The 32-year-old father of three went to the aid of a father whose four children were caught in rough surf at Wollongong City Beach, south of Sydney.
The father of the children managed to pull his two younger children to safety, but his two older children aged 10 and 12 were caught in the rip.
An off-duty paramedic at the beach pulled the ten year-old boy to shore.
The Victorian man came to the aid of the eldest child, but then got himself into trouble.
A local surfer reached the pair and got the 12-year-old boy to shore, but the man was swept out to sea.
A witness at the scene told the Sydney Morning Herald she was at the beach with her children when she heard “yelling and screaming”.
“I could hear some kids screaming out, and then we looked and could see them floating out,” she said.
“There wasn’t enough help, they were in distress.”
Three police officers who arrived at the scene at around 4:30pm, entered the water and brought the drowning man onto the beach.
NSW Ambulance paramedics commenced CPR on the man at the scene, but he was unresponsive and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Two of the children and the off-duty paramedic were also taken to hospital for assessment.
The children have since been released, while the off-duty paramedic currently remains in hospital.