Prestigious bravery award for Kallangur teenager

Published 10:05pm 26 March 2024

Prestigious bravery award for Kallangur teenager
Words by Jodie Powell

A Kallangur teenager who rescued his six-year-old cousin from a dingo attack on K’gari (Fraser Island) last year has received a national award for his bravery.

William Farley, 13, is one of 89 people to be honoured with an Australian Bravery Decoration for their courageous actions receiving a Commendation for Brave Conduct.

This year’s 50 Decorations recognise acts of bravery where people selflessly put themselves in jeopardy to protect the lives or property of others.

Announcing the awards, Governor-General David Hurley says the courage of recipients is commendable and their selflessness inspirational.

“In a moment of peril, each of the people we are recognising decided to come to the aid of someone else,” the Governor-General says.

“Often their actions were at a cost to themselves. Tragically, two recipients lost their own lives.”

Quick reaction

Prestigious bravery award for Kallangur teenager
An earlier image taken by William Farley of a dingo near the ocean at K'gari (Fraser Island), with a shark in the background.

William, who was 12 at the time, was holidaying with family on the island when the attack occurred on April 3, 2023.

The Year 9 student at Mount Maria Petrie says his family had just set up for afternoon tea at Waddy Point on the north-east side of the island when he noticed a dingo walking along the shoreline.

“We were only about five to 10 metres from the water at the lagoon and my cousin was playing in the water,” William says.

“I spotted the dingo and stood up and started walking towards it.

“Then it looked at my cousin and all you could see was her head out of the water.

“It leapt at her and put its two front legs on her shoulders and bit her finger and behind her ear.”

Exercising caution

Reacting quickly, William says he rushed forward screaming and fought off the dingo until it released his cousin and ran away.

“I chased it and then turned around and my cousin’s mum was helping her and crying.

“My cousin was bleeding, so we took her back to the house and the ranger did some first aid.”

William says the little girl was taken to Hervey Bay Hospital by helicopter to be treated for her injuries but was well enough to return to the island the next day.

“She was happy that she got a helicopter ride, and she’s really good now,” he says.

William’s father, David, is extremely proud of his son’s actions and says the family’s decades-long connection with K’gari made them acutely aware of the dangers of sharing the island with dingoes.

“The family’s been going there for 40 years, so we’re always really careful.”

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