They were the brave nine who battled heavy rain and dangerous chest-deep floodwaters to evacuate trapped residents, as all 65 homes in the West Australian community of Warmun were destroyed.

The March 2011 disaster devastated families in the East Kimberley, but the community has rebuilt their homes and the nine heroes are now being honoured for their bravery.

Kathleen Susan Burnby, Rodney John Burnby, Christopher James Churchill, Donald James Couper, Tanya Maree Couper, Cecil Peter Mosquito, Leon Pinday, Julie Ann Echo and the late Christopher Clare have all been bestowed with a group bravery citation in the annual Australian Bravery Awards.

BRAVERY AWARDS
I WATCHED SHARK EYEBALL ME: HERO
STAR OF COURAGE FOR PILOT
PAIR PUT ASIDE FEAR TO SAVE FISHERMAN
KNIFE HERO
ROLE IN BEACONSFIELD MINE RESCUE
COMMENDATIONS

Senior Constable Donald Couper, Mr Burnby - who was a senior sergeant at the time - and Mr Churchill have also been individually commended for their brave conduct.

Mr Burnby led the team which took several elderly residents to safety from the aged care centre, while Mr Churchill and Snr Const Couper moved two vehicles to higher ground.

Mr Burnby also led the group as they rescued two disabled people and their carers from Disability House.

He placed them in a dinghy and, with the help of Mr Churchill and Snr Const Couper, pushed the dinghy through the floodwater for about 20 minutes until they reached safety.

Later, a woman surrounded by water was spotted holding onto her dog and clinging to a metal pole.

AUSTRALIAN HEROES
BRAVE BROTHER RECOGNISED
FEARLESS GRANNY
RIVER RESCUER

Snr Const Couper and Mr Churchill used an inflatable pool to reach her before dragging the woman and her dog to safety.

Mr Churchill said he was happy to be recognised with the award, but did not think at the time about being brave. He says he was just willing to do whatever was necessary to help anyone who needed him.

"The main thing is that we didn't lose any lives," he told AAP.

"You can lose homes, but you don't ever want to lose any lives."

The father-of-six said the flood had been a harrowing ordeal, but the community was able to start again.

"It brought everyone closer together and love just flowed," he said.

AAP

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