Harold Sternbeck Medal

Harold Sternbeck was active in the FMA from 1972, Chairman from 1991 to 1999 and Deputy Chairman in 2003 to 2004.

In recognition of his extensive service to Floodplain Management Australia and his prowess as a persuasive public speaker FMA established the Harold Sternbeck Medal in the year 2000.

The medal is awarded to an outstanding presenter at the Annual Conference.

Winners of the Harold Sternbeck Medal

  • 2024 - Willow Forsyth: 'Know Your Flood Risk' - Simple Advice for a Profoundly Misunderstood Learning Context
  • 2024 Highly Commended - Stephen Yeo: Hawkesbury-Nepean River Flood Study - Key Features and Findings
  • 2024 Highly Commended - Mark Babister: Impacts of the New ARR Climate Change Factors on Flood Planning Levels
  • 2023 - Jonah Chorley: A Thousand Gauges - Using Personal Weather Stations to Hindcast Extreme Weather Forecasts
  • 2023 Highly Commended - Alex Nero: Catastrophes, Conversations and Classrooms - Empowering Children to Lead Community Flood Resilience
  • 2023 Highly Commended - Danny Rose: Five Years Between Major Floods: What's Changed?
  • 2022 - Alex Nero: Mental Health and Extreme Weather Events - Considering the Connections, Impacts and Risks
  • 2022 Highly Commended - Cath Walker: Getting the Most Out of Flood Studies - Connecting Consultants, Councils and Classrooms
  • 2022 Highly CommendedDavid Tetley: How Vegetation Changes Have Altered Flood Levels in the Hawkesbury Nepean
  • 2022 Highly Commended - Ella Harrison: The Future of Flood Risk Management in Queensland
  • 2021 - Prawi Woods: Rehydrating the Floodplain to Save the Endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog
  • 2021 Highly Commended - Claire Turrell: Aboriginal Storytelling of Flooding in the Hunter Valley Catchment, NSW
  • 2019 - Chris GoochFloodSmart Parramatta - A Total Flood Warning Service
  • 2019 Highly Commended - Kara AglliasMainstream Technology Trends - Identifying New Vulnerabilities and Opportunities in Flood Emergency Management
  • 2019 Highly Commended - Philip ConwayRegional Sensitivity of Flood Risk to Climate Drivers
  • 2018 - Michael McMahon Harvey, Irma, Maria, Debbie, Marcia and Yasi - A Dysfunctional Cyclone Family
  • 2018 Highly Commended - Rhys ThomsonShow Me the Money! Economic Analysis in Floodplain Management
  • 2017 - Dr Raymond Laine: Bring the Marshmallows - New Engagement Technologies Stoking Flood Conversations
  • 2017 Highly Commended - Sarah U'Brien: Dungog 2015 Floods - A Case Study of Community Led Recovery
  • 2017 Highly Commended - Grantley Smith: Vehicle Stability Testing for Flood Flows 
  • 2016 - Allan Gear: Of Doubts and Flooded Drains: The Artistry in Defining an Urban Overland Flowpath
  • 2016 Highly Commended - Andrew Gissing: An analysis of human fatalities from flood hazards in Australia 1900-2014
  • 2016 Highly Commended - Thelma Marr and Stephen Yeo: Plans Schmans? How Caravan Parks Responded to the August 2015 Sussex Inlet and Conjola Lake Floods
  • 2015 – David Webber and Elspeth Rae: Reliance Towards Resilience – Involving Community in the Planning Process
  • 2015 Highly Commended – Grantley Smith: Delineating Hazardous Flood Conditions to People and Property
  • 2014 – Dr. Hamid Mirfenderesk: Flood Mitigation Works and Planning Levels: A Policy Rethink? The Gold Coast Experience.
  • 2014 Highly Commended – Andrew Sheehan: Creating Communication Pathways to Help Incorporate Local Knowledge into Emergency Management and Decision Making.
  • 2014 Highly Commended – David Tetley: Emergency Response Planning Classification at Sub-precinct Scales.
  • 2014 Highly Commended – Jessica Walker Increasing the Resilience of Horticultural and Agricultural Systems to Future Flood Events in the Highly Productive Laidley Creek Valley
  • 2013 – Drew Bewsher: Hawkesbury’s Flood Risk Management Plan: 15 Years in the Making.
  • 2012 – Greg Rogencamp: The Lockyer Creek Flood of January 2011: What happened and how should we manage large floods?
  • 2011 – Steve Opper: Community Safety Decision Making in Flash Flood Environments
  • 2010 – Chris Thomas: Procedures for Floodway Definition – Is There a Uniform Approach?
  • 2009 – Amy SmithFlood Risk to People – Towards a Framework for Incorporating Life Safety Risk in Australian Floodplain Management
  • 2008 - Sue Ribbons: Overland Flooding Problems in Your Local Area? ... No money, no time, no data? ... No worries ...
  • 2007 – Dr Chris Ryan, Stephen HawkshawAddressing the Challenge of Wide-Scale Modelling of Overland Flooding in Liverpool City Council
  • 2006 – Kristy Stratford, Toong ChinBetween Tidal Barrage and a Hard Place - Developing a Management Plan for the Tuckombil Canal, North Eastern NSW
  • 2005 – Louise HowellsDownstream Boundary Conditions for Flood Studies in Coastal Environments to Effectively Manage Risk and Uncertainty
  • 2004 – Jennifer Pang, Angus Gordon: Is There Any Merit In Floodplain Management?
  • 2003 – Sally Benham: Applications of 2D Flood Models with 1D Drainage Elements
  • 2002 – Rom Kemsley: Macleay River Floodplain Project
  • 2001 – John Maddocks: Have We Forgotten About Flooding on the Georges River?
  • 2000 – Arron WoodInvolve Me and I’ll Understand

