The Royal Humane Society of Australia

Press Releases




Twenty people of Victoria will be presented with bravery awards of The Royal Humane Society of Australasia.

on Wednesday 15 November 2017
at Government House, Melbourne
at 11.00am
Media arrival from 10.30am – 10.50am

The Society awards – 3 Silver Medals, 10 Bronze Medals, 5 Certificates of Merit and 2 Posthumous Medals - will be presented by The Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria.

Awards recognize rescues from:

  • assault and armed assailants
  • car accidents
  • attempted suicide
  • rescues from rivers and lakes
  • a burning house

Details of the rescues are attached.

Sue Cutler (Secretary and Office Manager)
(03) 9125 4408
03 9125 4408
Or visit our Website:


To receive the Certificate of Merit

1. DYLAN REECE HODGE, of Keysborough, Vic

in going to the rescue of an elderly man and woman from a house fire at North Rockhampton, Qld on 20 October 2013.

At 12.25pm Mr Hodge was working at a residence when he heard a woman call out “fire” from a nearby house. Mr Hodge immediately ran to the woman’s aid and entered the house. On entry he was confronted by thick smoke, ceiling height flames and observed an elderly man trying to smother the flames using a blanket.

Mr Hodge removed the elderly residents to safety obtained a water hose and extinguished the spreading flames.

DYLAN REECE HODGECertificate of Merit

To receive the Posthumous Medal


To receive the Bronze Medal

3. DANIELA MITCHELL, of Point Cook, Vic

in going to the rescue of a man from being assaulted by three assailants on 24 May 2009 at Brunswick, Vic.

At 2.00am a man observed three men arguing with a woman outside a shop. He told them to “Leave the Girl alone”. The three men then started to assault him.

Mr Mitchell witnessed the assault and yelled at the three assailants to leave the other man alone. The assailants then ran toward Mr Mitchell who stepped in front of his friends and the assailants. The assailants started to punch and kick Mr Mitchell and the fight ceased shortly afterwards.

Mr Mitchell got into a car with his friends and they drove to a nearby 7-Eleven store to purchase some cigarettes.

The three assailants pursued Mr Mitchell and arrived at the 7-Eleven store with kitchen knives and a meat cleaver. They began attacking Mr Mitchell by kicking and punching him to the head and body. Once Mr Mitchell had fallen to the ground they stabbed him in the torso repeatedly.

Mr Mitchell’s sister-in-law, Ms Daniela Mitchell intervened by trying to push the three assailants away from Mr Mitchell and sustained knife injuries to her wrist and fingers.The assailants then got back into their car and sped away.

Mr Mitchell was taken to hospital but sadly died later that day.



To receive the Bronze Medal

4. TIMOTHY LEEMING, of Coojar, Vic

in going to the rescue of a woman from a crashed and burning car at Pigeon Ponds, Vic on 22 October 2015.

At 2.35pm a woman was driving south on the Coleraine-Edenhope Road when she lost control of her vehicle which collided with a tree. The vehicle flipped over and came to rest on its roof. The woman was conscious but trapped inside the badly damaged vehicle by her seatbelt and smoke started to emit from the car.

Mr Leeming arrived at the scene and despite the smoke and debris, entered the vehicle and freed the woman, carrying her to safety. The vehicle then became fully engulfed in flames.


To receive the Bronze Medal

5. BENJAMIN EGGE, of Barmedman, NSW


in going to the rescue of a man attempting suicide at Brisbane International Airport on 30 June 2013.

At arrival at the airport a man was assisted to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship by Messrs Egge and Prasad where all three went to a locked interview room.

The man grabbed hold of a telephone cord from the desk and wrapped it around his neck and throat a number of times and began to asphyxiate.

Messrs Egge and Prasad moved quickly to the man and tried to remove the telephone cord from around his neck. The man resisted all attempts to prevent his self destructive behaviour by attacking Messrs Egge and Prasad. Messrs Egge and Prasad struggled with the man to stop him killing himself.

They were finally able to remove the cord form the man’s neck but he continued to struggle with Messrs Egge and Prasad for about 15 minutes until client support staff came to help.



To receive the Bronze Medal

7. GIANFELICE FONTE, of Banyo, Qld

8. MUHAMMAD USMAN, of Deer Park, Vic

in going to the rescue of a woman from committing suicide at Southbank on 15 May 2016.

A woman was in her 22nd floor apartment when she called lifeline for assistance stating that she was going to kill herself. A short time later she was observed hanging from the 22nd Floor balcony crying for help.

