Actor and playwright Billie Brown and a Brisbane man who risked his life to save others are among the recipients of Australian awards announced today.

The group was honoured at a ceremony at Brisbane’s Government House.

Amy Kelly reports.


Queenslanders from all walks of life came together today to receive some of Australia’s highest honours.

Topping the list of those recognised was Shakespearean actor and playwright Bille Brown.

He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to the performing arts and education.

Bille Brown, AM: “It was really wonderful because I was among soldiers and people who have in their quiet way made extraordinary and precious contributions to their society.”

Thomas Webb received a Commendation for Brave Conduct for saving the lives of three people in Brisbane’s west during a flash flood.

In 2009 Thomas Webb swam 15 metres across the swollen Pullen Pullen Creek to rescue a trio whose 4WD had been swept from the road.

Today he was one of many Australians honoured for selfless bravery and inspirational achievements.

Thomas Webb, Award recipient: “Well I suppose I helped save a life, or many lives, yeah.”

The reluctant hero said it was an honour to sit alongside the community’s high achievers.

Thomas Webb, Award recipient: “Yeah I felt a little bit out of place but it was great.”

The majority of today’s 22 recipients were announced in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday honours list in June.

Queensland Governor Penelope Wensley presented the awards in a ceremony she described as one of the most satisfying events to be hosted at Government House.

Ceremonies continue throughout the week.

Amy Kelly, QUT News.