Governor General Quentin Bryce has announced that Joseph and Carole Sherry will receive posthumous bravery medals for the courage shown when they lost their lives trying to save their children in the surf at South Ballina Beach in January last year.
Governor General Quentin Bryce has announced that Joseph and Carole Sherry will receive posthumous bravery medals for the courage shown when they lost their lives trying to save their children in the surf at South Ballina Beach in January last year.

Courageous parents honoured

THE tragic drowning of Joseph and Carole Sherry at South Ballina Beach in January last year will be remembered today as the pair are honoured with posthumous bravery medals.

Mr and Mrs Sherry, aged 42 and 44, of Sydney, died on January 19 last year when they swam out to help their two youngest children, who had been caught in a rip at the notoriously dangerous stretch of beach.

Watching her children being swept out to sea, Mrs Sherry ran into the water, but she was a weak swimmer and soon began to struggle against the waves.

Mr Sherry then decided to leave his 17-year-old autistic daughter on the shore and go into the water to help his family, but he also found himself in difficulty.

The children were able to make their way back to shore.

Both Mr and Mrs Sherry lost consciousness in the rough conditions.

Local residents and surf rescue volunteers brought the couple back to shore, but they could not be revived.

Their three children – Monique, Elise and Nicholas – are now orphans and live with their grandmother.

Governor General Quentin Bryce announced the Australian Bravery Decorations today, saying the bravery medals were “specifically for acts of courage, where people placed themselves at risk of injury or death to assist others”.

“Today's announcement of national bravery awards recognises the heroic actions of those amongst us who have placed the safety and lives of others before their own,” Ms Bryce said.

“We are privileged to have such role models in our society, and it is an honour to be able to recognise their acts of selfless bravery and thank them publicly for their brave actions.”

Mr and Mrs Sherry were recommended for bravery medals by Coroner Jeff Linden as part of his findings that were handed down at the conclusion of the coronial inquest.