Governor-General Quentin Bryce approved him as a recipient of the Commendation for Brave Conduct award yesterday.
The incident occurred at a Woodlands house on September 17, 2009, while Mr Brownlow and fellow workmates were packing an industrial crane attached to a trailer they had been using to install a pool on site.
As Mr Brownlow was walking up the driveway he saw the crane and trailer rolling down an incline.
He noticed the driver was stuck between the 20-tonne crane and the trailer, hanging onto the vehicle while being dragged with it.
Mr Brownlow was quick to act to stop his colleague being crushed.
‘I yelled at the driver Eric to let go,’ he said.
‘The brakes had failed so I grabbed him by the collar and threw him out of the way.
‘I then tripped and fell on my face and I thought I need to watch out for the wheels which were very close to my head.’
The wheels missed Mr Brownlow’s head, but they ran over his left leg. He was then pinned down by the trailer.
‘My left leg was pinned for about one to two minutes before the workers reversed the vehicle off me and dragged me out of the way,’ he said.
‘I was screaming; it was the most painful thing I had ever experienced.
‘I came very close to losing my left leg. I basically had to have it reconstructed.
Mr Brownlow spent five weeks in hospital and needed 13 operations.
‘It took me a couple of years to recover,’ he said.
Despite the pain he went through and the slight physical impairment he now has to live with, Mr Brownlow said he had no regrets.
‘I’ve always believed that when someone is in trouble you should act to help them,’ he said.
‘I would much prefer to have gone through that pain than watch someone die.
‘It was a life-changing experience for the better.
‘I’m very lucky to have saved Eric and very lucky to come out OK myself.’