2024 John Shaw Medal

The John Shaw Medal honours an industry champion who has made a lasting contribution to Australia’s roads.

Nominations for the 2024 John Shaw Medal are now closed. The winner will be announced at the 2024 John Shaw Dinner in Melbourne on Thursday 2 May, 6pm (AEST).

The Criteria

The following conditions and guidelines apply:

  • Field of contribution – The field of contribution must be in the area of transport. Indicative areas of contribution include transport infrastructure construction, design, administration, safety, services, freight, research, and policy development. There must be a clear connection between the field of contribution and transport.
  • Level of contribution – The contribution must be outstanding and this will be assessed on the basis of its impact on the industry and the community. The area of unique impact is to be specifically identified in the nomination, in a form which can be incorporated in the citation.
  • Breadth of contribution – The extent to which the contribution was valued beyond any one section of the Industry and beyond jurisdiction (eg State). The contribution needs to be of National or International significance.
  • Personal achievement – It must be demonstrated that the candidate’s contribution significantly reflects personal endeavour, as distinct from the work of others. The John Shaw Medal is not awarded in recognition of general corporate achievement.
  • Originality – Candidates will also be assessed on the originality and unique quality of their contribution. If the contribution is, for example, in a field of research, the spark of ingenuity must be identified. If the candidate’s claims are in policy or management areas, the areas of leadership which distinguish the candidate must be clearly specified.
  • Durability – Candidates will also be assessed on the extent to which their contribution is likely to endure and be remembered by future generations. Contribution to corporate success alone is not likely to meet this criterion.
  • Further potential – Ideally candidates for the award will still have further contributions to make to the industry and the community. It is expected that the award will recognise their achievements to date and thereby enhance the opportunity for the candidate to make yet a further contribution.

Past Recipients

Amongst the past recipients of this prestigious award are:

  • Dr Charles MacDonald, Bamser
  • Louise McCormick, Northern Territory Infrastructure Commissioner
  • Neil Scales OBE, Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads
  • Ray Farrelly OAM, Centre for Pavement Engineering Education
  • Professor David Hensher AM, Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS)
  • Doug Jones AO, Clayton Utz
  • Bruce Judd AM, Australian Infrastructure Consultants
  • Gordon Ralph, CPB Contractors
  • Reg Leach, Golder Associates
  • Janet Holmes a Court AC, John Holland Advisory Board Chairman
  • Lauchlan McIntosh AM, Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS)
  • Ken Mathers, Linking Melbourne Authority
  • Greg Hallam AM PSM, Local Government Association of Queensland
  • Arvo Tinni AM, Abigroup (dec.)
  • Dr Max Lay, ConnectEast
  • Colin Jordan, RACV
  • His Excellency Dr Ken Michael AC, Governor of Western Australia
  • Don Aitken, Dept of Main Roads WA (dec.)
  • Erik Finger, Qld Dept of Main Roads
  • Geoff Youdale AM, RTA NSW (dec.)
  • Tom Wilmot AM, Stabilisation Services Ltd
  • Maurie Benveniste, Transport SA (dec.)
  • John Bethune, AAPA (dec.)
  • Rod Payze, Department of Transport SA (dec.)
  • Neil Doyle, Queensland Main Roads
  • Peter Balfe, VicRoads
  • Dick Wharton, Qld Main Roads
  • John Oliver, ARRB

John Shaw’s contribution

John (J.A.L.) Shaw was recruited to the service of the then recently established Main Roads Board of New South Wales soon after graduating in civil engineering at Sydney University in 1925.

In 1928 he was included amongst the first six divisional engineer appointments made by the Board, taking up a posting at Glen Innes. He served in Newcastle and Sydney before enlisting for service with the AIF in 1940. During his military service, Johh Shaw won the Distinguished Service Order.

He was captured by the Japanese and spent several years in Changi Prisoner of War Camp where he won the respect and affection of his fellow prisoners through his special efforts to improve their lot.

On returning to civilian life after the cessation of hostilities, John Shaw resumed duties with the then Department of Main Roads. He rose to Commissioner, holding that office from 1962 to 1967. He was Assistant Commissioner and Commissioner during the period of reconstruction which followed the war years, and was involved in many of the exciting works such as the Gladesville Bridge which were undertaken during that time.

After his retirement John Shaw served as a Commissioner of the City of Sydney and was National President of the Australian Road Federation. He is the only Australian ever to have been honoured by the International Road Federation as “Man of the Year”.

The John Shaw Award, which was initiated in the Queensland Region of the Australian Road Federation, acknowledges his outstanding contribution to roads.