Photograph, Floodwater pole repair

Postmaster-General’s Department telegraph linesman, Chris Byrnes, received a British Empire Medal for bravery and devotion to duty for his response to the flooding at Darlington Point, New South Wales, in June 1952. As E Henderson, then Acting Director of Posts and Telegraphs recalled, the town’s "communication lines were menaced by floodwaters" when the nearby Murrumbidgee River flooded. In order to retain communication to the town, Chris Byrnes, a Postmaster-General’s Department employee of over 13 years, acted in the "best traditions of the service" (E Henderson).

An eye witness, recorded in the Murrumbidgee Irrigator newspaper on June 27 1952, described Byrne’s efforts: "An interesting incident was witnessed when a Leeton post office linesman swam through flood waters to reach a telegraph post which had been washed out by the flood…With a rope tied around his waist, one end of which was held by other members of the linesmen’s gang, Chris Byrne swam through the flood water…to release the trunk lines from the post."

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