On the morning of January 10, 2014, Narellan Vale man Ian Stoddart went to the rescue of three people caught in a rip at Burrill Lake on the south coast.
It was around lunchtime and Mr Stoddart was swimming at Burrill Beach, pictured, when a British man and his two young sons got into difficulties in a strong rip.
He immediately paddled out for 80 metres to the boys and assisted them safely to shore.
Despite being tired from his efforts to rescue the boys, Mr Stoddart entered the water again and began to make his way to the man.
The man disappeared from his view and when the waves cleared, he saw the man face down in the water.
On reaching the man, Mr Stoddart turned him over, placed him on his board and began to head to shore.
The waves were very large and the man slipped underwater twice, forcing Mr Stoddart to swim down to retrieve him from underwater.
Other surfers heard Mr Stoddart’s calls and came to assist.
The unconscious man was placed onto a surfboard and floated to the beach.
On reaching the shore, some bystanders came to assist and commenced CPR on the unconscious man until ambulance and police officers arrived.
Sadly the man was unable to be revived.
By his actions, Mr Stoddart displayed considerable bravery and today he was among 101 Australians awarded a bravery medal in the annual Australian Bravery Decorations.
The Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, announced the honours today to these outstanding Australians like Mr Stoddart, who without thought of personal risk, displayed courage and bravery to protect or defend others.
“On behalf of all Australians, I thank these Australians for their bravery. They are a source of courage, support and inspiration, and we are a stronger, safer and more caring nation because of them,” the Governor-General said.