The Royal Humane Society of Australia

Press Releases




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

on Wednesday 11 December 2019

at Government House, Melbourne

at 2.30pm

Media arrival from 2.00pm – 2.15pm

The Society awards – 2 Silver Medals, 4 Bronze Medals, and 1 Certificate of Merit - will be presented by The Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria.

Awards recognize rescues from:

  • assault and an armed assailant
  • car accidents
  •  the sea and surf
  •  a burning building
  • a person suffering a cardiac arrest

Details of the rescues are attached.

Contact:          Sue Cutler (Secretary & Office Manager)             03 9125 4408


To Receive the Bronze Medal:

  1. 1. NICHOLAS WHITE, of Sidonia, Vic
  1. 2. DANIEL LEE WHITE, of Kyneton, Vic

in going to the rescue of a man from a crashed and burning car at Baynton on 30 March 2018.

At 9.30am a man was driving his car along the Burke & Wills Track when he veered off the road and collided into a group of trees.

Messrs Nick and Daniel White were driving north on the road when they observed the smashed vehicle and the driver trapped in the driver’s seat and saw smoke coming from the vehicle.  Nick ran to the driver’s aid while Daniel drove the car to the top of the hill to ring 000 and to position the car to warn oncoming drivers.  Daniel then ran back down the hill to assist his brother.

Nick reached into the car to undo the driver’s seat belt and with the help of Daniel they pulled him out of the car through the rear driver’s side door and away from the vehicle as the fire started to expand into surrounding grassland.

NICHOLAS WHITE                                                            BRONZE MEDAL

DANIEL LEE WHITE                                                        BRONZE MEDAL

To Receive the Bronze Medal:

  1. 3. ASHLEY ATKIN-FONE, of Edithvale, Vic

in going to the rescue of numerous people from a burning building which had been deliberately set on fire on 18 November 2016 at Springvale.

At 11.15am a man entered a bank and started to pour petrol onto the floor at the front of the building were ATM’s were located and continued the trail of petrol inside the main body of the bank onto the carpeted area past a second set of automated glass doors.

The man walked back to a pool of petrol on the carpet and using a cigarette lighter ignited the petrol.  A large ball of flame erupted preventing staff and customers from exiting via the only available egress point.  The bank started to fill up quickly with heavy black smoke making it extremely difficult to see and escalating the level of panic and confusion.

Mr Atkin-Fone was working nearby when he heard a large explosion and saw thick black smoke coming out of the shattered front glass doors of the bank.

Mr Atkin-Fone went into the store next door and obtained a fire extinguisher.  He entered the bank and started to use the fire extinguisher and called out to see if anyone was in the vicinity as visibility was only about 2m.  When he received no response he exited the bank suffering from smoke inhalalation.

ASHLEY ATKIN-FONE                                                                 BRONZE MEDAL

To Receive the Silver Medal:

  1. 4. PAUL MAXWELL EWERT, of Newport, Vic

in going to the rescue of three people from two crashed and burning cars at Invergordon on 26 October 2016.

A truck and a Holden Commodore Sedan collided, causing the Commodore to become engulfed in flames.

Mr Black was the driver of another vehicle which was following the Holden Commodore and he swerved left down a 2m embankment to avoid hitting both the Commodore and the truck.

Mr Black saw that the Commodore was in a ditch and there was smoke coming from the front of the vehicle and he saw someone struggling to get out of the front passenger door.

Mr Black went to the crashed car and saw Mr Ewert on the ground badly injured and in a lot of pain.  A small grass fire had started and so Mr Black helped Mr Ewert move away from the crash scene.  Mr Ewert said that another person was in the rear of the car and Mr Black noticed someone moving around in the car.  The trapped man started trying to get out of the back broken window of the car but the roof was crushed and Mr Black grabbed him by the shoulders and started pulling him.

Despite his injuries Mr Ewert helped Mr Black to pull the man out through the smashed back window and they moved him to safety.

Sadly the driver of the car was trapped and died at the scene.

(Please note that Mr Andrew Black has been awarded the 2019 Clarke Silver Medal for the most outstanding act of bravery considered for the year and will be bestowed with his award by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia at a separate ceremony)

PAUL MAXWELL EWERT                                                          SILVER MEDAL

To Receive the Bronze Medal:

  1. 5. JED LOVELL, of Tootgarook, Vic

in going to the rescue of a man from drowning at Gunnamatta Surf Beach on 24 December 2018

At 5.00pm a man was swimming in the surf on his boogie board when he got pulled out to sea by a rip and dragged 300m from shore as he was buffeted by an undertow and 2m waves.

Mr Lovell, a former Point Leo lifesaver was alerted to the situation and swam out to help and told the man to let go of his boogie board which was breaking up.  Mr Lovell then started to sidestroke with the man to the shore but the relentless waves made it very difficult.

Mr Lovell finally managed to push the man through the water to a sand bank about 100m from shore.

JED LOVELL                                                                                   BRONZE MEDAL

To Receive the Silver Medal:

  1. 6. ALLAN LYNDON DRECHSLER, of Neds Corner, Vic

in going to the rescue of two people from being assaulted at Neds Corner on 19 October 2017.

As a result of a family violence dispute, a man, his partner and his daughter were at home when they were attacked by the man’s estranged wife.  The wife armed with a boning knife and a metal bar smashed the rear window of her husband’s house and entered the property through the window.  She approached the man’s partner, who terrified was lying on the floor.

The wife held the metal pole on the chest of the man’s partner and started to stab her until her husband intervened.

The husband wrestled his wife to the ground and took the knife away from her but the wife however still had hold of the metal pole.

The man told his partner and daughter to run and get help from their neighbour, Mr Drechsler.  Mr Drechsler had heard screaming coming from the house and went outside to discover the man’s partner and daughter pleading for him to come and help.

Mr Drechsler looked inside the house via the back door and saw the husband and wife wrestling on the floor.  Mr Drechsler went to the husband’s aid and grabbed the wife’s arms and restrained her until the police arrived.

ALLAN LYNDON DRECHSLER                                                 SILVER MEDAL

To Receive the Certificate of Merit:

  1. 7. JOHN SNELL, of Camberwell, Vic

in going to the rescue of a man who had a cardiac arrest at South Yarra on 19 June 2019.

Whilst at lunch an elderly man fell unconscious.

Dr Snell and a fellow diner went to the man and quickly determined that he had no pulse.  Dr Snell requested assistance to lay the man on the floor and then commenced CPR, a demanding process that was noticeably challenging for a 95 year old.

Another man monitored the man’s condition and advised Dr Snell that a weak pulse had returned and Dr Snell discontinued his efforts approximately three minutes after commencing CPR.

Dr Snell was completely exhausted and had to be assisted back to his seat.

Emergency services arrived and took the man to hospital where he made a complete recovery.

JOHN SNELL                                                                       CERTIFICATE OF MERIT