Members of Council
Chair of the Council
Dr Brendan Nelson AO
A medical practitioner by training, Dr Brendan Nelson AO was appointed president and Chairman of Boeing Australia, New Zealand and Oceania in February 2020. He oversees Boeing’s 4,200 Australian employees across advanced manufacturing, commercial aircraft, autonomous systems, defence, research and technology. Prior to his appointment, Dr Nelson served as Director of the Australian War Memorial for seven years.
President of the Australian medical Association (AMA) from 1993 to 1995, Dr Nelson was elected to the Australian Parliament on 1996, going on to serve as Minister for Education, Science and Training, Minister for Defence and Leader of the Liberal Party and Opposition from 2007 to 2008. In 2010 he was appointed Australia’s ambassador to the European Union, NATO, Belgium and Luxembourg.
In 2016, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for his services to the community, parliament, diplomacy, and cultural leadership. He was awarded honorary life membership of the RSL and honorary citizenship of the Belgian city of Ieper/Ypres. He has received honorary doctorates from the Flinders University of South Australia, ANU and UniSA. He was awarded the Gold Medal of the AMA for ‘services to medicine and humanity’.
Dr Nelson is Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia (AmCham), a Director of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney and member of the Council at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). He is patron or ambassador for charities including Lifeline ACT, Legacy, Soldier On and the Commando Welfare Trust.
Members of Council
Corporal Daniel Keighran VC
Corporal Daniel Keighran VC was appointed to Council in June 2016 for a three-year term. Corporal Keighran enlisted in the Australian Army at 17 and served his country as part of the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR), discharging from full-time service in 2011. Corporal Keighran deployed to Rifle Company Butterworth, Malaysia, in 2001 and 2004; Timor-Leste (East Timor) in 2003–04; Iraq in 2006; and Afghanistan in 2007 and 2010. Corporal Keighran is the only Victoria Cross recipient from the Royal Australian Regiment in its proud 67-year history, with his citation reading ‘For the most conspicuous acts of gallantry and extreme devotion to duty in action in circumstances of great peril at Derapet, Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, as part of the Mentoring Task Force One on Operation SLIPPER’. Since completing his full-time service Corporal Keighran has held various private sector roles including his current association with Australian Defence Apparel (ADA) as a Brand Ambassador, working on military and tactical apparel and load carriage with the Research, Development and Innovations Team. Dan continues to serve his country as an Active Reservist with the Australian Army and donates his time as an Ambassador to Mates4Mates.
The Honourable Anthony (Tony) Abbott AC
Appointed by the Governor-General of Australia to the Council of the Australian War Memorial on 1 October 2019 for a three year term. Tony Abbott was elected prime minister by the Australian people on September 7, 2013, and served for two years. In his time as PM, the carbon tax and mining tax were repealed, free trade agreements were finalised with China, Japan and Korea; the people smuggling trade from Indonesia to Australia was halted and Australia became the second largest military contributor to the US-led campaign against Islamic State in Iraq. In 2014, and again in 2015, he spent a week running the government from a remote indigenous community. Tony Abbott served as the member for Warringah in the Australian parliament between 1994 and 2019. As the local MP, he was instrumental in the creation of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust to preserve the natural and built heritage of his electorate. Prior to entering parliament, he was a journalist with The Australian, a senior adviser to opposition leader John Hewson, and director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy. He has degrees in economics and law from Sydney University and in politics and philosophy from Oxford which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. Since 1998, he has convened the Pollie Pedal annual charity bike ride which has raised nearly $7 million for organisations such as Soldier On and Carers Australia. He still does surf patrols with the Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Club and serves as a Deputy Captain with the Davidson Rural Fire Brigade. He is married to Margaret and they are the parents of three daughters – Louise, Frances and Bridget. Mr Abbott is a recipient of Australia's highest honour, the Companion in the General Division in the Order of Australia (AC) in 2020 for "eminent service to the people and Parliament of Australia".
Mr Glenn Keys AO
Mr Glenn Keys AO is the Founder, Executive Chairman and Director of Aspen Medical, one of the world’s leading providers of outsourced healthcare solutions.
In 2010, Mr Keys founded the Aspen Foundation, which funded the Australia wide study into Ex-Service Support Organisations (ESO) Mapping Project to assist in understanding the range and distribution of ESO’s and how they can better support veterans. He was also a Founding Director in the organisation that led the campaign to inaugurate the Invictus Games in Australia. He became Director of the Australian Invictus Games in 2018 and is now a board member of Veterans Sport Australia. Mr Keys sits on a number of boards including the National Disability Insurance Agency.
