by Martin Volz
DURING his visit to Charleville, Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey commended a group of emergency workers and volunteers for their heroic acts in the September 2014 truck explosion at Angellala Creek.
The Star of Courage decorations were awarded at the Charelville RSL Club last Tuesday. The medals were awarded to fire brigade and police personnel who helped save eight injured people from the 52 tonne explosion of ammonium nitrate.
Since its inception, the Star of Courage has been awarded 150 times. Last week, six of those awards were presented for heroic acts in perilous circumstances.
"That statistic alone brings home the extremely hazardous nature of the incident and the exceptional action taken by the four firefighters and the truck-drivers,” Mr de Jersey said.
The scene of the accident, Angellala Creek Bridge on the Mitchell Highway, has also been renamed - honouring those injured, and the volunteers and emergency workers who attended to the crash.
It is now officially called Heroes Bridge.
Mr de Jersey said the investiture ceremony and bridge renaming stood to symbolise not only the selflessness of the award recipients but also the character of the Charleville district in fighting flood, drought and serving Australia in World Wars I and II.
"On that occasion (2014), I saw the courage, the determination, and the indomitable optimism of the people of Charleville” he said.
"Each of you has put the well-being of others ahead of your own safety and, in the process, has shown us all that we can be a better, more compassionate nation.”