmph, the pursuit was terminated.

As the officers slowed their vehicle, they approached a crest in the road and saw a large flash ahead. The taxi had collided with another vehicle, which had been extensively damaged and was now resting on its side with the rear of the vehicle alight.

They immediately stopped their police car and quickly made their way to the damaged car, where the male driver was attempting to remove a child from the rear seat.

Constable Ingham first went to the assistance of a female passenger and took her away from the car. He then went to the front of the vehicle where Constable Buckmaster was removing the windscreen.

Despite the threat of the vehicle igniting, Constable Buckmaster then crawled into the vehicle while Constable Ingham held onto him for balance. He made his way to the rear, where a three year old boy was in a car seat. He unbuckled the restraint and with the assistance of Constable Ingham, managed to remove the child from the burning vehicle.

Once the officers and occupants were outside the vehicle, it quickly became engulfed in flames.

By their actions, Senior Constable Buckmaster and Mr Ingham displayed considerable bravery.

Mr Hugh Cameron McClelland and Mr James Robert McClelland

In the early afternoon of 9 January 1974, brothers Hugh and James McClelland (then aged 15 and 16 years respectively), rescued two young girls at Bulcock Beach, Queensland.

James and Hugh, then members of the Ithaca Life Saving Club, became aware of two young girls being swept out to sea.  The brothers quickly ran along the beach to gain closer access to the girls, who were using small boogie boards.

Despite not being trained for surf rescues, they entered the choppy surf and made their way in the washing machine-like conditions towards the two girls. As they reached the girls, the group was swept across the Caloundra Bar and out towards open sea. They were then dumped and pushed underwater by the cyclonic conditions, and the girls lost hold of their boogie boards. On several occasions they were separated, forcing the brothers to re-locate them in the treacherous conditions.

As they made it past the last surf break, James and Hugh managed to carry one girl each on their backs and fought the currents for over an hour to bring the girls back to shore near Bribie Island.

After a short rest on the beach, the boys then walked the girls back to the northern tip of Bribie Island at the Caloundra Bar.

By their actions, Messrs Hugh McClelland and James McClelland displayed considerable bravery.


Mr Jamie Allan Alexander

On the afternoon of 25 March 2015, Mr Jamie Alexander was involved in the rescue of a man from a submerged vehicle at Mount Samson, Queensland.

Mr Alexander was working at a property at Mount Samson when he heard a car engine revving loudly at an adjoining property and immediately went to investigate.

A man had driven his utility into a dam and Mr Alexander saw that the front of the vehicle had sunk into three metre deep, murky water.

Without hesitation, Mr Alexander entered the dam, dived under the surface and made his way to the driver's door. The window was down and the driver was inside with his seatbelt on.  He then attempted to release the man.

Meanwhile emergency services were called. With the assistance of others, Mr Alexander managed to release the man and bring him to the surface.

Paramedics arrived on the scene and commenced treatment of the driver. Sadly he was not able to be revived.

For his actions, Mr Alexander is commended for brave conduct.

Ms Katherine Anne Brock

On the morning of 5 July 2017, Ms Katherine Brock intervened to stop a runaway vehicle on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

Ms Brock was working on a movie set on the Gold Coast when she witnessed a small, heavy vehicle rolling towards two animals and their female handler.

The vehicle was driverless and was rolling backwards, picking up speed, and heading towards the female animal handler and two donkeys that were harnessed to a buggy. The donkeys and buggy were being used in the making of the film.

Realising the imminent danger of the situation and without concern for her own safety, Ms Brock ran into the path of the oncoming vehicle. She positioned herself between the vehicle and the animal handler and donkeys. Using all her strength, she pushed against the vehicle thereby preventing it from hitting the woman and animals.

The vehicle collided with Ms Brock, dragging her some distance before pinning her underneath. Several people were required to lift the vehicle off her and she sustained serious, non-life threatening, injuries.

For her actions, Ms Brock is commended for brave conduct.

Mr Laurence Sebastian Fletcher

On the morning of 12 October 2012, Mr Laurence Fletcher was involved in a fire burnover event at Black Cat Creek, Western Australia.

The Black Cat Creek fire ignited around 9.00am and the firefighting effort was concentrated in two sectors. A change in wind direction to the south-west caused the fire to escalate dramatically and burn over the top of a group of firefighters, who were parked in the bush for a briefing.

The fire intensified so quickly that two trucks were unable to escape, and were completely engulfed. A number of the firefighters sustained burns, two seriously.

Mr Fletcher was using a bulldozer to clear vegetation when the fire escalated. As the fire approached the area where he was working, a fire truck that was alight also made its way into the area.

Mr Fletcher, realising the gravity of the situation, quickly began to use the bulldozer to enlarge the clearing and to offer some protection for when the fire reached them.