Prior to building and leading businesses in the private sector, Mr Keys had a distinguished career in the Australian Defence Force spanning 15 years. He completed Officer Training at RMC Duntroon and studied Mechanical Engineering. He also studied Aeronautical Engineering with UK MoD in the United Kingdom and was the first Army Flight Test engineer at the RAAF Aircraft Research and Development Unit. He was Chief Engineer, Army Aircraft Logistics Management Squadron, from 1992 to 1993.
Major General Greg Melick AO RFD FANZCN SC (Ret’d)
Major General Greg Melick AO RFD FANZCN SC was appointed to Council in March 2015. He is a Hobart based Senior Counsel who has been a member of the ADF Reserves since 1966. He has commanded at all levels from section to brigade before becoming Australia's most senior Reserve officer in 2007, and later becoming the ADF's Head of the Centenary of Anzac Planning Team in 2011. Units in which he served included 2nd Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment and One Commando Company and units/ formations he commanded included 12th/40th Battalion, Royal Tasmania Regiment and 8 Brigade. He is also the Colonel Commandant of 1st Commando Regiment. He has been a Principal Crown Counsel in the Tasmanian Crown Law Office, a Statutory Member of the National Crime Authority and the NSW Casino Control Authority. He was appointed a part time Deputy President of the AAT in September 2014 and the part time Chief Commissioner of the Tasmanian Integrity Commission in 2015. He has conducted several investigations including the one into the Beaconsfield mine collapse, and is Cricket Australia's anti-corruption special investigator. He is a member and former chairman of the board of St John Ambulance (Tasmania).
Mr James McMahon AM DSC DSM
James is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Australian Capital Equity. Prior to this he was the Commissioner for the Department of Corrective Services in Western Australia and Chief Operating Officer at Azure Capital, a corporate advisory firm. James’ corporate and public sector experience followed a career in the Australian Defence Force, 22 years full time and subsequently 11 years allocated as a reservist.
As an SAS Squadron Commander, the Squadron was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation for exemplary performance in Timor-Leste. As Commanding Officer, the SAS Regiment was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation for sustained outstanding service in warlike operations in Afghanistan. James was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) and the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) for leadership and command in action in Timor-Leste, Afghanistan and Iraq.
James was named Western Australian of the Year 2019 for his service to the Community.
Board memberships include the West Coast Eagles Football Club 2007–2015, where he also served as Deputy Chairman and remains a current member of the Leadership Subcommittee, the SAS Resources Trust Board, the St John of God Health Care Board, Australian War Memorial Council and the Investment Advisory Group Committee for RSL WA. He is also an ambassador for ‘The Fathering Project’. Education qualifications include a Masters in Management and a Masters in Business Administration.
James was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2022 for significant service to veterans and their families, and to the community.
Mrs Josephine Stone AM
Mrs Josephine Stone AM was appointed to Council on 26 February 2015. Mrs Stone is a graduate of the Melbourne Law School and has worked in a number of legal institutions, both public and private, in Victoria and the Northern Territory of Australia. Previous professional involvements include being a statutory member of the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee (CWTH), Professional Standards Manager at the Northern Territory Law Society, Assignments Director at the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission, solicitor with the Australian Government Solicitor and with private firms in Melbourne, Alice Springs and Darwin. Currently, Mrs Stone is a director of a private family company. Community engagements include Zonta Alice Springs, Darwin Private Hospital Advisory Board, NT Women’s Advisory Board, Chairman of the Red Cross (Katherine) Flood Appeal, together with a number of roles in school Parents and Friends committees and boards in Darwin and Brisbane. Additional personal interests have included instigating the 100 year history of St Marys Primary School in Darwin and the political advancement of women, which has involved a number of appearances at international conferences as moderator and speaker. Mrs Stone was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2006 for services to the Law and the community.
Colonel (Ret’d) Susan Neuhaus AM CSC
Colonel (Ret’d) Susan Neuhaus AM CSC was appointed to Council in April 2018. Susan is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, holds an adjunct appointment as Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Adelaide and is a practicing surgeon and surgical oncologist. Susan has completed a career spanning 20 years in both the Regular Army and Army Reserve. She is a graduate of Australian Command and Staff College (Res). Her operational service includes deployments to Cambodia, Bougainville and Afghanistan. She was the Commanding Officer, 3rd Health Support Battalion, promoted to Colonel in 2008 and awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in 2009 for military service.
