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John Shaw Medal

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no John Shaw Medal awarded in 2020, with nominations received that year held over for 2021.  

Ultimately, it was decided that in 2021, it was appropriate to award the John Shaw Medal to two individuals who have made outstanding contributions to our industry over many years. 

At the John Shaw Dinner in Sydney on 17 June 2021, the John Shaw Medal was awarded to Neil Scales OBE and Ray Farrelly OAM.



Neil Scales currently leads the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads with over 9000 staff in more than 100 locations across the state. 

He is responsible for an annual budget of almost $10B (including capital expenditure of $3.5B), and manages assets worth in excess of $80B. 

He is well-recognised for delivering a number of major projects including the Toowoomba Bypass and Gold Coast Light Rail. He successfully led the transport task for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and responses to several natural disasters, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Neil sits on five national transport boards and is Australia's First Delegate of the World Road Association. Prior to 2012, Neil was one of the UK's most senior public transport executives who was awarded Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to public transport.

RA President Michael Bushby, Neil Scales OBE, Alana Newbrook

  (Regional Director NSW, WSP) & RA CEO Michael Kilgariff


In the 2019 Queens Birthday Honours Ray Farrelly, then CEO at the Centre for Pavement Engineering Education (CPEE) was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM). The award recognised Ray's significant contribution to civil engineering and the road construction industry through pavement education and skills training. 

Ray was instrumental in establishing CPEE in 1996, as a nationally registered higher education learning and teaching body. This enabled CPEE to operate as a post graduate educational provider offering a Graduate Certificate and a Masters in Pavements. 

This was subsequently complemented through a partnership with the University of Tasmania offering a Bachelor of Engineering Technology (with Professional Honours) in “Infrastructure Asset Management” and in “Road Engineering and Construction”. These specialist qualifications were unique offerings- not only in Australia, but world-wide.

In addition, Ray developed an extensive range of highly regarded and targeted Short Courses that provided unique training in cities and regional centres Australia wide. 

Prior to joining CPEE, Ray was influential in training and developing road pavement professionals through his work as CEO of the Australian Asphalt Pavement Association (AAPA) in the early 1980s, where he established the AAPA Training and Advisory Centre.


The criteria

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

The following conditions and guidelines apply:

  • Field of contribution - The field of contribution must be in the area of road transport. Indicative areas of contribution include road construction, design, administration, safety, services, freight, research, and policy development. There must be a clear connection between the field of contribution and road 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.

The John Shaw Medallist is chosen by a Committee of past winners. In addition to accepting nominations from industry, the Committee at its discretion may also consider candidates who emerge from its own discussions.


How to nominate

Nominations for the 2022 John Shaw Medal will open in the coming months.


Inquiries about the Award should be directed to RA's Director - Corporate Affairs, Simon Morgan.


Past recipients

Amongst the past recipients of this prestigious award are:

  • Professor David Hensher, Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) 
  • Doug Jones AO, Clayton Utz
  • Bruce Judd, Australian Infrastructure Consultants
  • Gordon Ralph, CPB Contractors 
  • Reg Leach, Golder Associates
  • Janet Holmes a Court, John Holland Advisory Board Chairman
  • Lauchlan McIntosh AM, Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS)
  • Ken Mathers, Linking Melbourne Authority
  • Greg Hallam, Local Government Association of Queensland
  • Arvo Tinni, Abigroup 
  • 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, RTA NSW (dec.)
  • Tom Wilmot, Stabilisation Services Ltd
  • Maurie Benveniste, Transport SA (dec.)
  • John Bethune, AAPA (dec.)
  • Rod Payze, Department of Transport SA
  • Neil Doyle, Queensland Main Roads
  • Peter Balfe, VicRoads
  • Dick Wharton, Qld Main Roads
  • John Oliver, ARRB


John Shaw's contribution to roads

John (JAL) 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.