For bravery in the rescue of two swimmers caught in a strong rip at Brunswick Heads Beach
For Bravery on 29 March 1953 when he rescued two women from probable drowning in the sea near Brunswick Heads. The two women were visitors and had hired a boat for fishing purposes at the mouth of the river, but owing to the strength of the current and the rough conditions the boat was swept to sea and capsized some 300 yards from shore. The two women clung to the upturned keel but were washed off due to heavy seas. Hammond, from the beach, saw their predicament and immediately swam out to their assistance. The sea was choppy and difficult and Hammond was compelled to grip first one woman and then the other by the hair with one hand to keep them afloat while he towed them to safety. All were exhausted as they were assisted to shore by Messrs W H James, A C Dunstan, J E Cawlet and Barry Hammond. Listen to the 1950's Radio Play commemorating this courageous rescue by the Hammond brothers and Bill James
At about 10.45 am on 5 April 1981 a powerboat containing three persons was capsized while entering the Brunswick River in huge seas, throwing the occupants into the water. The lady in the group swam to the North Wall where she was thrown a life preserver; she then swam to the upturned boat where her husband and another man were clinging to the hull.
While the couple where clinging to the life preserver, their companion was seen floating face down towards the northern side of the North Wall. Fox and (Mark) Edwards went to the aid of this man and eventually managed to get him on a surfboard owned by Fox. (Mark) Quinn and (John) Knight commenced resuscitation.
Senior Constable McKellar then joined Quinn I n an IRB, however it was overturned by a wave and the men had to swim back to the beach. In the meantime (Adrian) Russell, having been originally towed by the IRB to a position near the couple supported by the life preserver, swam to their aid, despite a strong current which threatened to sweep them onto the rocks. Fox on his surfboard joined Russell in the rescue, and finally managed to convey the couple to shore. The area where the rescue took place was a confined one between two rock walls, making such attempts extremely hazardous in the prevailing conditions.
For Bravery in surf rescue displayed on 17 April 2006 during the rescue of two fellow surf lifesavers in extremely rough seas when their IRB overturned at Brunswick Heads. Casey (17years) and Luke Essery (18 years) seeing that the IRB had overturned and the driver and crewman were in trouble swam out 100m and retrieved the IRB and assisted the crewman (Gavin Arthur) to the beach. Once the IRB was safely on the beach they noticed that the driver (Mark Hildebrandt) had not made shore and was in fact being taken south in a strong current. Casey grabbed a rescue tube and returned to the water after the Mark while Luke Essery obtained a rescue board from the patrol and attempted to get through the 2.5meter (5+m at the face) surf.
In an attempt to get out of the break Mark had swum further from shore and was now over 100m from shore and caught in a northerly current. Luke, seeing that Casey was near the swimmer, crossed the river on his board anticipating where the swimmers would land and was followed shortly thereafter by Gavin – who had recovered somewhat - and Sam Martin. Patrol members John Garrard and Courtney Essery took the quad-bike – with the oxy-viva and other first-aid equipment – across the road bridge (the only access to the north wall from the south side of the river) and met the others on the north beach.
Mark reached the south wall and tried to exit the water onto the rocks, but the rough seas twice knocked him back into the river and he was unable to exit. Members of the public threw the two life preservers to him but he was unable to grab them. Members of the public were helping by directing Casey towards Mark through the seas. Casey could see Mark and maintained a distance of about 10m from him across the bar, but was unable to catch him.
Mark was carried passed the north wall by the sweep and eventually was able to approach the shore. As he was emerging from the water another wave caught him and knocked him down and he was unable to stand again, but several fishermen ran to help in the calmer waters, directed by Luke who had now arrived on the north shore. Casey followed Mark in to shore after a swim of approximately 600m through rough seas.
Casey maintained Mark on oxygen and Luke, assisted by Sam Martin, controlled the scene including the subsequent arrival of the vehicular and Westpac Rescue helicopter. Mark was subsequently airlifted to Lismore Base Hospital. Casey showed exceptional courage, determination and surf ability well beyond her age.