Mr Fonte who lived on the 23rd floor heard the screams for help and together with security guard Mr Usman went to her apartment. They both attempted to gain access to the apartment by kicking the front door down but were unable to do so.

They then used a fire extinguisher to break down a plaster wall to the apartment and Mr Usman climbed in through the hole in the wall and opened the door.

Messrs Fonte and Usman then risked their own lives by hanging over the floor balcony railing to drag the woman back to safety.



To receive the Silver Medal


in going to the rescue of a man from drowning in the Ovens River, Wangaratta, Vic on 9 November 2014.

At 1.00pm police were advised that a man suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease had gone missing from the Wangaratta Hospital. The hospital staff reported that he could not look after himself and had a limited understanding of English.

Sgt Bradley and other police located the man on the north side of the Ovens River and upon seeing the police the man became distressed and waded into the Ovens River, fully clothed in an attempt to evade them. The river was flowing quickly and the current was quite strong and the man was struggling to keep himself afloat and his head went under the water three times. The man was pulled by the current near a branch in the river and he grabbed hold of it.

Sgt Bradley was given an inflatable raft by bystanders and he immediately entered the river and swam to the man through fallen trees, branches and other unknown submerged obstacles against the strong current.

Sgt Bradley approached the man and talked to him for about 5 minutes and although there was a language issue he managed to convince the man to get into the inflatable raft. Sgt Bradley then swam back to the river bank towing the man to safety.


To receive the Bronze Medal

10. CHRISTOPHER GANLEY, of Wantirna, Vic

in going to the rescue of two women from being attacked by an armed assailant in a pharmacy in Nunawading, Vic on 18 April 2016.

At 9.15pm a man armed with an iron bar went into a pharmacy, carrying a satchel which was later found to be holding a large kitchen knife. He approached the pharmacy assistant and grabbed her, making demands for drugs and threatening her with the iron bar before dragging her behind the dispensary where the pharmacist was situated.

The pharmacist saw the offender and ran from the dispensary towards the front door. The offender chased her and grabbed her outside the store and dragged her back inside by her clothing and hair whilst still making demands.

Mr Ganley was in the next door adjoining business when he heard a commotion and entered the pharmacy and saw the offender assaulting the pharmacist.

Mr Ganley approached the offender and grabbed the man in a head lock and brought him to the ground, preventing any further harm to the two women.

The police arrived a short time later to arrest the assailant.


To receive the Certificate of Merit

11. NINO ULAAN, of Doncaster East, Vic

12. CHRISTOPHER WADE, of Glen Waverley, Vic

13. KESTREL URBAN, of Camberwell, Vic

in going to the rescue of a man from attempting suicide at Glen Waverley on 6 March 2015.

Just after midnight police were called to a report of a suicidal man on the top level of a seven storey car park in Glen Waverley.

They observed the man on a ledge with his legs dangling over. He had a belt around his neck which was secured by a rope to the building. Police members attempted to engage with the man in dialogue but this was unsuccessful with the man continuing to move closer to the ledge.

Messrs Ulaan, Wade and Urban had been returning to their vehicles after finishing work when they saw the suicidal man over the side of the building and ran to his assistance.

When the man was almost completely over the ledge, with only his hands holding onto the building and the rest of his body vertical over the side, Messrs Ulaan, Wade and Urban reached over the edge, grabbed the man and dragged him back to safety.

NINO ULAANCertificate of Merit

CHRISTOPHER WADECertificate of Merit

KESTREL URBANCertificate of Merit

To receive the Bronze Medal

14. NATHAN BEASY, of Camperdown, Vic

15. DEMI MOUNSEY, of Cobden, Vic

in going to the rescue of a woman from a crashed and burning car a Jancourt East on 26 August 2015.

At 5.30pm Mr Beasy was following a vehicle which failed to take a bend in the road, resulting in the car crashing through heavy scrub. The vehicle came to stop in dense blackberries which made access harder. Mr Beasy wrenched open the damaged driver’s door as he saw flames from under the bonnet and observed oil and other fluids in the cabin of the car.

Mr Finlayson and Ms Mounsey stopped to assist and due to the presence of flames coming out of the air vents into the cabin of the vehicle it was decided that they should remove the woman from the vehicle. The injured and trapped woman was large in stature and despite Ms Mounsey’s efforts she was not able to move the driver’s seat backwards. She moved aside to let Mr Beasy take the woman’s torso and for Mr Finlayson to take the woman’s legs and Ms Mounsey assisted as best she could until the driver was removed from the car. This process took about 2-3 minutes and the flames by then had spread from the bonnet of the car to inside the cabin.

