Where are they now
First Australian Female Policewoman to be Awarded the Star of Courage ( SC )
Leah Helene RUDDER SC
AKA Leah RUDDER, Veg
Related to: David John RUDDER, NSWPF ProCst # 60367
“possible” relation in ‘the job’: ?
NSW Goulburn Police Academy – Class # 241
New South Wales Police Force
Regd. # 26513
Rank: Commenced Training at Goulburn Police Academy on Monday 24 April 1989 ( aged 18 years, 9 months,9 days )
Probationary Constable- appointed Friday 27 October 1989 ( aged 19 years, 3 months, 12 days )
Constable – appointed ? ? ?
Constable 1st Class – appointed ? ? ?
Detective – appointed ? ? ? ( NO )
Senior Constable – appointed ? ? ?
Final Rank: = Senior Constable
Stations: Wagga Wagga ( SPO ), Kings Cross ( ProCst )( GDs ),
Lower Hunter Command ( March 1996 – 23/12/10 )( Maitland )( Newcastle Crash Investigation Unit ) – Retired HOD 23/12/10.
Service: From 24 April 1989 to 23 December 2010 = 21 years, 1 month, 26 days Service
Retirement / Leaving age: = 40 years, 5 months, 8 days
Time in Retirement from Police: Continuing in Retirement
Awards: National Medal – granted ? ? ?
NSW Police Valour Award – granted 3 December 2003 ( SenCon )
NSW Police Medal with two Clasps ( 15 years, 20 years ) – granted ? ? ?
National Police Service Medal – granted ? ? ?
Star of Courage Medal ( SC )- granted 12 March 2007 ( SenCon )
Born: 15 July 1970 at Deniliquin, NSW
Memorial / Plaque / Monument located at: Australia’s 1st Female Police Officer to be Awarded the Star of Courage ( SC ).
The only female, having a number of life sized fixed banners, erected on “Heroes Walk” at the NSW Police Academy, Goulburn, NSW
Dedication date of Memorial / Plaque / Monument: Nil – at this time ( April 2023 )
PLEASE SEND PHOTOS AND INFORMATION TO Cal
May they forever Rest In Peace
I wish Leah and her family all the very best in life.
POLICE BRAVERY GROUP OF FIVE: (listed as mounted)
Star of Courage; National Medal; NSW Police Valour Award; NSW Police Medal, – two clasps – 15 Years, 20 Years; National Police Service Medal.
Leah Helene Rudder on reverse of suspension bar of first medal, Leah Helene Rudder on all other medals except the third medal which has Senior Constable Leah Helene Rudder.
All medals pantographed.
The first two and the second two medals court mounted as pairs, the last medal with pin-back suspender bar. Nearly uncirculated.
Together with booklet for Investiture at Government House and with Entry Card to Admit Senior Constable LH Rudder; booklet Attestation Parade, Constable Education Program, at which Senior Constable Rudder was presented with Commissioner’s Valour Award; letters of congratulations from important officials; various articles, newspaper clippings, posters and a host of other documents and photos relating to the courage and police service of Senior Constable Leah Rudder.
Star of Courage: Awarded by the Governor-General Michael Jeffery and presented at Government House, Canberra 12 March 2007.
Citation: In the early morning of 10 April 2003, Senior Constable Rudder rescued an unconscious man from a burning house at Tarro, New South Wales.
At around midnight, Senior Constable Rudder was driving into her driveway after work when she heard breaking glass and yelling coming from a neighbouring house. She drove to investigate and found a female using a garden hose through a window of a house that was on fire. The woman informed Senior Constable Rudder that she had called emergency services. The fire had engulfed the front section of the house. Senior Constable Rudder looked through a partially broken window to determine whether the occupant of the house was still inside.
Visibility was poor, so she used a steel bucket she found at the rear of the house to break more of the window. She was still unable to see inside and the window was too high for her to gain access, so she returned to the rear of the house and tried the back door. It was locked so she kicked the wooden door repeatedly until she had made a hole to crawl through. She was unable to gain access, however, due to intense heat and smoke. She returned to her vehicle, called for assistance and grabbed a torch. Senior Constable Rudder used the torch to smash a window and look inside for any occupants. She saw a man lying on the floor, wedged between the foot of a bed and the wall. She returned to her car to advise colleagues who had now arrived, that she was going inside to rescue the man. One of her colleagues went with her and they both entered the house through the hole in the rear door. They tried to drag the man from the house but he remained wedged and they were forced to retreat when they were overcome by the intense heat and thick smoke.
After getting some fresh air, they re-entered the house and, despite the fire gaining in intensity, returned to the bedroom. As they dragged the man to the door of the bedroom, the walls and ceiling began to collapse and both officers were showered with sparks and debris. The man became jammed in the doorway, and while Senior Constable Rudder tried to free him, her colleague was forced to retreat due to smoke inhalation. Senior Constable Rudder continued to pull the unconscious man by his feet down the hallway.
A colleague then assisted her in removing the man from the burning house to safety. By her actions, Senior Constable Rudder displayed conspicuous bravery.
NSW Police Commissioner’s Valour Award: Conferred upon Senior Constable Leah Helene Rudder 3 December 2003 by K.E.Moroney, Commissioner of Police.
Citation: In recognition of the extreme bravery and meritorious service displayed when undertaking the successful rescue of a person from a house fire at Tarro on 11 April 2003.
Senior Constable Rudder became aware of a residence which was well alight and ascertained that a person was inside. Access was gained by crawling through a hole in a door made whilst gaining entry to the building. The occupant was located unconscious and wedged between the wall and furniture. Unable to release the person, she exited the premises to call for additional support.
