Brendan Nelson welcomes Matt Anderson PSM as new Memorial Director

3 mins read

Outgoing Director Dr Brendan Nelson AO and Chairman of the Council Mr Kerry Stokes AC have welcomed the appointment of Mr Matthew Anderson PSM as the new Director of the Australian War Memorial.

Dr Nelson said Mr Anderson possesses all the requisite personal and professional qualities necessary to lead the Memorial through its development.

“Beyond his sharp intellect, strong work ethic and humility, above all else he brings to our nation’s most iconic and loved institution empathy for young veterans and the ability to tell their stories. He is the right person for this role,” Dr Nelson said.

Mr Stokes said, “I welcome the appointment of Mr Anderson as Director of the Australian War Memorial. At a critically important time, this appointment is what the Memorial, veterans, their families and Australians need. With a military background and extensive experience in leadership, management and diplomacy, Mr Anderson brings empathy for young veterans and the telling of their stories. He has cleaned the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier and he has faced great danger in Afghanistan. Mr Anderson embodies the qualities the Memorial needs to speak for, and to, a new generation.”

Mr Stokes said Dr Nelson’s personal dedication, distinguished leadership and strategic vision have played a pivotal role in the successful operation of the Memorial. Throughout his tenure, the Memorial has further advanced as a world-class institution, significantly increasing public engagement and awareness of the service and sacrifice of current and former serving members of the Australian Defence Force and their families.

“For years to come Dr Nelson’s legacy will be seen as the new building extension. However, his underlying legacy will be that he harnessed the energy and the spirit of those who work at the Australian War Memorial into a dedicated, efficient and highly motivated family that was responsible for achieving the outcomes of the visions that he set,” Mr Stokes said.

“We will all miss him and his enthusiasm but he has paved the way for the next Director to continue to evolve the Australian War Memorial, as the guardian of the values we hold dear as Australians — in this crucible that is in fact a cathedral of the spirit of the nation.”

Mr Anderson has been Deputy High Commissioner to the United Kingdom since 2016 with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). He is also a former Ambassador to Afghanistan and High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands and Samoa. Prior to joining DFAT he spent eight years as an Australian Army Officer, including three years as Troop Commander, Royal Australian Engineers (1988–1991) and four years as a Careers Adviser with the Soldier Career Management Agency in Melbourne (1992–1995). Mr Anderson was awarded the Public Service Medal for his role in leading the humanitarian and consular response to the 2009 Pacific tsunami.

Mr Anderson has a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Strategic Studies from Deakin University, and a Master’s Degree in Foreign Affairs and Trade from Monash University. He is also a Graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon.

Following the announcement that Dr Brendan Nelson AO would leave the Memorial at the end of 2019, a nationwide search was conducted to find a suitable replacement. A merit based selection process was undertaken with the selection advisory panel unanimous in their recommendation of Mr Anderson. More information about the Australian War Memorial and its Council can be found at

FURTHER INFORMATION: Media release issued by Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel:

Media Contact

Contact Name

Media team

Contact Email

Contact Phone Number

02 6243 4575

Contact Mobile Number

0409 600 038

Last updated: