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STAR OF COURAGE RECIPIENTS

As of 19 March 2012 only 143 Stars of Courage had been awarded.

Listed below are the citations for some of those awardees.

More awardees can be found on the Australian Honours Lists produced by the Australian Honours Secretariat. 

 

 

John Thurgar SC MBE OAM RFD

On 9 October 1979 Chief Inspector Thurgar, an officer of the 16th Australian Police Contingent attached to the United Nations Force in Cyprus, was on duty at Ormophita, a suburb of Nicosia, when a person driving a tractor entered a mine field area within the Buffer Zone separating the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot Forces.

The tractor struck a mine, overturning it and severely injured the driver. Chief Inspector Thurgar immediately crossed through the mine field to the injured person. He then picked up the injured person and returned through the mine field so that medical care could be obtained; in doing so he saved the person's live.

Chief Inspector Thurgar displayed conspicuous courage and placed himself in great peril in traversing the mine field to rescue the injured person.

 

Sean Murphy SC

On 12 September 1989 at about 11.50 p.m a fire broke out on the first floor of a hotel in Queanbeyan. Constable First Class Murphy went to raise the alarm and accompanied the manager upstairs where they saw smoke coming from Room One. When he kicked the door in the room appeared unoccupied. They shut the door to prevent the flames form spreading and as they went to alert other guests the area began to fill with thick black smoke. Told that someone was in Room One Constable Murphy returned and found a man on the floor behind the door. As flames came round the door Constable Murphy, with assistance, attempted to pull the man out but he became wedged in the doorway. Continuing on his own in the rescue attempt he pulled him onto the landing and went to get his breath. He returned to the unconscious man, whose clothes by now were alight and moved him to the top of the stairs where he became caught in the banister railings. As Constable Murphy crouched down under the smoke to take a further breath the stairwell went up in flames and the man was consumed. He was then joined by another policeman in a final unsuccessful attempt to move the body but they were driven back by the heat and smoke to the bottom of the stairwell.

By his actions Constable First Class Murphy displayed conspicuous courage.

 

Alan Dwyer SC

During the night of 1 April 1990 District Officer Dwyer attended a major fire and explosions in a liquid petroleum gas tank farm at St Peters. Following an order to withdraw from the area because of the danger of imminent serious explosions, a head count revealed that one firefighter was missing. Without regard for his personal safety, District Officer Dwyer, accompanied by another firefighter, re-entered the danger zone and searched for the missing man until advised by radio that the man had been located and was safe. Officer Dwyer then withdrew from the danger zone and shortly after the first of a series of boiling liquid expanding vapour explosions took place.

By his actions Officer Dwyer displayed conspicuous courage.

 

Kevin Fletcher SC

During the night of 1 April 1990 Firefighter Fletcher attended a major fire and explosions in a liquid petroleum gas tank farm at St Peters. Following an order to withdraw from the area because of the danger of imminent serious explosions, a head count revealed that one firefighter was missing. Without regard for his personal safety, Firefighter Fletcher, accompanied by another firefighter, re-entered the danger zone and searched for the missing man until advised by radio that the man had been located and was safe. Firefighter Fletcher then withdrew from the danger zone and shortly after the first of a series of boiling liquid expanding vapour explosions took place.

By his actions Firefighter Fletcher displayed conspicuous courage.

 

Mitchell Hancock SC

Early in the afternoon of 19 June 1991 at Coffs Harbour, Mr Hancock, then a student of Orara High School, initiated action to overpower and restrain a youth armed with a rifle. The youth was on open ground and had fired a number of shots in the direction of students and teachers, wounding three of them. Without regard for his personal safety, and conscious of the need to avert further bloodshed, Mr Hancock ran with three other students across open ground to tackle the youth and restrain him. Throughout their approach the youth continued to fire at students and teachers, and without the prompt and courageous actions of Mr Hancock and his fellow students this life threatening situation could have had even graver consequences.

By his actions Mr Hancock displayed conspicuous courage.

