b. 13/11/1954 East Melbourne, Australia.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 04/06/1976 Melbourne, Australia.
Michael Kenneth Pratt (1954-) was born in East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 13th November 1954. He was one of six children born to Kenneth and Valda Pratt (nee Warry) and was educated at the Christian Brothers Parade College in Bundoora, and Preston Technical School, both in Victoria. On 5th February 1973, he joined the Victoria State Police as Cadet No 1465 at the age of 18. He was sworn in as a constable on 26th September that year and was posted “on the beat” at Russell Street Station on 12th June 1974. He married Dianne Ellen Fell on 28th February 1976 and the couple went on to have a son (Stephen) and three daughters (Danielle, Amanda and Michelle).
On the morning of 4th June 1976, three armed men entered the Clifton Hill Bank. One of the men ordered the staff to lie on the floor, another jumped over the counter and removed money from the tills, while the third remained in the public area and fired a shot in the direction of the manager and a customer when they ran towards the rear of the bank. Constable Pratt was off duty and unarmed. He was driving past the bank and saw the men entering the bank. He could see that they were masked and carrying a firearm. He immediately turned his car, switched on the lights and, sounding the horn, mounted the kerb, blocking the entrance. He instructed a passer-by to call for police assistance. The raiders were taken by surprise, but one of them threatened Pratt with a gun, signalling to him to move the car. He refused, removed the key from the ignition and armed himself with the handle of the car jack. The men then attempted to leave by kicking in the lower section of the glass door and climbing over the bonnet of the car. As the first man straddled the front of the car Pratt grabbed him firmly, and during the struggle the robber was knocked unconscious. By this time a second gunman had left the bank and climbed over the car; he now aimed his weapon and threatened to shoot Pratt from close range. The first man had by now recovered consciousness and was getting to his feet, so the officer grabbed him again; as he did so, the man called to the gunman to shoot the officer. A shot was fired, and Pratt was seriously wounded. The men then fled the scene.
His GC was announced on 4th July 1978, and the three robbers were eventually arrested, charged and convicted. Their sentences ranged from 6 to 18 years. Pratt’s injuries were so severe he was given the last rites by a priest whilst lying on a trolley in the emergency ward of St Vincent’s Hospital. He lost nearly three pints of blood, and remained in intensive care for eight days, before a further 3 weeks in St Vincent’s before fully recovering.
Following the incident, he was forced to retire from the Victoria Police Force on 21st July 1979, aged just 24. After the shooting, he had been off work for 2 and a half years. However, he later got a job with the Victoria Totalizator Board where he worked until 1986. Afterwards, he ran his own delivery business, followed by a pizza restaurant, until 1992. After a further job with a fire protection company, he rejoined the Victoria Police Force as an administrator in December 1996. He regularly attends the reunions of the VC and GC Association, and now has 8 grandchildren.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: WITH RECIPIENT.
Michael Pratt GC's plaque at George Cross Memorial Park, Canberra
July 2018 at Nowra, NSW (Pictured with George Wheatley, son of Kevin Wheatley VC who also took the photograph)