Snowy Mountains Scheme KWPR World Tunnel Record Holder Medal awarded to Max Stermole in 1956.

Max migrated to Australia from Austria in 1949 with two of his sons Erhard (Ernie) and Joze, after spending the years from 1942 to 1949 moving constantly between Yugoslavia (now Slovenia), Germany and Austria. This happened after Max and his family were relocated from their home in the province of Gotschee in Yugoslavia. On arrival in Australia Max and his sons were sent to Bonegilla migrant camp, and Max worked in He worked in woollen mills, farms and coal mines in Sale, Bairnsdale, Port Welshpool and Wonthaggi.

In 1956-57, Max worked as a tunnel digger on the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme for American firm Kaiser Walsh Perini Raymond (KWPR) a consortium of large American construction companies. KWPR were one of two main contractors in the first stage of the scheme, the other being a French consortium. KWPR built the Tumut Pond Dam (one of the most visually dramatic structures in the Scheme), the Tumut 1 Pressure Tunnel and Surge Tank (leading to Tumut 1 Power Station), the Eucumbene-Tumut Tunnel and the Eucumbene Dam (the largest in the system).

In 1956 Max, along with about 14 other men, tunnelled 474 feet in one week while working on the Tumut Tunnel. As a result of their extraordinary tunnelling efforts each man was presented with one of these medals by KWPR. Max Stermole passed away on 20 June 1992.

Physical Description

Metal, with ring for chain.

Obverse Description

Figure raising a digging tool with text; 'KWPR 474 ft. Snowy Mountains Australia'.

Reverse Description

Text; 'Presented by KWPR world Tunnel Record Holder 1956 to M Stermole'.

More Information