 

Scott Bailey SC 

On the afternoon of 6 July 1991 Scott Bailey, then aged 17, swam through dangerous seas at Cape Freycinet to assist a drowning fisherman. Scott, who was visiting Cape Freycinet with his father and brother, was one of several people in the vicinity when a fisherman fell eight metres from rocks into a heavy sea. Despite cold conditions, a strong current and large swell, Scott stripped, dived 10 metres into the sea, and swam for 15 minutes carrying a sealed bucket and hauling a rescue line. On reaching the unconscious fisherman, Scott spent some time attempting, unsuccessfully, to revive him and then commenced bringing him back to shore. During the return journey the rescue line parted and Scott twice had the fisherman pulled from his grip by rough waves. Scott's condition was reduced by these events and he was forced to abandon his attempt to bring the fisherman to the shore. Scott needed to be assisted from the water by family members and others participating in the rescue attempt from the shore.

By his actions Mr Bailey displayed conspicuous courage.

 

Corporal Shaun Clements SC

Late in the afternoon of 5 May 2001, Corporal Clements rescued the injured driver of a runaway tank during an Army training exercise and prevented the tank crashing into two occupied tanks.

Corporal Clements was a crew member of a tank taking part in an Army Training exercise at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland when he heard the tank driver screaming. The turret of the tank had been moving erratically, catching the driver's head between the gun and the outside edge of the drivers hatch, Corporal Clements, who was in the turret with the tank commander, immediately pulled himself out of the turret to go to the aid of the driver, who had suffered serious head injuries. The tank suddenly accelerated and sped down a heavily-wooded gully. While holding the driver's head in one hand, Corporal Ciements tried to apply the handbrake with his other hand, and attempted, unsuccessfully, to turn off the engine. The tank continued to pick up speed, crashing into trees that covered the terrain. Corporal Clements could see the tank was on a collision course with two other tanks at the bottom of the gully. He again reached into the driver's compartment and managed to turn the tank up a slope, narrowly avoiding one of the stationary tanks, and used the steep gradient and the trees to bring the tank to a halt. Corporal Clements sustained broken ribs, a collapsed lung and considerable bruising during the incident. However, he remained on the tank to help with the medical evacuation of the driver.


By his actions, Corporal Clements displayed conspicuous courage.

 

Robert Meredith SC 

On the night of Saturday, 12 October 2002 and in the early hours of Sunday, 13 October 2002, Mr Meredith helped to rescue people from the Sari Club, Bali, following a terrorist bombing.

Mr Meredith was with a group of friends in the Sari Club at the time of the two terrorist bombings. Mr Meredith recognized the explosions as bombs having lived near an Army Base. The second bomb threw Mr Meredith two metres onto his back, winding him badly. Despite intense heat and flames, Mr Meredith and his friends managed to help about ten people escape from the Club by lifting them over a wall. Under the weight of people, the wall collapsed onto Mr Meredith, injuring his feet and legs and ripping off his thongs. He managed to get to a staircase from where he helped another group of people to safety away from the fire. Mr Meredith sustained cuts and burns to his feet.

By his actions, Mr Meredith displayed conspicuous courage.

 

Lauren Munro SC

On the night of Saturday, 12 October 2002 and in the early hours of Sunday, 13 October 2002. Mr Munro helped to rescue several people from the Sari Club, Bali, following a terrorist bombing.

Mr Munro was in the Sari Club with a group of friends from the Forbes Rugby Union football club at the time of the two terrorist bombings. The second explosion threw him to the ground and left his unconscious for a time. After regaining consciousness. Mr Munro saw that the roof at the Sari Club was engulfed in flames. Despite the intensity of the heat, Mr Munro stopped to rescue an injured woman, who had been struck by falling roof beams. Mr Munro managed to pull the woman free and carried her out of the burning building and over a wall of rubble. Mr Munro stayed to help several other people over the wall into an adjacent laneway. Mr Munro returned to the entrance of the Club and re-entered the building. For approximately the next two hours he carried out many more injured people to trucks and cars. He also helped to fight the fire.

By his actions, Mr Munro displayed conspicuous courage.