The woman then expressed concern for her dog which was in the back seat. Ms Mounsey returned to the burning car and opened the rear door allowing the dog to escape.

Once emergency services arrived they requested Mr Beasy to move his vehicle away from the area as there was a risk of explosion from the burning car.



(Unfortunately Mr Finalyson was not able to attend the ceremony)

To receive the Silver Medal

16. DAVID ALAN GRAY, of Kerang, Vic


in going to the rescue of a woman and six children from an armed assailant at Kerang on 9 August 2014.

At 11.00pm a man murdered his partner at Murrabit West. After murdering his partner he drove to the home of his former wife and her current husband Mr Gray. Three of the assailant’s children were at the address as well as two of Mr Gray’s and one other child who was staying over.

The assailant knocked on the door and his ex-wife opened the door and the assailant asked to see her current husband Mr Gray. Mr Gray refused to go outside and his wife slammed the door shut.

The assailant discharged two shots from a gun into the front door and Mr Gray suffered superficial injuries to his face and upper body and Mrs Gray suffered upper body, face and hand injuries.

Mrs Gray and three of the children managed to flee out through the back door while three other children remained asleep in the lounge room.

Mr Gray heard glass breaking surrounding the door and went to confront the assailant. A struggle ensued resulting in both men fighting over the shotgun and ending up on the front lawn of the house.

A neighbour, Mr Byrne, heard the initial shotgun blasts and calls by Mr Gray for help. He grabbed a knife from his kitchen for possible self defence and immediately ran to the scene. Mr Bryne grabbed the assailant by the shoulders and dragged him away from Mr Gray.

The assailant then fled the scene.



To receive the Posthumous Medal

18. ROGER BERTOCCI, of Altona North, Vic

in going to the rescue of a pregnant woman from being assaulted on 14 September 2014.

At 2.30pm Mr Bertocchi whilst driving witnessed a man head butting and punching a woman who was 22 weeks pregnant. The woman fell to the ground on the corner of a road which caused oncoming traffic to stop.

Mr Bertoci stopped his vehicle adjacent to where the offender was assaulting the woman. The offender ran to the passenger side of Mr Bertocci’s vehicle and attempted to punch the window. The offender was restrained by the pregnant woman and Mr Bertocci left his vehicle running and got out of the vehicle and the offender started to chase Mr Bertocci.

The offender pulled a knife out from under his clothing and grabbed hold of Mr Bertocci’s right shoulder and stabbed him three times to the left side of his torso.

Sadly, Mr Bertocci collapsed and died from the injuries he had sustained.

ROGER BERTOCCIThe Posthumous Medal

To receive the Bronze Medal

19. TRAVIS BENSON, of Wyndham Vale, Vic

in going to the rescue of four children from a car that had been driven into Lake Gladman at Wyndham Vale on 8 April 2015.

At 3.45pm a woman with her four children in her car drove into Lake Gladman and the vehicle became submerged.

Mr Benson ran across to the lake and down an embankment to the water’s edge. On nearing the lake he observed the vehicle stationery in the middle of the lake with a woman in the water outside the vehicle.

Mr Benson entered the water and began to wade and then swim to the vehicle. He approached the passenger side and saw a baby strapped into a baby seat in the rear. Mr Benson raised the alarm that children were in the vehicle to others who had arrived on the scene. Mr Benson discovered that the doors were locked and started to repeatedly punch the back glass window but was unable to break the glass.

A man on the lake bank threw a steel capped boot to Mr Benson who used it to break the rear cargo window. Mr Benson pulled the baby from the harness and out of the hole created in the cargo bay area. The baby was unresponsive and was not able to be resuscitated.

Mr Benson alerted CFA members who had arrived of the possibility of other children being present. The CFA members immediately located another child unconscious in the water and were able to successfully resuscitate her.

The other two children were located shortly after in water adjacent to the vehicle and sadly attempts to resuscitate them were unsuccessful.


To receive the Certificate of Merit

20. DALE EDWARDS, of Newstead, Vic

in gong to the rescue of a man whose hand was trapped in an oven at Kangaroo Flat on 11 January 2017

At 7.00am a man was wheeling a trolley containing numerous trays of bread into an oven for baking. The oven was set at 230°C. As he pushed the trolley the trays began sliding forward and as he attempted to grab the trays his hand became trapped in the oven.

Mr Edwards heard his cries for help and ran over to the bakery. He put his own hand into the oven to free the trapped man’s hand which took about 5-10 minutes.

DALE EDWARDS Certificate of Merit