A man who saved a young woman from the jaws of a three-metre shark has been awarded the nation's second highest honour for bravery.
Queenslander Trevor Burns has been awarded the Star of Courage, leading 151 people who have been honoured for their heroics with Australian Bravery Awards.
Mr Burns was snorkelling with a tour group north-east of Garden Island, near Rockingham in Western Australia, when Elyse Frankcom was attacked by the monster shark.
As other swimmers fled back to the boat, Mr Burns immediately grabbed the animal's tail in an attempt to stop the attack.
When the shark released Ms Frankcom, who had been guiding the group, Mr Burns dove four metres to rescue her despite the large amounts of blood in the water and the shark still lurking in the area.
"As it's come up and latched on to her, it did a double bite and started thrashing around. It was immediately below me and I sort of grabbed it," Mr Burns said.
"There's not much you can do against a shark that size.
"Obviously holding on to it and whilst she was being bitten, Elyse turned and punched it, so the combination of the two of us fighting back obviously gave it a bad taste."
Of the 151 individuals to receive gongs, 100 of them were Queenslanders - the majority for their heroics during the 2011 floods.
Samuel Matthews, 20, received a posthumous bravery award after losing his life in an attempt to get his family to safety.
His sister Sarah Norman says he saved his family as a wall of water roared through Murphy's Creek.
"Sam saw Victoria to the attic and helped her up there and then he went back to help mum and dad and as he did that a fairly big surge of water came through," she said.
Raymond Bruckner and his neighbour Ernst Gomsi were awarded Bravery Medals for rescuing two men clinging to a powerline in flood waters at Lowood.
Mr Bruckner says the duo paddled out in a canoe to investigate after they heard screams for help.
"We didn't have life jackets, and I couldn't swim at the time - I've got lessons since - but I just said to Ernst, 'Well, what do you do? They've just seen us and you can't really turn around'," Mr Bruckner said.
"So Ernst simply said 'Look, we are just going to turn into it. We are just going to paddle hard and try to grab one'."
The Ipswich swift-water rescue team was awarded one of 15 Group Bravery Citations for its work during the floods in the Lockyer Valley.
Firefighter Phillip Paff says the crew had no choice but to put their own lives at risk to save others.
"We went down that driveway - we were met by a family that was trapped in the flood water," he said.
"That torrent of water was behind the house and in front of the house and we just made a decision then and there, without any support and no chance of any support in that environment, to just go and get that family."
Mr Paff says it was physically exhausting work under tough conditions, but the risk was worth it.
"I did have a few moments when I thought, 'I really shouldn't be into this', but when you are confronted with a family of four on the other side of the torrent and you can see the fear in their faces and the realisation of the danger that they were in, there was no question about what we were going to do," he said.
Tug boat drivers Doug Hislop and his colleague Peter Fenton received commendations for safely manoeuvring a 300-tonne section of the riverwalk along the Brisbane River after it broke free during the floods.
The two men ventured out on the tug boat after hearing the chunk was a major risk to life and property.
Mr Hislop says it is something he would do again, but the mission was not without its challenges.
"We had to get there for a start, which was probably the hardest part," he said.
"[And then] because the thing was lying across, we had to line it up and down and get it through without getting it tangled up in any of the eddies and whirlpools that were running."
There are four different levels of individual bravery awards handed out: the Cross of Valour, the Star of Courage, the Bravery Medal, and the Commendation for Brave Conduct.
Only five people have ever been awarded the Cross of Valour, while 141 people have received the Star of Courage.
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