Published: Mon 17 Dec 2012

Brendan Nelson started today as the new Director of the Australian War Memorial.

Dr Nelson said that he was honoured to be working at such an iconic institution and that in his position as Director he would work hard to ensure that the Memorial continued to be relevant for all Australians, particularly as the nation approaches the centenary of the First World War.

"No group of Australians has worked harder nor given more to define our values and beliefs, the way we relate to one another and see our place in the world than those men and women who have worn, and now wear the uniform of the Royal Australian Navy, Army and Airforce. The Australian War Memorial represents all that is precious to our nation and as such, it is a great honour and responsibility to assume leadership of this iconic, living institution on the cusp of Australia's commemoration of the centenary of World War one.

"Every Australian, whether by birth or immigration, should feel a connection to the Memorial, what it represents and means to us. I will do my utmost with Council and the Memorial's outstanding staff to work to this end.

"It is humbling to carry the legacy and vision of Charles Bean who envisaged the Memorial. Today it is an institution that is the pride of the nation. Our challenge now is to preserve all that is at the heart of the Memorial whilst adapting and presenting it to the contemporary world. In doing so, I pay tribute to Major General Steve Gower whose hard work as director over sixteen years has grown and developed Bean's vision whilst remaining true to it. We owe him a great debt" said Dr Nelson.

At the end of November Dr Nelson concluded his appointment as Australian Ambassador to the European Union (EU), the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Belgium and Luxembourg. Since his appointment to that position in September 2009, he has been involved in coordinating the Australian Government’s commemorations on the Western Front. Dr Nelson is also a former Minister for Defence.  

Dr Nelson was appointed as the Memorial’s new Director in August this year, following the retirement of Major General Gower. Ms Nola Anderson has been acting Director for the past 12 months; she left the Memorial last Friday after a career at the institution that spanned almost 25 years.  



Tom Vasey           (02) 6243 4575     0409 600 038