PHILIPPE Ravenel, a blacksmith from Cobargo, has been decorated with a ‘Commendation for Brave Conduct’ award in recognition of his heroism for rescuing two Goulburn tourists from hazardous surf at Camel Rock.
The incident occurred at Haywards Beach at Camel Rock north of Bermagui in the summer of 2008 when Mr Ravenel noticed two swimmers in distress approximately 100 metres from shore.
Fresh from Switzerland, with no knowledge of rips and without any floatation device Mr Ravenel swam out to render assistance.
With both victims physically exhausted and struggling to stay afloat, Mr Ravenel pulled one of the swimmers back to shore and then returned to the water to assist the second swimmer.
Although the second victim had been swept further out to sea, Mr Ravenel was able to drag her back to the beach for stabilising medical treatment before she was airlifted to Canberra Hospital.
Mr Ravenel says he has a sense of pride about the award but humility seems to be more his style.
The award has approved by Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia.
“This year marks the 37th anniversary of the Australian honours system, which since its establishment has grown in prestige to represent the highest level of recognition that can be accorded for attainment of outstanding achievement and service in national life,” Ms Bryce said.
“Today’s announcement of national bravery awards recognises the heroic actions of those amongst us who have placed the safety and lives of others before their own.
“We are privileged to have such role models in our society, and it is an honour to be able to recognise their acts of selfless bravery and thank them publicly for their brave actions.”
Anyone may nominate any other person for the award of the Australian Bravery Decoration. Nominations are considered by the Australian Bravery Decorations Council.