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Australian Bravery Decorations honour 11 courageous Queenslanders

August 18, 2021

The extraordinary courage of nine police officers, an off-duty ambulance officer and another member of the public who saved lives in perilous situations is being recognised in the latest Australian Bravery Decorations.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the 11 Queenslanders recognised in the second round of Australian Bravery Decorations for 2021 had courageously put the lives of others before their own, while overcoming great obstacles and hazardous conditions.

“Twice a year, the Australian Bravery Decorations celebrate the incredible bravery and selflessness of individuals, groups, and perhaps most frequently, those who serve on the frontline to protect and support our community,” the Premier said.

“Of the 10 Australians honoured with Bravery Medals in this round, half are from Queensland and four currently serve with the Queensland Police Service. A further five Queensland Police officers and one member of the public have been honoured with a Commendation for Brave Conduct.

“I thank all members of the Queensland Police Service for their dedication, resilience and care each and every day, and I congratulate all of our latest Queensland recipients of Australian Bravery Decorations.”

Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services the Honourable Mark Ryan MP paid tribute to the nine police officers today.

“The actions of these officers are an inspiration for frontline officers across the QPS, as they have embodied the values that all emergency services demonstrate each and every day, putting themselves on the line to protect their community members,” he said.

“I congratulate and thank the officers for their significant contribution they have made to not only the Service, but the Queensland community.”

Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the QPS recipients had shown great bravery in the face of extreme danger.

“On behalf of the Service, I sincerely thank all of the officers awarded today for their dedication to not only their roles, but the community as well,” Commissioner Carroll said.

“We are proud to say that each of the QPS recipients have represented the Service with honour, demonstrating their willingness to help others through their selfless acts.”

Recipients of Bravery Medals include:

Senior Constable William Atwood and Senior Constable Kimberley Murphy, who were honoured for their attempted rescue of a man from a unit fire in Bowen in December 2015. Both officers were responsible for the successful evacuation of units in the complex and were treated for second degree burns.  

Sergeant Clint Drew and Senior Constable Dylan Maestri were both honoured for their actions in the rescue of three people from a burning vehicle on Palm Island in December 2017. The officers worked together to extricate occupants of the burning vehicle, which was severely damaged after colliding with a power pole. The officers were treated for smoke inhalation.

Senior Constable Benjamin Brewster was commended for brave conduct for his actions during the rescue of a person at Mooloolaba Beach on December 11, 2017.

Senior Constable Kylie Gunter, Detective Senior Constable Liam McWhinney, Sergeant Tasman Place and Senior Constable Scott Wilson were commended for brave conduct for their actions during an incident with an armed man in Mackay on May 30, 2018.

Gayndah man Michael Formica was also honoured with a Bravery Medal for his rescue of a mother, daughter and two animals from a house fire in Harristown in September 2019. The off-duty ambulance officer was in the area visiting family when he noticed the house fire, and crawled through thick, black smoke several times to retrieve the distressed residents of the home. 

Queensland recipients of Australian Bravery Decorations will receive their awards at a formal ceremony at Government House in Brisbane.

The Australian Bravery Decorations Council, an independent advisory body, meets twice a year to consider nominations for awards and make recommendations to the Governor-General.

Anyone may nominate another person for an Australian Bravery Decoration.

For more information about Australian Bravery Decorations, visit www.gg.gov.au or www.itsanhonour.gov.au.

List of Queensland recipients:

Bravery Medal:

(For acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances)

Senior Constable William Robert ATWOOD – Queensland Police

Sergeant Clint William DREW – Queensland Police

Mr Michael Francessco FORMICA – Gayndah, Queensland

Senior Constable Dylan Michael MAESTRI – Queensland Police

Senior Constable Kimberley Jayne MURPHY – Queensland Police

Commendation for Brave Conduct:

(For acts of bravery considered worthy of recognition)

Senior Constable Benjamin Dallas BREWSTER – Queensland Police

Senior Constable Kylie Rae GUNTER – Queensland Police

Detective Senior Constable Liam James McWHINNEY – Queensland Police

Mr Jack Callum MOHR – Marcoola, Queensland

Sergeant Tasman Garrick PLACE – Queensland Police

Senior Constable Scott Steuart WILSON – Queensland Police