Another bushfire truck, that was also alight, then arrived at the clearing Mr Fletcher had created.  At this point the intense fire front reached the clearing and Mr Fletcher stayed inside the cab of the bulldozer. Once the intensity of the fire had diminished somewhat, crews from the bushfire vehicle returned to the fire ground to render further assistance and Mr Fletcher got out of the bulldozer to check that it wasn't damaged, in case it needed to be used again.

For his actions, Mr Fletcher is commended for brave conduct.

Mr Wayne Lesley Harris

On the afternoon of 1 February 1972, Mr Wayne Harris rescued a young boy from a burning house in Broken Hill, New South Wales.

Mr Harris, then aged 14 years, was at the family home in Broken Hill when he became aware that the house was on fire.

He immediately raced outside and placed a garden hose through the front window of the house in an effort to extinguish the flames, which were taking hold of the dwelling. At that point, he became aware that his younger brother was still inside.

He quickly entered through the front door and was forced to his hands and knees due to the thick smoke. He began to make his way towards the centre of the home from where he could hear someone crying. Following the sounds, he was able to locate his younger brother who was in a smoke filled room. Mr Harris picked up the boy and managed to throw him out of a nearby window to a waiting neighbour. He then was able to find his way back out of the house to safety.

For his actions, Mr Harris is commended for brave conduct.

Mr Ethan Lavin and Mr Jake Orion Slattery

In the early afternoon of 29 December 2016, Mr Ethan Lavin and Mr Jake Slattery went to the assistance of a woman who was being assaulted in an apartment in Brisbane, Queensland.

Mr Lavin was at home in his apartment in Upper Mount Gravatt when he heard a woman screaming for help. He went onto his balcony and witnessed a woman being pushed up against the flyscreen of a window in an opposite apartment. He immediately called for emergency services.

Mr Slattery also heard the woman's screams and went out onto his balcony, where he saw the woman being assaulted.

Messrs Lavin and Slattery quickly left their apartments and approached the apartment where the distressed woman was located. They began to bash and kick against the door. A man opened the door and Mr Lavin and Mr Slattery moved past him, climbing up stairs to the room where the woman was.

On entering, they saw the injured woman hunched over and holding her abdomen. She had sustained significant blood loss. Messrs Lavin and Slattery used a towel to try to stem the bleeding. At that point, Mr Slattery noticed the offender standing in the corner of the room and a long kitchen knife beside him on the floor. The men quickly ushered the injured woman out of the room and closed the door.

They helped the woman out of the apartment and to the main front entrance. Police and ambulance officers arrived on the scene to treat the injured woman and apprehend the offender.

For their actions, Mr Lavin and Mr Slattery are commended for brave conduct.

Miss Cayla Alexis Sweeney

On the afternoon of 12 January 2018, Miss Cayla Sweeney rescued a man after an incident on a canal on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

Miss Sweeney, who was 12 years old at the time, was kayaking with her father and brother on a canal near Lae Drive on the Gold Coast. Unexpectedly her father suffered a seizure, fell from his kayak, and began to sink underwater.

Without hesitation, Miss Sweeney dived into the canal and managed to grab hold of her father and pull him to the surface.  She immediately rolled him onto his back and cleared his airway.

At the same time, she was able to calm her younger brother and then raised the alarm for help. A short time later, emergency services arrived and Mr Sweeney was transported to the hospital.

For her actions, Miss Sweeney is commended for brave conduct.

Mrs Joanne Yeadon

Details are not released at the request of Mrs Yeadon.


Senior Constable Luke Philip Andrew, Constable Michael Laurie Crawford, Senior Constable Jason Mark McInnes and Sergeant Troy Kieron McLachlan

Awardees comprise of two members of the Queensland Police Force and two members of Queensland Water Police who rescued several people from flood waters in Tallebudgera, Queensland on 31 March 2017.

In the early hours of 31 March 2017, two members of the Queensland Police Force and two members of Queensland Water Police rescued several people from flood waters in Tallebudgera, Queensland.

At about 1:30am, two police officers performing patrols during the Cyclone Debbie weather event on Guineas Creek Road in Tallebudgera observed lights bobbing in the flood waters. They exited their vehicle and discovered a small aluminium boat stranded in the fast flowing water. The boat, with an inoperable outboard motor, contained four adults, a young child, a baby and four dogs.

Two officers from Water Police arrived at the scene and a local resident was able to provide life jackets and rope and tools. Two of the officers entered the fast flowing, chest deep water and made their way to the boat. They encountered a locked gate and barbed wire fence that had to be cut through in order to reach the boat.

The distressed children were passed from the boat to the officers, who then handed them over to the other two officers. These officers assisted the children to the police vehicle.

Shortly after Swift Water Rescue personnel arrived and together with the four police officers, worked to remove the remaining adults and four dogs to safety.

For their actions, the recipients are recognised by the award of the Group Bravery Citation.