Media statement: Chairman steps down after 15 years of extraordinary service to Council

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In response to today’s announcement that Mr Kerry Stokes AC is stepping down from his role as Chair and Member of the Council of the Australian War Memorial, Memorial Director Matt Anderson said:

“Mr Kerry Stokes AC has given extraordinary service to the Memorial and the nation across 15 years, from 2007-2022, on the Council of the Australian War Memorial.

“Throughout his more than six years in the role of Chair, Mr Stokes guided the organisation through a period of significant commemoration, and the commencement of the Memorial’s current vital expansion to tell the stories of modern veterans who served Australia over the past 30 years.

“In addition to Mr Stokes’ role on Council, he contributed financial and in-kind support to the Memorial, in both a personal capacity and through his commercial operations. That support included donations of items to the Memorial’s National Collection, a number of Victoria Cross medals and the Thuillier Collection of First World War photographs featured in the exhibition Remember me: the lost diggers of Vignacourt.

“In 2015, Mr Stokes was awarded a Fellow of the Australian War Memorial for exemplary contributions to the Australian War Memorial’s collection, and to its commemorative, exhibition and educative roles.

“His consensus building approach, business acumen and respect for all Memorial staff have underpinned his successive terms as Chair and his contributions at Council will be greatly missed. On behalf of all staff and volunteers, both past and present, I express our sincere and heartfelt thanks for his outstanding service and dedication.”


Mr Anderson welcomed the appointment of Dr Brendan Nelson AO to the Council:

“We warmly welcome today’s appointment of Dr Brendan Nelson to the Council.

“Dr Nelson has demonstrated his commitment to the purpose of the Australian War Memorial and his support of all veterans during his seven years as Director.

“We look forward to working with Dr Nelson again and using his passion and knowledge to serve the Memorial in a strategic capacity,” Mr Anderson said.



Mr Kerry Stokes AC and Dr Brendan Nelson AO were instrumental in developing the business case, gaining support and securing funding for the expansion of the Australian War Memorial.

Mr Kerry Stokes AC

Mr Kerry Stokes AC was elected and commenced his term as Chair of the Australian War Memorial on 12 November 2015. Mr Stokes was awarded 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, was WA Australian of the Year in 2013, is a Life Member of the Returned and Services League of Australia, and is a recipient of the Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award.  He is a former Chairman of the National Gallery of Australia, and has received multiple awards for his philanthropy including the 2011 Charles Court Inspiring Leadership Award. 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.

Dr Brendan Nelson AO

Since February 2020, Dr Nelson has been the President of Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific. Dr Nelson was the Director of the Australian War Memorial from 2012-2019 and is also a former Minister for Defence. As testament to Dr Nelson’s breadth of service to Australia, in 2016 he was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his distinguished service to the Australian parliament, to the community, to the advancement of Australia’s international relations and major cultural institutions. 

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