Natalie Goold SC

On the night of Saturday, 12 October 2002 and in the early hours of Sunday, 13 October 2002, Miss Goold rescued her severly injured friend from Paddy’s Bar, Bali, following a terrorist bombing.

Miss Goold was in Paddy’s Bar, Bali, with another woman, at the time of the bombings. After the second explosion, Miss Goold escaped from Paddy’s Bar and ran down a laneway towards a window to look back into the bar to locate her friend. Miss Goold saw that her friend was badly injured. Despite the building being engulfed in flames, Miss Goold climbed back into the Bar through a broken window. Miss Goold’s friend had severe injuries to one of her legs and part of her right arm had been blown off. Miss Goold dragged her friend to the laneway with the help of a man who came to her assistance. Miss Goold asked two men for their shirts and used the shirts to tie tourniquets around her friend’s wounds. One of the men helped the injured to hospital. Miss Goold made sure her friend was taken to hospital and stayed by her side during their medical evacuation to Australia. In the rescue of her friend, Miss Goold sustained burns to her right arm and hand.

By her actions, Miss Goold displayed conspicuous courage.

 

Rodney Fiechtner SC

On the morning of 7 April 2003, Mr Fiechtner attempted to prevent an explosion from a gas leak on a drilling rig at Myall Creek, Surat, Queensland.

Mr Fiechtner, a rig manager, was on site, located midway between the drilling rig and demountable huts used for meals and accommodation, when an uncontrolled release of natural gas occurred without warning at the rig. Flames engulfed the area. Two men who were working on the rig were seriously injured, while others received burns. Despite the risks of approaching the rig carrier, Mr Fiechtner unhesitatingly ran to the area to try to switch off the diesel engines. He was aware that members of his drilling crew were close to where an explosion was likely to occur and that shutting down the engines reduced the risk of flames igniting the gas cloud. Tragically, when Mr Fiechtner attempted to shut down the engines, there was an explosion and he died as a result of serious burn injuries.

By his actions, Mr Fiechtner displayed conspicuous courage, thereby losing his life. 

 

Oguz Taskun SC

On the morning of 19 April 2004, Mr Taskun apprehended and disarmed an offender who had stabbed a man near Auburn Railway Station, New South Wales.

Mr Taskun was on his way to work when he saw a man with a knife chasing another man who was covered with blood. Mr Taskun ran after the two men and saw the armed man slash the victim across the chest, inflicting a wound that bled freely. As Mr Taskun neared the two men, he told the armed man to drop the knife. The offender threatened Mr Taskun and continued pursuing the victim, stabbing him in the abdomen. Fearing that the man under attack was going to be killed, Mr Taskun continued to give chase to try to stop the attack. He finally caught the armed man and grabbed him from behind, tackling him to the ground forcing him to drop the knife. Mr Taskun appealed to members of the public to assist and two men came forward and held the man down while Mr Taskun put the knife into a plastic bag. Mr Taskun gave instructions to members of the public to contact the police and ambulance and to divert traffic around the scene. He then administered first aid to the victim while waiting for emergency services to arrive.

By his actions, Mr Taskun displayed conspicuous courage.

 

Michael Brown SC

At around midday on 23 March 2005, Mr Brown rescued a woman trapped in a burning vehicle after a collision with a semi-trailer on McClelland Drive at Langwarrin, Victoria.

Mr Brown was driving behind the truck when he saw it collide with a station wagon. He stopped immediately and, in spite of a debilitating back condition and reliance on walking aids for mobility, hurried to the car. Mr Brown found the engine area of the car on fire and the distressed female driver trapped in her seat. He tried to calm her while others attempted to extinguish the flames. At one point he limped back to his own car for a bottle of soda water, which he poured onto the woman's legs to try to stop them from burning. While other rescuers continued to try to extinguish the fire, Mr Brown entered the car from the rear area and managed to break the back of the driver's seat. This allowed him to wrap his arms around the woman and wrench her free. He and the woman rolled out of the car and as they were helped to safety, the car was engulfed in flames. Mr Brown suffered burns to his face in the incident.

By his actions, Mr Brown displayed conspicuous courage.

