Long-serving Bourke St security guard Frank Nesci was honoured by the Governor-General last month for his bravery.
His Commendation for Brave Conduct was in recognition for picking up a petrol bomb which was thrown into Kosminsky jewellery store on December 17 in 2013.
Mr Nesci said he was standing inside the store at about 3.30pm on the day when a Molotov cocktail was hurled into the store.
“I just heard this ‘whoosh’ sound and saw flames,” he said.
The long-neck, beer-bottle bomb crashed against a store counter, narrowly missing a customer but, luckily did not break.
“I just knew I had to get it outside, so picked it up,” he said.
Flaming petrol then burned his hand, but he managed to throw the bottle towards the door. He completed the task by kicking the bomb into the street and proceeded to douse the flames with a store fire extinguisher.
Mr Nesci’s commendation was one of 59 awards announced by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove on March 17.
Mr Nesci said he was honoured by the commendation. “It’s great to see people working in security being awarded for such actions,” he said.
Mr Nesci is well known in Bourke St, where he has spent the last 21 years watching out for the store. No one was ever charged over the offence and the motivation of the bomber remains a mystery.
His employer Kristen Albrecht and her late husband John Lonergan nominated Mr Nesci.
The Australian Bravery Decorations date from the establishment of the Australian honours system, and recognise acts of bravery in other than warlike situations, by people who put themselves in jeopardy to protect the lives or property of others.
Nominations are considered by the Australian Bravery Decorations Council, which is an independent advisory body that meets twice a year to consider nominations and make recommendations to the Governor-General for awards. The council, chaired by Dr Penny Flett AO, also recommends the level of awards.
“For over 40 years these honours have helped to define, encourage and reinforce our national aspirations and ideals by identifying role models,” Sir Peter said.
“Today, we add a new group of people to those whose lead all Australians should follow.”
“On behalf of all Australians, I thank them for their bravery. They are a source of courage, support and inspiration, and we are a stronger, safer and more caring nation because of them.”