THE director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson, will not be seeking to renew his contract when it ends at the end of this year.
Dr Nelson, who has been the head of the war memorial for seven years, has introduced many initiatives over his time such as the daily Last Post Ceremony, which brought to life the story of an Australian named on the “Roll of Honour”.
Dr Nelson has also led the memorial through the centenary of the First World War including the completion of the renovated First World War Galleries, which saw 128,500 attendees at the 2015 Anzac Centenary dawn service and a breathtaking display of 62,000 knitted poppies on the memorial grounds for the centenary of the armistice.
He introduced the Afghanistan exhibition and, with council chairman Kerry Stokes, he successfully advocated for major government investment to create additional gallery space.
Planning for this $500 million investment for more than a decade is now well advanced with construction beginning in 2020.
“I am humbled and privileged to have played a role in leading and shaping the Australian War Memorial over the past seven years,” Dr Nelson says.
“In working with a magnificent team of true professionals and the memorial council, we have together raised the memorial’s profile, importance and meaning to the nation.
“In a world is changing so dramatically, what is most important is that we never lose sight of that in which we believe and the truths by which we live.
“The Australian War Memorial reveals our character – our soul as a people. In a context of war, it is a place that heals telling stories of love and friendship.
“Young people will also find in the Memorial’s heart above the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier, fifteen values enshrined in the Hall which inform character. Every Australian should reach out to them.
“Above all, I am proud that young servicemen, women and veterans now regard the Australian War Memorial as being their spiritual home as much as those of earlier generations. I think we made a difference.”