The Royal Humane Society of Australia

Press Releases



Two residents of Tasmania will be presented with bravery awards of The Royal Humane Society of Australasia:

on Friday 15 May 2015
at Government House, Hobart
at 4.30pm

The awards, two Bronze Medals will be presented by Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AM, Governor of Tasmania at the investiture of awards within the Order of Australia and the Society.

The awards recognize

  • The rescue of a man from drowning in the Forth River at Leith, Tas

Details of the rescue are attached

Contact: Sue Cutler (Secretary) (03) 9125 4408
Or visit our Web Site:


The Royal Humane Society of Australasia, formed in 1874, is concerned with giving public recognition to acts of bravery by making awards to those who risk their own lives to save the lives of others.
Over 8,290 awards have been made in the Society’s 140 years’ history.



STEPHEN JOHN ORME, police officer, aged 38 years, of Penguin Police Station, Tas, and;


SHANE ANDREW HOOPER, aged 37 years, of Railton, Tas, in going to the rescue of a man from drowning in the Forth River at Leith, Tas on 19 October 2010.

At 5.20pm a vehicle struck and broke the guard rail of the Forth River Bridge and fell into the river. Before the car sank the driver was able to get out of the vehicle but was unable to swim.

A man who had stopped at the scene retrieved a rope from his car and threw the rope to drowning man who was unable to grab the rope as he was struggling to stay afloat and was disoriented.

1st C Const Orme stopped at the scene and saw the man floating vertically face down in the water. 1st C Const Orme obtained a plastic tool box to use as a flotation device and then jumped 8m into the river. However during the water entry 1st C Const Orme lost the tool box as the lid broke off.

He swam to man and grabbed him by the back of the jacket and began swimming towards the western bank with him. A bystander, Mr Hooper who was on the bridge asked 1st C Const Orme if he required any further assistance and 1st C Orme told him that he did. Mr Hooper hesitated for a moment as he had almost drowned years before and had been revived and then jumped from the bridge and swam to the two men.

1st C Const Orme then saw the lid of the tool box floating nearby and told Mr Hooper to continue swimming with drowning man to the bank whilst 1st C Const Ormer retrieved the tool box lid.

Mr Hooper was able to grab the rope that had previously been thrown into the water and this allowed him to maintain his position in the water and keep the man afloat.

1st C Const Orme swam back to Mr Hooper and the drowning man and placed the upturned tool box under the man’s shoulders which kept his face out of the water and assisted with buoyancy. Whilst holding the rope both 1st C Const Orme and Mr Hooper swam with the man on the tool box to the pylon footing of the bridge.

Mr Hooper and 1st C Const Orme climbed out of the water holding the man by the collar and together they pulled him from the river onto the footing. The man was blue in colour and had water coming from his mouth and he was not breathing. Both 1st C Const Orme and Mr Hooper performed CPR on the man and he recovered.

The current in the river around the bridge was strong with an incoming tide and the water was extremely cold.