1994 BH NEUMANN AWARD RECIPIENTS | Australian Maths Trust


Fred Bishop (pictured below with the silver tray part of his BH Neumann Award) was the founder of the Hunter Region Primary Mathematics Competition, a high-quality competition for students in the Newcastle region. The Award was made by Professor Neumann at a dinner in Newcastle on Friday 04 February 1994.


Fred Bishop’s was instrumental in developing the Hunter Region Mathematics Competition for the NSW Department of School Education, Hunter Region and has been its guiding force and chief executive for thirteen years. He was inspired by the early outstanding success of the Australian Mathematics Competition. In 1981, when the competition started, some 70 schools and 2000 students were involved. This year 233 schools took part and 13,067 pupils participated, drawn from year 5 and year 6 classes in state and private schools in the Hunter Valley region.

Mr Bishop’s contribution does not end with the competition. Each year the one hundred best performing students from year 5 are invited to attend a mathematics camp early in their year 6. Thus the talented mathematical youth of the region, as identified by the competition, are further nurtured and encouraged. Mr Bishop is responsible along with his committee for the logistical and academic organisation of this camp.

He has not only contributed to the well-being of this region’s primary school children but has forged useful links between mathematics, the children’s parents and the wider community.



Peter Brown with Professor Bernhard Neumann after receiving his BH Neumann Award at The Hermitage restaurant, Canberra, November 1994. Peter joined the AMC Management Committee as Treasurer in 1978, and was one of the earliest and strongest participants in AMC management until 1992. He was a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at the Canberra College of Advanced Education, later University of Canberra, over a period of more than 30 years.


Dr Brown has been the Treasurer of the Australian Mathematics Foundation since late 1977. In that time he has developed an effective financial recording system which was able to cope with the extraordinary growth of the Australian Mathematics Competition. As Treasurer he has worked diligently on a voluntary basis until the mid 1980s. He came at a time when there was a major gap in our organisation regarding financial control and, as such has given great service to the AMC.



Professor Anne Penfold Street above, with Professor Neumann, and below, receiving her BH Neumann Award from Professor Neumann, also with neil Williams and Peter O’Halloran at a function held at the University of Queensland in 1994. Anne had a prodigious research career in discrete mathematics. In this field Ralph Stanton described her as Australia’s leading researcher. She was a member of the AMC Problems Committee for 14 years, and chaired AMOC (and was its representative on the AMT Board) from 1996 to 2001.



Professor Street has been a valuable member of the Australian Mathematics Competition’s Problems Committee since 1983. In that time she has contributed many questions for the contest papers; questions which generally are in her area of expertise and research and, as such, provide the extraordinary freshness of ideas which have become the hallmark of our annual AMC papers.

At the same time she has, by her enthusiastic and gentle example and leadership, given encouragement to other members of her Faculty to be involved with the AMC as well as the Australian Mathematical Olympiad movement.



Marta Sved with South Australian AMOC Director Keith Hamann at a function in Adelaide on Thursday 10 June 1999. Marta was an academic at the University of Adelaide who worked for decades providing enrichment help for students in South Australia. I knew her well because she was a tutor when I was studying in the department and often tutored with her. She was a good friend of the Szekeres’, went to school with Esther in Budapest and was a winner of the Eotvos competition in the late 1920s, as was her future husband George, who was placed first in the same year and became a legendary engineer academic at the University of Adelaide also.


Dr Sved grew up in the same cultural environmentas both Esther and George Szekeres. Her love of mathematics was instilled in her by the Hungarian High School Journal “Középiskolai Matematikai Lapok” (KöMaL) – still going strong after some 100 years of almost uninterrupted existence. She was a devoted and highly successful problem solver of the journal and in her final school year was placed third in the National High School Mathematics Competition. (The future shining star of Hungarian matics, Paul Turan, came fifth and the winner, who later became Marta’s husband, was George Sved, a well-known civil engineer).

The Sveds moved to Adelaide in 1939 and Marta became Mathematics mistress at Wilderness High School. The school experiences of her young years made a deep and lasting impression on her and it was largely through Marta’s initiative and active participation that the first Australian High School Mathematics journal started in the same year. Since then the seeds which she has sown in those years has blossomed into the impressive tree that is the organisation of mathematical competitions in Australia today, culminating in our participation and excellent standing in the International Mathematical Olympiad.

In her later years Marta became an active research mathematician and at the age of 75 received a PhD degree from the University of Adelaide for her work in Finite Geometries – surely an extraordinary achievement. In all respects, Dr Marta Sved would be an excellent choice for the Bernhard Neumann Award.


Bob Thompson with Peter O’Halloran, Professor Bernhard Neumann and daughters after receiving his BH Neumann Award at Daniel’s restaurant, Manuka, Canberra, 20 May 1994.


Bob dates back to the first (1976) competition in that he was deputy Director of the CCAE Computer Centre when he personally enabled tapes from scans performed at UNSW to be read on to the CCAE mainframes and marked. He later became a member of the AMC organising committe as the mainframe consultant and took over from Peter Brown as AMC Treasurer in 1992, a task he still performed through 2012. He ended his career as Director of the UC Computer Centre for many years.


Mr Thompson has had direct involvement, in a voluntary capacity, as a computer professional with the Australian Mathematics Competition and its predecessor, the High School Mathematics Competition for the Burroughs Awards, since 1976. For example, in that time he was responsible for processing the annual set of AMC Computer School Reports. In the early years up to the mid 1980s it usually involved working to two or three o’clock in the mornings for up to four days each year.

In his capacity as the technical computer consultant for the AMC and other Trust activities, he has been in constant demand throughout the year. He has given his time and expertise in a cooperative, friendly and professional way at all times. He has been a great and positive AMF supporter over the years for the creation of the Australian Mathematics Trust.