 

Ken Janakievski SC 

On the night of 9 June 2006, Mr Janakievski attempted to detain an armed robber escaping from a holdup at a hotel at St Peters, New South Wales. 

Around midnight, four men armed with a shot gun and large knives entered a hotel at St Peters. They spread out in the public bar area, and began to menace patrons and staff. They screamed aggressively as they rounded up their victims, ordering them into an adjacent room and on to the floor. The duty hotel manager, Mr Janakievski, was attacked from behind and forced to open a safe, and then threatened by another offender armed with the shot gun as cash was also removed from one of the registers. The offenders continued to intimidate and yell obscenities at the patrons as they were ordered to hand over wallets and mobile phones. Mr Janakievski was made to move into the room with the victims where he was again threatened by the offender armed with the shot gun. The weapon was raised to shoulder level, and aimed at him at point blank range. Fearing for the safety of his customers, Mr Janakievski lunged at the offender and was able to wrestle the gun from him, prompting the robbers to flee from the hotel. Reacting instinctively, Mr Janakievski pursued them out into the street and tried to detain one of the offenders. As the robbers escaped by car, Mr Janakievski learnt that one of his customers had sustained a critical knife wound. Running to his aid, Mr Janakievski dropped to the ground and applied pressure to the man’s chest wound then commenced CPR. Sadly, the victim’s injury was fatal. 

By his actions, Mr Janakievski displayed conspicuous bravery. 

 

Ronald Gianoncelli SC 

On the morning of 31 January 2004, Mr Gianoncelli intervened during an armed robbery at a newsagency in Koondoola, Western Australia. 

Mr Gianoncelli, his wife and sister had opened their newsagency and postal agency for routine Saturday trading. Within half an hour an armed man walked in, confidently demanding money from the till and a safe at the rear of the shop. He menaced Mr Gianoncelli’s wife with the handgun before pointing it at Mr Gianoncelli who was preparing to open the safe. A female customer walked into the store, distracting the gunman who then aimed the gun at her. The offender impatiently demanded that the safe be opened immediately. As Mr Gianoncelli attempted to explain the routine delay in activating it, the gunman fired off a round which grazed Mr Gianoncelli’s head. The offender then turned on Mr Gianoncelli’s sister, aimed the revolver directly at her and demanded that the safe be opened in five seconds. As the offender began counting down, Mr Gianoncelli believed that he was serious about his threat and, fearing the fatal consequences, Mr Gianoncelli lunged at the gunman. As the pair struggled the gun was discharged, wounding Mr Gianoncelli in the stomach. Momentarily dazed, he continued to pursue the gunman, lunging at him again. The gunman fled, with Mr Gianoncelli following on foot. While he was running the gunman turned and fired off more shots. Mr Gianoncelli retreated and intended to continue the chase by car. However, realising the seriousness of his injuries, Mr Gianoncelli gave up the chase and waited for police and ambulance officers to arrive. 

By his actions, Mr Gianoncelli displayed conspicuous courage.

 

Lorraine Casey SC

On 7 February 2009, Ms Casey rescued her friend and colleague during the ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires at Kinglake, Victoria. 

In the midst of the Black Saturday bushfires, Ms Casey, a member of the Country Fire Authority (CFA), assisted her friend to defend her house in Bald Spur Road, Kinglake from the firestorm. With safety considerations paramount, her friend asked Ms Casey to leave as the fire front approached. Ms Casey managed to return to the Kinglake CFA shed and remained until the fire front had past. As darkness approached, Ms Casey became aware that her friend’s situation had become dire, so decided to drive back to assist. She drove through the fire-stricken forest until she was unable to travel further due to the fallen and burning trees which had blocked Bald Spur Road. Using a torch, Ms Casey left the safety of her vehicle and walked about 600 metres along the road until she found her friend, badly injured and almost unconscious. In very difficult conditions, Ms Casey assisted her friend back to the vehicle and again negotiated fallen trees to return to the main road and back to the CFA shed. With no ambulances available, local police officers were able to transport the woman to Whittlesea to receive urgently needed medical attention. 

By her actions, Ms Casey displayed conspicuous courage.

 

Charles Zerafa SC

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.