History and Ownership 

Harold James Sternbeck commenced business in 1954, initially conducting livestock auctions at Wollombi. He extended his operations to include the selling and management of property and formed Sternbecks Real Estate wherein he operated the business as the owner and licensee until his passing in July 2010. 

Sternbecks Real Estate Pty Ltd was formed by Harold’s daughter/son in law Denise and James Harvey in July 2010 to enable the family to continue the operation of Sternbecks Real Estate. A name change to ‘Sternbecks’ was made in 2022. 

Sternbecks Real Estate Pty Ltd t/a Sternbecks hold license's and/or accreditation as: - 

  • Real Estate Agent 
  • Stock & Station Agent 
  • Auctioneers
  • Business Agent 
  • Strata Management 
  • Valuer 

Sternbecks holds membership in: Real Institute of NSW, Real Estate Employers Federation, Cessnock Chamber of Commerce and Ultimate Agency. 

Business History 

Harold first represented a client as agent for the sale of livestock. This progressed to fulfilling the role in the sale of residential property and flowed onto undertaking a rental management service. 

Sternbecks Real Estate’s first office was a shared occupancy with local lawyer Mr Fred Hallam at 23 Vincent Street, Cessnock. The need for an office of his own saw a move down the street to 7 Vincent Street, Cessnock where the business continued to flourish. 

Later a former car yard site was purchased at 25 Vincent Street, Cessnock and a new building erected to accommodate the growing business. This remains the current location of Sternbeck’s Real Estate. 

The building we are in today was originally split into 2 separate shops with Sternbecks occupying the right hand or northern side. An increase in business activities necessitated an expansion into the southern side. 

Years in operation 

Sternbecks have long been identified as a reputable and dependable real estate business providing unrivalled service and integrity throughout the Cessnock local government area and Hunter Valley region. 

Sternbecks is a family affair with both of Harold’s daughters having worked in the business since the late 1970’s in both full and part time capacities. Son in law James Harvey (now licensee) also worked in a part time role since the late 1980’s before taking up a full-time position in 2000. 

Sternbecks Real Estate Pty Ltd (trading as Sternbecks) has been operating the business since July 2010. 

Reputation in local community 

Sternbecks is the longest serving agency in Cessnock and Hunter Valley Wine Country enjoying a wonderful profile and reputation within the community. Respect for our business was forged on the back of a tremendous public profile held by Harold Sternbeck. 

Sternbeck’s Real Estate played notable roles over the years in assisting with the establishment of the Lower Hunter Business Enterprise Centre, Cessnock Chamber of Commerce, Cessnock Lions Club, Masonic lodge, the local Hospital Board, Cessnock Showground Association and Racing fraternity.  As a council representative, Harold in particular, was a key collaborator in bringing Alcan Aluminium smelter to Kurri Kurri, and in proposing the establishment of what is Cessnock’s prestigious ‘Vineyard Grove’ residential estate. 

Harold Sternbeck AM was a notable figure in the fabric of the Cessnock business community. His influence and reach delivered so much to the city and the region be it as a local alderman or in roles he enjoyed on the NSW Floodplain Management Association or the Hunter Catchment Management Trust.  Being awarded Order of Australia recognition was appropriate and humbling to him, yet, receiving Freeman of the City (Cessnock) status in his hometown was probably more satisfying. The chance to have his legacy immortalised through elevation into the Cessnock Hall of Fame (2023) was a pleasing bookend moment. 

Following in the footsteps of such a prominent personality has been a daunting exercise. It is one that our agency has embraced as we have continued to operate and deliver elite real estate services to our community. We thoroughly recognise and respect the value and the reputation Harold Sternbeck built and the subsequent status afforded us as a business and for everyone who works here.   

Guiding and transforming the business into a modern-day presence and continuing to grow, we believe, has been testament to honouring the reputation and legacy that our founder forged. 

Sponsorship of local sports/community groups 

Sternbecks proudly continues to support many charities and community groups. The following list is by no means comprehensive but includes some of the beneficiaries over the years:- 

Local primary and high schools, Cessnock Volunteer Rescue Association, Cessnock Rugby League and Junior Rugby League, Relay For Life, Cessnock Chamber of Commerce, Cessnock Customer Service Awards, 2CHR FM radio, Cessnock District Agricultural Society, Rescue Helicopter Service (Helicopter Collective), Cessnock District Cricket Association, Paxton Bowling Club pennants team, Hunter Valley Golf Pennants team, Cypress Lakes Golf Resort, Cessnock Golf Club, Cessnock Art Gallery, Abermain Eisteddfod, STOMP, Variety Club Bash, Cessnock Tennis Club, Cessnock Greyhound and Harness Racing (Coursing), Postie Bike Grand Prix, Girls Who Roar, local boxing events and many, many more worthwhile charities and events that impact our local community. 

We also enjoy a very special connection that is near and dear to us being a Strategic Business Partnership with local not for profit disability support service provider Finding Yellow and a similar work experience support program with clients of Sunnyfield another local disability service provider. 

Basis of competitive advantage 

Sternbecks is fortunate to hold the mantle as the senior agency in the Cessnock and Hunter Valley Wine Country area and as a business entity we hold a strong reputation as being an agency that provides traditional ‘Service and Integrity’ and unparalleled ‘experience’. We enjoy being the sounding board for so many business opportunities. 

Sales / Auction – Residential / Commercial 

The sale of all property types is a significant component of our business. Areas of focus includes: - Residential, Rural, Commercial and Businesses. 

Rental / Leasing – Residential / Commercial 

Property management services cover Residential, Rural, Commercial and Industrial properties.  We provide a management service for any property type as required. 

Buyer’s Agent 

The opportunity to assist a client in finding a property to purchase and negotiating on their behalf as their personal Buyer’s Agent is a role we od undertake on occasions.  


James Harvey is also a property valuer but has elected to keep the real estate activities of the agency at ‘arm’s length’ from valuation work to avoid potential conflicts of interest. The knowledge and practical experience he enjoys as a valuer (coupled with his Building Inspection and Town Planning experience) delivers tremendous benefit to our real estate operation. 

Clearing Sales 

Part of our auction activities has included conducting Clearing Sales for clients. This service is offered to clients who have sold property through our agency, particularly rural properties, but will also be available to other clients and associates at our discretion. 

The Local Market - Service Area 

Our service area is centered around the City of Cessnock including the world-renowned Hunter Valley Wine Country covering Pokolbin, Rothbury, Lovedale and Mount View together with Wollombi, Mount Vincent, Quorrobolong, Ellalong, Paxton, Millfield, Abermain, Weston, Kurri Kurri, Lochinvar, Branxton and Greta though we will undertake to sell and/or manage property in other areas including Newcastle, Maitland and Singleton.