Harold Sternbeck AMHarold Sternbeck

Harold J Sternbeck was a Cessnock businessman, well-known Auctioneer and principal of a Real Estate and Stock & Station business. He owned grazing properties at Wollombi and Mount View in the Hunter Valley. He was active in many organisations including the Real Estate Institute of NSW where he served as Chairman  Hunter Valley Branch Newcastle Division,  the Hunter Water Corporation’s Consultative Forum, and the Cessnock Lions’ Club where he received the “Melvyn Jones Fellow” Award by the Lions’ Clubs’ International Foundation. In August 200, H J Sternbeck Lions’ Park was officially opened in Cessnock to mark Harold’s contribution to his community. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to conservation and to Local Government, through the Hunter Valley Conservation Trust/Hunter Catchment Management Trust and Cessnock City Council.

Local Government Service

Harold served as an Alderman of the Cessnock City Council in 1962 until 1987, and as a Councillor of Northumberland County Council (Planning) and Hunter Valley County Council (Electricity). In 1968 he was elected as a Local Government Trustee of the Hunter Valley Conservation Trust – which later became the Hunter Catchment Management Trust. He was elected Deputy Chairman in October 1972 and served continuously in that role until appointed Chairman from 1 January 1990 until the Trust was reformed to become the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA) in January 2004. The Hunter Valley Conservation Trust was a major NSW government authority responsible for land, water and soil conservation, catchment management and flood mitigation in the Hunter Valley. It was the first such organisation in NSW and served as a model for others. In 2003 he accepted the International River Symposium’s Thiess National Riverprize, for the Trust’s achievements in co-ordinating catchment and river improvements throughout the Hunter.


Floodplain Management Authorities’ Service

Harold was a member of the Executive of the NSW Floodplain Mitigation Authorities (now Floodplain Management Australia) from 1972 until 2009.  He was elected Chairman from 1991 until 1999, and Deputy Chairman from 2003 to 2004. As FMA Chairman, Harold led many deputations to lobby various Federal and State Government ministers for better floodplain management funding. During this period, FMA expanded from 39 to over 60 member Authorities, and funding from Commonwealth and State Governments increased from $5.6 million to $10 million per year. In 2005 he was appointed the first Life Member of FMA and he continued to contribute to local, state and national floodplain management issues until shortly before his passing. In 2000 FMA decided to award a medal at the Annual FMA Conference to the best paper presented provided the presentation demonstrated excellence of the highest order.