National Committee on Water Engineering (NCWE)

The National Committee on Water Engineering (NCWE) plays an important role in promoting engineering excellence and the contribution water engineering makes to the community and in supporting our developing professionals. To this end we maintain a series of awards and orations.

Our award and orations program seeks to identify, recognise and reward outstanding achievement, eminence in the practice of engineering and conspicuous service to the profession. The following awards and orations are maintained:

  • Hall of Fame;
  • GN Alexander Medal;
  • Munro Oration;
  • Henderson Oration.

The NCWE maintains scholarships to encourage students and developing professional water engineers. Two scholarships are awarded:

  • Student Scholarships; and
  • JD Lawson Scholarship

The NCWE also presents the John Burton Cumec Trophy to the winner of the Hydrological Games at each Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium.

Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame honours individuals who have made outstanding and lasting contributions to the water engineering profession in Australia. These individuals have shaped the theory and practice of water engineering. The Hall of Fame not only seeks to acknowledge their contribution but also to document their legacy and develop a sense of tradition and appreciation of the history of the profession.

A brief biography has been prepared for each winner identifying major contributions and achievements that they made to the practice of water engineering.

GN Alexander Medal

The GN Alexander Medal for Hydrology and Water Resources was created in 1987. The award is dedicated to the memory of Mr Geoffrey Newman Alexander (1908-1975), in recognition of his contribution to Australian hydrology.

The Award takes the form of a bronze inscribed medal(s) and/or certificate(s) which is/are conferred by Engineers Australia on the author(s) of the best paper in hydrology and/or water resources published in an Engineers Australia publication over the period from and including the previous Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium. Such publications include the Proceedings of the previous Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium, Proceedings from any intervening NCWE conferences and the Australian Journal of Water Resources.

The Award is presented at each Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium, held approximately at eighteen month intervals. Responsibility for selecting the recipient rests with the National Committee on Water Engineering. It was first awarded in Canberra in February 1988.

Munro Oration

Emeritus Professor Crawford Munro died on 21 September, 1976 at the age of 72. No man had a greater impact on the development of hydrology and water resources in Australia in his time.

Crawford Munro was a Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of New South Wales for 16 years. Crawford Munro also served the Institution with distinction. He was a member of the Stormwater Standards Committee of the Institution which produced the first version of “Australian Rainfall and Runoff”, and Chairman of the National Committee on Hydrology for 6 years.

The many symposia organised by these committees owed a lot to Crawford Munro, both for his organisational drive and for his many vigorous and often memorable contributions from the floor of the conference hall. It is therefore fitting that Crawford Munro be remembered at each Hydrology Symposium (held at approximately 18 months intervals) by a Memorial Oration delivered by an eminent speaker in the field of hydrology and water resources.

The lecturer, who is selected by the National Committee on Water Engineering in conjunction with the conference organising committee, is not limited to being an Australian or an engineer but rather a person eminent in the field of water resources in Australia.

The Munro Oration is jointly sponsored by Engineers Australia, the Canberra Hydrological Society and the South Australian Hydrology Society. It was first given in 1978.

The orator is given a framed certificate at the conclusion of their address.

Henderson Oration

Established as The Hydraulics Oration in 1989, the Award was renamed The Henderson Oration in 1998 in recognition of Professor Frank Henderson’s contribution to the knowledge and practice of hydraulic engineering in general but in Australian practice in particular. Professor Henderson’s book “Open Channel Hydraulics” is used as a standard text in almost all engineering schools in Australia and many others throughout the world.

The Award aims to recognise the contribution of the science of hydraulics to the practice of hydrology and water resources engineering in Australia. The address is given at each Hydraulics Conference, held approximately every 3 years. The conference organising committee, in consultation with the National Committee Chairman, proposes one or more candidates to the National Committee at least 12 months before the conference. The National Committee makes the final selection and the Chairman then sends a formal invitation to the selected Orator. The speaker should have made a significant contribution to hydraulics in Australia but need not be either an engineer or an Australian.

The Award is sponsored by the National Committee on Water Engineering. The Orator receives a framed certificate, usually presented at the conclusion of the Oration. The inaugural oration was held in Adelaide in 1998 by Dr Martin Lambert, an ex-PhD student of Professor Henderson, on Professor Henderson’s behalf.

Student Scholarships

The National Committee on Water Engineering of Engineers Australia has created a Student Scholarship award to encourage young engineers to become members of Engineers Australia and to pursue a career in water engineering.

