HONOURED: Gogango Rural Fire Service first officer Neale Dunphy works during a fire.
HONOURED: Gogango Rural Fire Service first officer Neale Dunphy works during a fire.

Long-serving firefighter gets Queens Bday honours award

GOGANGO'S Neale Dunphy still remembers the harrowing night he had to haul a woman's lifeless body from her car while it was underwater.

A motorist, John Doyle, and his son Harold were driving through Gogango in February 2009 when a flash flood struck.

The flood prompted John and his son to pull over to the side of the road to wait for the water to subside.

While they were waiting they heard screams nearby.

Upon closer inspection, they saw a young family clinging to tree branches in the water of a nearby creek.

Without any regard for their own safety, John and Harold quickly jumped into the fast-flowing creek to the help the family of four.

They approached the woman who was carrying the family's youngest child and took the baby to safety.

Neale Dunphy raced to the scene and joined arms with John to try to reach the woman, but she had died.

Memories of a similar night at Gogango Creek, in 1992, came rushing back. He had helped rescue two people when their utility truck was washed off the road by floodwater.

Neale received a commendation and the bravery medal.

He can now add another award to his mantle after being named one of three Central Queenslanders in this year's Queen's Birthday honours list.

He will receive the Australian Fire Service Medal for his ongoing promotion of fire hazard mitigation and leadership.

Neale has been a firefighter for 36 years.

"It's a 24-hour job ... you work long hours but the career is rewarding," he said.

"A lot of our crews are dedicated to their job."



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