Susan has held significant board appointments, predominantly in the not-for-profit sector and is a Fellow and current Chair and President of the South Australian-Northern Territory Division of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). Her former roles include Chair of The Repat Foundation -The Road Home, member of the South Australian Veterans Health Advisory Council and Co-Chair of the South Australian PTSD Centre of Excellence Ministerial Advisory Panel (now established as the Jamie Larcombe Centre).
Susan is the current Chair of the Veterans’ Advisory Council, South Australia and Patron of the Virtual War Memorial, Australia. Developing national research collaborative. Susan is widely published in areas of operational health care, has undertaken national research investigating the gender specific effects of military service and deployment and is co-author of Not for Glory: A century of service by medical women to the Australian Army and its Allies. Susan was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2020 for services to medicine and veterans and their families.
Ms Rhondda Vanzella OAM
Ms Rhondda Vanzella OAM was appointed the National President of Australian War Widows Incorporated in October 2020. She has been a member of Australian War Widows NSW since 2014 and has served as its State President and Chair since 2016.
She has dedicated her career to mentoring and working with communities at a local, rural regional and national level on a range of issues and successful community projects. Some of her projects have included walking the Kokoda track to assist with building and opening of track memorials; helping lead the re-enactment of the Kangaroo March from Wagga Wagga to Sydney in 2015 and leading a fundraiser to build low cost retirement units on RSL land in Batlow.
Rhondda is Co-founder and President of the Ozy Youth Choir Honouring Defence Service (Ozy) which brings civilians, veterans and current serving Defence families together in regional and rural areas across Australia through the arts. Bringing music and history together, Ozy inspires and develops young leaders with a focus on commemoration, education and welfare.
Rhondda is a member of a number of boards including the National Council for Woman and Families United by Defence Service; the Ex-Service Organisations Round Table; the Remembrance Driveway Committee and an Affiliate Member of the Bundanoon RSL sub-branch. She also served as a committee member on the Centenary of ANZAC Advisory Council.
As both a war widow and woman united by defence service, Rhondda is passionate about finding and creating ways to bring organisations together to collaborate to better honour and support women, veterans and their families and believes that The Australian War Memorial plays a vital role in this as Australia’s national place to honour, learn and heal for all generations.
Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Ret’d)
Ms Bown was reappointed to the Council of the Australian War Memorial on 1 April 2019 for a three-year term. She is a member of the Roll of Honour Committee of Council as an advisory member to research, establish policy and provide recommendations for additions to the Roll of Honour, or to seek alternatives for recognition. She was previously a Council member for a three-year term from June 2016.
She is a champion for recognising the work of women and highlighting their service and contribution to Australia's Defence Force. She regularly MC’s the Last Post Ceremony, volunteers as a guide in the galleries sharing her knowledge and experience with visitors and attends many events and ceremonies as a representative of the Council.
She served as a Nursing Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force for 16 years and discharged in 2015. Deployments include Timor-Leste in 2000 and 2004; Afghanistan in 2008 as Officer-in-Charge of the Australian Medical Task Force in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan; and on various aeromedical evacuation tasks, including Papua New Guinea in 2001, Solomon Islands in 2003 and Bali, following the terrorist bombings in 2005.
Having cared for Australian Defence Force personnel and their families in Australia and overseas, Ms Bown is a passionate advocate within the field of Military and Veterans’ Health, and demonstrates a unique insight into the welfare and healthcare needs of those adversely affected by their service. She was appointed National Vice President of the Air Force Association in 2020.
Ms Bown has a Bachelor of Nursing and a Bachelor of Psychological Science, and she is currently undertaking a Masters of Psychology as she continues to pursue her interest in exploring the effects of service. She is the author of One Woman's War and Peace: a nurse's journey in the Royal Australian Air Force; an Ambassador for Phoenix Australia, Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health and a Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing.
Lieutenant General Rick Burr AO DSC MVO
Lieutenant General Rick Burr AO DSC MVO joined Council in July 2018 when he assumed command of the Australian Army. He joined the Army in 1982, graduating from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1985 to the Infantry Corps. He has seen service in the 8th/9th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment and the Special Air Service Regiment, which he commanded in 2003-04. His senior leadership roles have been diverse. He was previously the Deputy Chief of Army, and prior to that had unique service as Deputy Commanding General US Army-Pacific – the first foreign officer to hold such a position. In 2011-12 he was commander of the 1st Division and Deployable Joint Force Headquarters. His operational commands include the theatre-level multinational command of all Special Forces assigned to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in 2008, and command of the Australian Special Forces Task Group in Afghanistan 2002 and Iraq 2003. In addition to his command roles, he gained broad experience across Army, Defence and Government in a range of staff, training and representational appointments. Committed to the development of our future leaders, he has been an instructor at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, and Chief Instructor of the Australian Defence Force Warfare Centre, responsible for the education and training of ADF officers in planning joint operations. In key staff roles he was the senior operations and plans officer in Special Operations Headquarters in 2001-02, and Military Assistant to the Chief of the Army in 2005. As a Colonel he served as Director of Force Structure and then Director General Preparedness and Plans in Army Headquarters. In 2007 he was seconded as a senior adviser to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and was Director General Military Strategic Commitments in 2009-10. In a key representational appointment, he was the Equerry to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for the Royal Visit to Australia in 2000. Lieutenant General Burr is a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College and graduate of the USMC School of Advanced Warfighting. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales, a Master of Military Studies from the Marine Corps University, and has completed the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. His personal awards include Officer of the Order of Australia, Distinguished Service Cross, Member of the Royal Victorian Order and a number of foreign awards for distinguished service. He is Patron of Defence Australian Rules Football.
Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld AO DSC
Born in Sydney in 1962. He joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as an RAAF Academy Cadet in January 1980, winning the Flying Prize for his year and graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1983. Air Marshal Hupfeld's early career was spent in a variety of flying positions on Mirage and F/A -18 aircraft, primarily with No 3 Squadron (3SQN) and No 2 Operational Conversion Unit (2OCU), before qualifying as a Fighter Combat Instructor in 1989. Following a period of service as B Flight Commander, 3SQN, Air Marshal Hupfeld was appointed as the Executive Officer of 2OCU in 1995. In 1997 Air Marshal Hupfeld was selected to attend the Royal Air Force Advanced Staff Course, graduating with a Master of Arts in Defence Studies from King's College in London, before taking up post as a Deputy Director in the Aerospace Development Branch. In 2001 Air Marshal Hupfeld took command of No 75 Squadron (75SQN) and led the Squadron in operations in Middle East on Operations BASTILLE and FALCONER. In 2003 Air Marshal Hupfeld was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross in recognition of his performance as Commanding Officer 75SQN on Operation FALCONER, and his Squadron was awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation. On promotion to Group Captain in January 2004 he was appointed Director Aerospace Combat Development in the Australian Defence Headquarters, before accepting appointment as Officer Commanding No 81 Wing in January 2006. Promoted to Air Commodore on November 2007, he became the Director of the Combined Air Operations Centre in the Middle East Area of Operations, before returning to Australia as the Director-General Air / Director General Air Command Operations in March 2008. In December 2009, he took command of Air Combat Group where he oversaw all of the RAAF's fast-jet combat aircraft to deliver Australia's capability to control the air and conduct precision strike. Air Marshal Hupfeld was promoted and appointed as the Air Commander Australia on 3 February 2012. In this position he provided specialist air advice on raise, train and sustain issues to the joint environment. In September 2014 he was appointed Head Capability Systems Division in the Capability Development Group. In 2015 Air Marshal Hupfeld received an appointment as Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to the Australian Defence Force in senior command and staff appointments. In August 2015 he was appointed to the role of Acting Chief Capability Development Group. On the disbandment of Capability Development Group, Air Marshal Hupfeld took up the newly created position of Head Force Design in Vice Chief of Defence Force Group on 1 April 2016. On promotion, Air Marshal Hupfeld was appointed as Chief Joint Operations in May 2018 and subsequently Chief of Air Force in July 2019. Air Marshal Hupfeld is married to Louise, and his interests include mountain biking, running, fishing, light aircraft, and sailing.
Vice Admiral Michael Noonan AO RAN
Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN joined Council in July 2018 when he assumed command of the Royal Australian Navy. His joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1984, trained as a seaman officer and then subsequently completed Principal Warfare Officers course and specialised in Air Direction and Above Water Warfare. Throughout his career, he had experience in a wide range of Navy and ADF operations through various sea and shore posting and operational roles. Highlights have included deployments to the Middle East, Southern Ocean and being the Commissioning Commanding Officer of the ANZAC class frigate HMAS Parramatta. He has fulfilled leadership positions at all levels of the Australian Defence Force, with senior positions including the Director of Military Strategic Commitments, Director General of Operations at HQJOC, Command of Maritime Border Command and Deputy Chief of Navy. In June 2018, he was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of his distinguished service in significant senior ADF command roles. Vice Admiral Noonan assumes command of the Royal Australian Navy on 7 July 2018 and will be the 32nd professional head of the Australian Navy, and the 9th officer to hold the title of Chief of Navy Australia. In this role, he is entrusted by Government to be its principal naval advisor, and to raise, train and sustain Australia’s naval forces to execute maritime missions in a dynamic region.