Brothers awarded for rescue
Brave act is recognised 45 years later
A BRAVE act at a notorious Coast swim spot has been officially recognised more than 45 years after two brothers risked their lives to save two young girls.
Jim and Hugh McClelland were 16 and 15 when their patrol of Bulcock Beach for Ithaca-Caloundra City Life Saving Club took a dramatic turn on the afternoon of January 9, 1974.
Girls aged about 10 and 11 were spotted on small rented surfboards caught in an outgoing current and being sucked out to sea through dangerous surf at the Caloundra bar.
Jim, now 62, recalled barely being able to keep up with the girls as he, Hugh and another patrol member, David Robson, sprinted along the sand.
“I remember hitting the surf and it was like a washing machine,” Jim said.
They lost the girls and found them again repeatedly as they were churned in the waves.
Somehow they managed to hang on to the girls as they were sucked beyond the breakers and south along the northern end of Bribie Island.
They each carried a girl on their backs as they fought the current for more than an hour to get back to shore, more than 1.5km south of the bar.
They were fine, but Mr Robson was hospitalised for exhaustion, such was the effort of his sprint to alert the Kings Beach inspector.
Jim said neither he nor Hugh, now 60, had heard from the girls since that day.
He said it was a “hell of a surprise” to receive confirmation earlier this month their efforts had earned Bravery Medals in the Australian Bravery Awards.
“It’s a good memory from the point of view it was very successful,” Jim said.
HONOUR: Brothers Hugh and Jim McClelland have received bravery medals for a rescue at Bulcock Beach in January 1974.