Chairman of Council
Mr Kerry Stokes AC was elected as Chairman of the Australian War Memorial on 10 November 2015 with his term commencing on 12 November 2015. He was reappointed to Council in June 2017 for a further three year term commencing in August 2017. Mr Stokes has previously been appointed to Council in August 2007, April 2011 and again in August 2014. On 11 November 2015, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Australian War Memorial. Mr Stokes is Chairman of Seven West Media, a company which brings together a market-leading presence in broadcast television through the Seven Network, magazines and newspaper publishing through Pacific Magazines and West Australian Newspapers, and online through Yahoo!7 and other expanding new communications platforms. Mr Stokes is also Chairman of Seven Group Holdings, a leading Australian diversified operating and investment group with market-leading businesses and investments in industrial services and media. SGH has a major shareholding in Seven West Media. In industrial services, WesTrac Group is the sole authorised Caterpillar dealer in Western Australia, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory in Australia, and in North Eastern China territories. WesTrac Group is one of Caterpillar's top five dealers globally. SGH Energy is developing an expanding presence in oil and gas projects in Australia and the United States. Through his private holdings, Australian Capital Equity, Mr Stokes has broad business interests and investments in a range of major business sectors: property, construction, mining, resources, oil and gas exploration. Mr Stokes is a recipient of Australia's highest honour, the Companion in the General Division in the Order of Australia (AC) in 2008, having earlier been awarded the Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1995. He holds a Centenary Medal for Corporate Governance, and presented the Boyer Lectures in 1994 and the Andrew Olle Lecture in 2001. Mr Stokes holds an Honorary Life Membership of the Returned and Services League of Australia and received an RSL Commendation Award for outstanding service rendered to the ex-service community. He is a recipient of the Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award and is also a former Chairman of the National Gallery of Australia.
The Honourable Anthony (Tony) Abbott AC was 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".
Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Ret’d) was appointed to Council in June 2016 for a three-year term. Wing Commander Bown served as a Nursing Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force for 16 years, discharging from service in 2015. Wing Commander Bown deployed to 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, Wing Commander Bown is a passionate advocate within the field of Military and Veteran's Health, and demonstrates a unique insight into the welfare and healthcare needs of those adversely affected by their service. Wing Commander Bown is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Psychological Science, pursuing her interest in exploring the effects of service.
Wing Commander Bown has a Bachelor of Psychological Science and is the author of "One Woman's War and Peace, a Nurse's journey in the Royal Australian Air Force”.
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.
Ms Gwen Cherne was appointed to Council for a three-year term in February 2019. Gwen is an Australian war widow. Following the loss of her husband, Sergeant Peter John Cafe, to suicide in 2017, she has provided essential advocacy for Australian war widows and families, and now serves as a Member Director and a Contemporary Widow Advisor for the War Widow’s Guild of Australia, New South Wales. In 2018, Gwen was appointed as an Invictus Games Ambassador for Clubs NSW. Born in the United States, her career has spanned a diverse geographical area, including the US, Australia, Afghanistan, Africa, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, with a focus on stability, relief, and development for youth, women, and families living in crisis and extreme poverty. In her early career she co-founded a school for low-income children with the New York Nativity Centers, an organisation she also helped restructure. She has worked in Afghanistan as an international development worker, and then at IDS International as a Senior Trainer and Manager for Curriculum and Training for both the military and civilians. Gwen has spent the last seven years in Australia, where she has worked at the Australian Civil–Military Centre as a Program Manager for Civil–Military–Police Projects. Gwen has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in International Policy from the NYU Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.
Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld AO, DSC was 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.
Ms Margaret Jackson AC was appointed to Council for a three year term from 27 June 2017. Margaret is Chairman of Ansett Aviation Training Limited, Prince’s Charities Australia and is also a Director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Barefoot to Boots and a member of Monash University’s Industry Council of Advisors. Margaret has also served as Chairman of Spotless, Qantas, FlexiGroup Ltd, the Victorian Transport Accident Commission, and a Director of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, the Australian and New Zealand Banking Corporation, Pacific Dunlop Limited, John Fairfax Holdings Limited, Billabong International Ltd, Telecom Australia, West Gippsland Healthcare Group, and President of Australian Volunteers International. She is a former partner of KPMG Advisory and BDO Nelson. Margaret was awarded Companion of the Order of Australia in the General Division (AC) in June 2003 for service to business in diverse and leading Australian corporations and to the community in the area of support for medical research, the arts and education, and was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 for service to Australian society in Business. Margaret holds an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Monash University. She is the former Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Salvation Army Southern Territory, the Playbox Theatre Company, and Methodist Ladies’ College.
Corporal Daniel Keighran VC was appointed to Council in June 2016 for a three-year term, and re-appointed to Council in May 2019 for a further three years. 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 Thales Australia. Dan continues to serve his country as an Active Reservist with the Australian Army and donates his time as an Ambassador to Mates4Mates.
Mr James McMahon DSC DSM was appointed to Council in October 2015. 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 22 year full time career in the Australian Defence Force. As an SAS Squadron Commander, James’ squadron was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation for exemplary performance. During James’ time as Commanding Officer, the SAS Regiment was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation. 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. Recently he 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 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.
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).
Colonel (Ret’d) Susan Neuhaus CSC was appointed to Council for a three year term from 27 April 2018. Susan works as a consultant surgeon in private practice and holds an appointment as Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Adelaide. Susan has also 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 experience includes deployments to Cambodia, Bougainville and Afghanistan She served as Commanding Officer of the 3rd Health Support Battalion from 2007-08. Susan was promoted to Colonel in 2008 and her military service was recognised with the award of the Conspicuous Service Cross in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2009. Susan also holds the adjunct position of Associate Professor Conflict Medicine at the University of Adelaide Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies. In this role, Susan leads a developing national research collaborative investigating the gender specific effects of military service and deployment She is widely published in areas of operational health care and has provided veteran advocacy and representation at multiple levels including as former Chair of The Repat Foundation -The Road Home, member of the South Australian Veterans Health Advisory Council and as Co-Chair of the South Australian PTSD Centre of Excellence Ministerial Advisory Panel (now established as the Jamie Larcombe Centre). Susan is the author of Not for Glory: A century of service by medical women to the Australian Army and its Allies. Susan is a Patron of the Virtual War Memorial, Australia. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2020 for significant service to medicine, to community health, and to veterans and their families.
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.
Mrs Josephine Stone AM was appointed to Council on 26 February 2015 and reappointed in 2018 for a three-year term. 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.