Tributes for heroic surf lifesavers

Tributes for heroic surf lifesaversThere have been tributes and a minute’s silence in Parliament to honour father and son surf lifesavers Ross and Andrew Powell from the Port Campbell Surf Life Saving Club.

They tragically lost their lives on Easter Sunday during a surf rescue mission with fellow surf lifesaver Phillip Younis, who was seriously injured while saving a tourist.

“The loss of this father and son—compassionate, selfless, hardworking men with so, so much to live for and so much to look forward to, loved by their community—is a tragedy of the worst kind,” said Premier Daniel Andrews.

“And yet somehow their families, their colleagues and their community must find the courage to go on. As they do we stand by their side,” he said.

The Premier said this tragedy reminds us of so many who do so much, putting the safety of others ahead of their own safety, making that sacrifice and serving our community.

“To each and every one of them we owe a great debt—a great debt—and it is only appropriate to acknowledge that broader surf lifesaving community, the broader volunteer community and all of those who work in our emergency services,” Mr Andrews said.

“They do us proud every day, and at these moments they are a family who close ranks and support each other in such a beautiful way. From great tragedy comes the very best of humanity. Just as those in the local community and those who share that bond of service are supporting the Powell family, the government, and I know many other members of this chamber through personal connections, will provide that important support.”

Leader of the Opposition Michael O’Brien said the word ‘hero’ should be reserved for people like Ross and Andy Powell, who risked and lost their lives saving another, saving a stranger, volunteering to put themselves in harm’s way for no reward other than the knowledge that they were helping their fellow man. “That is heroic,” he said.

“It is a tragedy on many levels that they have been taken from their family and their community, and yet the manner of their passing shows who they were as volunteers—people who put their community above themselves and, in this tragic case, their own lives,” Mr O’Brien said.

There were also tributes from other members of parliament in both the Legisaltive Assembly and Legislative Council. Condolences were offered to all who loved and served alongside these heroic surf lifesavers. The tributes can be read in the Hansard for 30 April 2019.


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