Huon Valley News

Geeveston resident honoured for extraordinary act of bravery

The extraordinary actions of Huon Valley’s William (Bill) Yabsley have been recognised in a special ceremony at Tasmania’s Government House.

Mr Yabsley was one of just six Australians to receive a Bravery Medal in August last year. His selfless actions were honoured alongside Australia Day Honours recipients at Government House earlier this month.

The Bravery Medal decoration is given only to those who exhibit acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances.

The incident

Mr Yabsley was stopped in his car at a set of traffic lights in Hobart one afternoon in May 2015, when he heard a series of gunshots.

According to reporting at the time, he had travelled from Geeveston to the city to see a movie.

As he sat in his car, he saw a woman fleeing from a parked car in front of him, and a man armed with a rifle.

Mr Yabsley drove through oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the road towards the man, who then turned the rifle on him.

Somehow, Mr Yabsley managed to grab the weapon and wrench it away.

He was protected by two other men as the shooter tried to retrieve the rifle, and found an unresponsive woman in the parked car (the offender – her estranged husband – was later jailed for her murder) and the second, injured woman who had fled the scene.

He called emergency services, staying on the scene until they arrived.

High praise

Mr Yabsley has been described as a humble hero.

At the time, police thanked him for disarming and restraining the offender, describing his actions as “extremely brave” and “absolutely extraordinary.”

In his welcome at Government House, Lieutenant Governor of Tasmania, His Excellency the Honourable Alan Blow AO, thanked Mr Yabsley and other honour recipients on behalf of all Tasmanians.

“Honours help define, encourage and reinforce national aspirations, ideals and standards by identifying role models. We give honours to recognise, celebrate and say thank you to those who make a difference, those who achieve their best and those who serve others,” he said.

“On behalf of all Tasmanians, we thank you for your service and thank you for making a difference to our community and the lives of others.”

Congratulations, Bill Yabsley.

Photo caption: Acting Mayor Toby Thorpe with Bill Yabsley at Government House