On the arrival of assistance a further attempt to release the occupant was undertaken. However, due to smoke inhalation and the intense heat both officers left the premises.
Undeterred and facing intense heat, acrid smoke and falling debris, Senior Constable Rudder re-entered the premises unaccompanied. On that occasion she was able to free the person and began pushing the occupant along the floor.
Although this situation presented a real threat to Senior Constable Rudder’s life, she maintained her resolve and was eventually able to complete a successful rescue with the assistance of other personnel.
By her actions Senior Constable Rudder displayed courage, professionalism and responsibility to the community in an extremely dangerous situation. She is highly commended for her valour under extreme duress.
Leah Helene Kennaway, born 15 July 1970 at Deniliquin, NSW and then moved to Goulburn where her father worked as Valuer General and here she attended Goulburn High School; moved to Wagga Wagga when her father was appointed Regional Valuer General and attended Kooringal High School there until completing her Higher School Certificate; joined NSW Police Force on 24 April 1989 as a Student Police Officer, this was the first class conducted under the new PREP (Pole Recruit Education Program), a 6-month training course that included a placement period at Wagga Wagga Police Station;
attested to rank of Probationary Constable 24 Oct 1989 and stationed at Kings Cross Police Station where she performed General Duties Police, both mobile and beat patrol;
confirmed as a Constable Oct1990; for next 5 years at Kings Cross Patrol she performed secondments with various roles and duties within Sydney Charge Room and Cell Complex, Prisoner Transport Unit, Riot Squad and Sexual Assault Unit;
one of only a few female officers to train with the newly formed Riot Squad and highly sought-after IROC (Initial Response Officer’s Course) selected and specifically trained to take sexual assault statements from victims;
appointed Constable First Class in 1995;
married on 07 Jan 1995 to police officer David John Rudder;
twin boy and girl born prematurely at Paddington, Sydney NSW on 30 Aug 1995;
Senior Constables David and Leah Rudder transferred to Lower Hunter Command in Mar 1996,
David stationed at Cessnock Police Station and
Leah at Maitland Police Station where she performed duties General Duties, Domestic Violence, Warrant and Summons, Sexual Assault and as a Police Negotiator; she had another son born in 1998 and continued to work in a part-time capacity at Maitland Police Station as a Domestic Violence Liaison Officer for the Lower Hunter Command encompassing 17 police stations and also continued working as an IROC Officer, Police Negotiator and later as an Investigator at Newcastle Crash Investigator Unit;
Senior Constable Leah Rudder was medically discharged from the NSW Police Force with both physical and psychological injuries on 23 December 2010 after a 22-year career.
Senior Constable Leah Rudder was the first female police officer in Australia to be awarded the Star of Courage. She was also given the honour of being the only female of a number of life size fixed banners erected on ‘Heroes Walk‘ at the NSW Police Academy and she appears in The Who’s Who of Australia 2008 and the Valour Roll at the NSW Police Academy.
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A policewoman’s single-minded determination to save an unconscious man from his burning NSW home has been recognised with one of Australia’s highest-ranked bravery awards.
Senior Constable Leah Rudder is one of two heroes announced Monday as being awarded with the Australian Bravery Decorations’ Star of Courage medal.
The other brave Australian to receive the star is South Australian truck driver Daryl Smith who rescued a man from a burning car after an accident in 2002.
The star is awarded for non-military acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril where people put themselves in jeopardy to protect the lives or property of others.
Hours after dragging 42-year-old Charlton Redding away from the flames and smoke engulfing his home at Tarro, near Maitland, in 2003, Sen Const Rudder said: “I had one thing in mind – to get him out alive”.
The officer, who had served 14 years with the force and was aged 32 at the time of the rescue, had finished a 15 hour shift about midnight on April 11, 2003, when she pulled up in the driveway of her home.
She heard explosions, breaking glass and yelling coming from her neighbours’ yard and quickly realised Mr Redding’s house was on fire.
The mother of three called for back-up and discovered Mr Redding was still alive, but unconscious and wedged between a bed and a wall.
After about 20 kicks she managed to smash through the back door and was joined at that stage by Senior Constable Jules Moylan, 35.
However, heavy smoke and heat forced the officers to retreat a short time later.
They regrouped and forged into the home a second time as fire started to rip through walls and the ceiling began to collapse.
They managed to get Mr Redding to the hallway near the back door before again being forced back.
Const Moylan was so badly affected by smoke he could not go back again. It was then that Const Rudder fully realised she was risking her life.
“It was a hard choice – I was very tempted at one stage to just let him go, I’d tried … but I’m a very determined person,” she said on the day of the rescue.
“But we knew he was still alive, we were so close to getting him out, we had minutes left.”
Sen Const Rudder is still in the force, working with a domestic violence unit in the NSW Hunter Valley.
Since 1975, and including Monday’s awards, there have been 129 stars awarded. The highest award in the scheme is the Cross of Valour.
Hunter police recognised for house fire rescue
Three Hunter Valley police officers have been recognised for their bravery, after they helped rescue a man from a burning house near Maitland four years ago.
Senior constables Leah Rudder, Jules Moylan and Gregory Payne helped save the unconscious man in the early hours of April 10, 2003.
Senior Constable Rudder, who was returning home from work, came across the burning building at Tarro and spotted the man lying on the bedroom floor.
She and Senior Constable Moylan had to make several attempts to save him, after being overcome by intense heat and thick smoke.
At one stage, the walls and ceiling started to collapse – Senior Constable Gregory Payne then came to assist.
Senior constables Rudder and Moylan have received the Star of Courage, while Senior Constable Payne has been recognised with a Commendation for Brave Conduct.
Nothing further, than what is recorded above, is known about this person at the time of publication and further information and photos would be appreciated.