The award includes registration at an NCWE sponsored conference and part payment for travel and accommodation associated with attending the conference. The award also includes a certificate that will be presented during the conference. Up to three Scholarships are offered annually to final year engineering students.

The Scholarships are open to undergraduate students enrolled at an Australian university who are completing their final year of engineering studies in the year of the award, and who:

  • are Australian citizens, or permanent residents of Australia
  • are specialising in water related subjects
  • are student members of Engineers Australia, or have a current application in for student membership.
Scholarship Nominations Close 1 November 2022
Submission Guidelines

Student Scholarships

Submission Guidelines

The NCWE encourages applications from women and indigenous Australians. Applications for the Scholarships should include the following:

  • a brief covering letter or email (non-assessed) which includes the applicant’s Engineers Australia membership number,
  • a single A4 page describing the applicants interest in water engineering and outlining their reasons for applying for the Scholarship,
  • a copy of their Academic Record, and
  • a reference from an appropriate water engineering member of the academic staff of their University.
  • Nominee’s current CV including employment history and achievements (max 2 pages)
  • Nominee’s current Biographical Information
  • Nominee’s portrait photo

JD Lawson Scholarship

The JD Lawson scholarship was established in 2015 by the National Committee on Water Engineering to allow developing professionals in the water industry to attend key industry events. The program acknowledges and promotes a Professional Engineer who is making an outstanding contribution in hydro-environmental engineering to his/her profession and professional community. 

The scholarship is named after Emeritus Professor Jack Dempster Lawson in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the fields of hydraulic and water resources engineering. After working briefly with the Commonwealth Department of Works and for two years as a Research Hydraulic Engineer with the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority he joined the University of Melbourne as a Senior Lecturer then Reader in 1954. In 1970 he was appointed Professor of Civil Engineering, a position he held until his retirement in 1989. At the time of his death in 1991, he was the world President of the International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR).

The recipient will receive financial support to attend an IAHR World Congress. The prize will include financial support for flights and accommodation.

The scholarship recipient will be required to prepare a brief report on the benefits gained from his/her attendance at the Congress.  This report is to be submitted to the Chair of the National Committee on Water Engineering (NCWE) of Engineers Australia.

A panel of members from the NCWE of Engineers Australia will judge the scholarship.

The National Committee on Water Engineering actively encourages applications from women and indigenous Australians.

Scholarship Nominations Close 1 November 2022
Eligibility Criteria
Submission Guidelines
Judging of Applications

JD Lawson Scholarship

Eligibility Criteria

The scholarship supports the attendance of an Engineers Australia member in a field of hydro-environmental engineering recognised by the IAHR.

  • The recipient must be a professional engineer who is under the age of 40 years (at the time of the IAHR Congress) who is actively pursuing a career in a field of hydro-environmental engineering recognised by the IAHR.
  • The recipient may have a background in consulting engineering, government service, construction or academia.
  • The recipient must be a current financial member of Engineers Australia.

JD Lawson Scholarship

Submission Guidelines

Applications should include:

  • A statement addressing each of the eligibility criteria;
  • A CV (max 2 pages); and
  • Applicant statement of approximately 1,000 words outlining the benefits the applicant and/or his/her professional community of practice would receive by attending the IAHR Congress.

JD Lawson Scholarship

Judging of Applications

The judging of applications is based on the following criteria:

  • Relevant Experience = Experience working in fields relevant to IAHR/NCWE (up to 10 points)
  • Level of CPD = Level of involvement in CPD activities eg. conferences, seminars, etc (up to 10 points)
  • Benefit to Individual = Expected benefit to the career of the applicant (up to 10 points)
  • Benefit to Community of Practice = Level of involvement in EA activities, Likelihood of knowledge transfer to other EA members, Likelihood of knowledge transfer to others (up to 18 points)
  • IAHR member = Bonus score if IAHR member (2 points)

Hydrological Games

In May 1975, the 8th Hydrology & Water Resources Symposium was held at the University of New England. As one of the principal organizers of the Symposium, John Burton devised and introduced the inaugural Hydrological Games, and constructed the “Cumec Trophy” to be presented to the winning team.

In 2000, shortly after his death, the National Committee on Water Engineering renamed the trophy as the “John Burton Cumec Trophy” to honour the role he played in devising and introducing the Games.

The trophy is awarded to the winner of the games at each Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium.

Contact us

For general enquiries on these awards please contact  [email protected]