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Australian War Memorial Director appointed

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Thursday 23 August 2012 VA067

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, today announced the Hon Dr Brendan Nelson has been appointed as the new Director of the Australian War Memorial.

Dr Nelson will assume the role of Director following the retirement at the end of the month of Major General Steve Gower AO AO(Mil) (Ret’d). Dr Nelson will take up his appointment on 17 December.

“For the past few years, Dr Nelson has been influential in driving the Australian Government’s program of commemorations across the Western Front, ensuring Australia’s efforts from the First World War are recognised on an international scale,” he said.

“He has been instrumental in facilitating the loan of the Menin Lions to Belgium from the Australian War Memorial. The Lions, given to Australia by the people of Ieper (Ypres) as a sign of gratitude for the heavy sacrifices made by Australians in Flanders, will return to the Menin Gate in 2017. This gesture will assist the commemoration the battle of Paschendaele in which Australians fought with extraordinary courage.

“As Australian Ambassador to the European Union (EU), The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Belgium and Luxembourg and former Minister for Defence, Dr Nelson brings with him a breadth of experience.”

Mr Snowdon said Dr Nelson was appointed following a merit selection process which attracted a number of high quality applicants from Australia and overseas.

“I welcome Dr Nelson’s appointment to the role, I am sure that he will follow in the footsteps of his predecessor ensuring the Memorial continues to be regarded as Australia’s foremost shrine to our military memory,” he said.

“I am confident Dr Nelson will continue to enhance the Memorial and lead it through a significant period in our wartime history, with the Centenary of Anzac 2014-18.”

Mr Snowdon said the Australian War Memorial had grown as one of our nation’s premier cultural institution under the direction of Major General Gower.

“During his 16 year tenure as Director, Major General Gower has done a tremendous job, serving the Memorial and through it the people of Australia, in preserving the memory of those who have fought and died for our country.

“Major General Gower has steered the Memorial toward the future, embracing new and innovative technology as a new way to tell the story of Australians at war. The impressive redevelopment of the Hall of Valor, improvements to facilities and the skillful adoption of interactive technology will be part of his legacy,” he said.

“Ms Nola Anderson will continue in the role of Acting Director until December, and I would like to thank Ms Anderson for her commitment and leadership over the past nine months,” Mr Snowdon said.

Media Note: a short biography and image of Dr Nelson is available from the DVA Media Centre

Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Marcus Butler 02 6277 7820 or 0417 917 796 Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

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