Bronze Royal Humane Society of Australasia medal presented to 15 year old Florence (Florrie) Hodges to recognise the bravery of her actions in using her own body to protect her two sisters from harm during the Powelltown Bushfires, on Sunday 14th February 1926. It was awarded to her, with an accompanying certificate (HT33730), by the Societies directors on 22nd June, 1926, after interviewing her and other witnesses to the events of that day.

Florrie suffered serious burns, and spent a long period recovering from her injuries in St Vincents Hospital in Melbourne.

Although this certificate mentions Florrie's three sisters, Rita was rescued by another relative and avoided the worst of flames.

Physical Description

Boxed metal medal and ribbon.

Obverse Description

At centre, a female standing on left facing right placing a wreath on the head of a kneeling male beneath the Southern Cross, around, VIRTUTE PARATUM

Reverse Description

Around a wreath, ROYAL HUMANE SOCIETY OF AUSTRALASIA INSTD. A.D. 1874 within wreath, AWARDED TO FLORENCE E. HODGES / 14 . 2 . 26


This item is significant as part of a small collection documenting the aftermath of the brave actions of one young woman during the Powelltown Bush Fires, on Sunday 14th February, 1926. Trapped by the advancing flame, Florrie used her own body to shield two of her younger sisters from harm. Suffering horrific burns from the incident, she was taken to St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne, where she spent many months recovering from her ordeal.

News of her bravery spread across Australia, through the press and on radio, and she was soon recognised as a local hero. This notoriety assisted in helping raise funds for her, through several charities set up for this purpose. This included the raising of 1,000 pounds by school children in Victoria and Western Australia, which was presented to her in the leather purse in this collection (HT 33731.)

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