Members of Council
Mr Kerry Stokes AC was elected as Chairman of the Australian War Memorial on 10 November 2015 with his term commencing on 12 November 2015. He was reappointed to Council in June 2017 for a further three-year term commencing in August 2017. Mr Stokes was previously appointed to Council in August 2007, April 2011, and August 2014. On 11 November 2015, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Australian War Memorial.
Mr Stokes is Chairman of Seven West Media. He is also Chairman of Seven Group Holdings. Through his private company, Australian Capital Equity, Mr Stokes has broad business interests. Mr Stokes was the recipient of 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, and presented the Boyer Lectures in 1994 and the Andrew Olle Lecture in 2001. Mr Stokes holds an Honorary Life Membership of the Returned and Services League of Australia and received an RSL Commendation Award for outstanding service rendered to the ex-service community. He is a recipient of the Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award and is also a former Chairman of the National Gallery of Australia and former Chairman of the Canberra Theatre Trust.
The Honourable Anthony (Tony) Abbott was appointed by the Governor-General of Australia to the Council of the Australian War Memorial on 1 October 2019 for a three-year term. Tony Abbott was elected prime minister (PM) by the Australian people on 7 September 2013, and served for two years. In his time as PM, the carbon tax and mining tax were repealed, free trade agreements were finalised with China, Japan and Korea; the people smuggling trade from Indonesia to Australia was halted and Australia became the second largest military contributor to the US-led campaign against Islamic State in Iraq. In 2014, and again in 2015, he spent a week running the government from a remote Indigenous community. Tony Abbott served as the member for Warringah in the Australian Parliament between 1994 and 2019. As the local MP, he was instrumental in the creation of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust to preserve the natural and built heritage of his electorate. Prior to entering parliament, he was a journalist with The Australian, a senior adviser to opposition leader John Hewson, and director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy. He has degrees in economics and law from Sydney University and in politics and philosophy from Oxford which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. Since 1998, he has convened the Pollie Pedal annual charity bike ride which has raised nearly $7 million for organisations such as Soldier On and Carers Australia, He still does surf patrols with the Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Club and serves as a deputy captain with the Davidson Rural Fire Brigade. He is married to Margaret and they are the parents of three daughters – Louise, Frances and Bridget.
Wing Commander (Ret'd) Sharon Bown was appointed to Council in June 2016 for a three-year term and re-appointed for a further three-year term in 2019. Wing Commander Bown served as a nursing officer in the Royal Australian Air Force for 16 years, discharging from service in 2015. Wing Commander Bown deployed to Timor–Leste in 2000 and 2004; Afghanistan in 2008 as Officer-in-Charge of the Australian Medical Task Force in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan; and on various aeromedical evacuation tasks, including Papua New Guinea in 2001, Solomon Islands in 2003, and Bali following the terrorist bombings in 2005. Having cared for Australian Defence Force personnel and their families in Australia and overseas, Wing Commander Bown is a passionate advocate within the field of military and veteran's health, and demonstrates a unique insight into the welfare and healthcare needs of those adversely affected by their service. Wing Commander Bown has a Bachelor of Psychological Science and is the author of One Woman's War and Peace: A Nurse's Journey in the Royal Australian Air Force.
Lieutenant General Rick Burr AO DSC MVO joined Council in July 2018 when he assumed command of the Australian Army. He joined the Army in 1982, graduating from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1985 to the Infantry Corps. He has seen service in the 8th/9th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment and the Special Air Service Regiment, which he commanded in 2003–04. His senior leadership roles have been diverse. He was previously the Deputy Chief of Army, and prior to that had unique service as Deputy Commanding General US Army–Pacific, the first foreign officer to hold such a position. In 2011–12 he was commander of the 1st Division and Deployable Joint Force Headquarters. His operational commands include the theatre-level multinational command of all Special Forces assigned to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in 2008, and command of the Australian Special Forces Task Group in Afghanistan 2002 and Iraq 2003. In addition to his command roles, he gained broad experience across army, defence and government in a range of staff, training and representational appointments. Committed to the development of our future leaders, he has been an instructor at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, and Chief Instructor of the Australian Defence Force Warfare Centre, responsible for the education and training of ADF officers in planning joint operations. In key staff roles he was the senior operations and plans officer in Special Operations Headquarters in 2001–02, and Military Assistant to the Chief of the Army in 2005. As a colonel he served as Director of Force Structure and then Director General Preparedness and Plans in Army Headquarters. In 2007 he was seconded as a senior adviser to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and was Director General Military Strategic Commitments in 2009–10. In a key representational appointment, he was the Equerry to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for the Royal Visit to Australia in 2000. Lieutenant General Burr is a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College and graduate of the USMC School of Advanced Warfighting. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales, a Master of Military Studies from the Marine Corps University, and has completed the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. His personal awards include Officer of the Order of Australia, Distinguished Service Cross, Member of the Royal Victorian Order and a number of foreign awards for distinguished service. He is Patron of Defence Australian Rules Football.
Ms Gwen Cherne was appointed to Council for a three-year term in February 2019. Gwen is an Australian war widow. Following the death of her husband to suicide in 2017, she has provided essential advocacy for all Australian war widows and defence families. She was appointed to the National Council for Women and Families United by Defence Service, serves as a member director for the Australian War Widows, NSW, and is an ambassador for the Commando Welfare Trust and Gotcha4Life. In 2018, Gwen was appointed as an Invictus Games ambassador for Clubs NSW. Born in the United States, her career has spanned a diverse geographical area, including the US, Australia, Afghanistan, Africa, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, with a focus on stability, relief, and development for youth, women, and families living in crisis and extreme poverty. In her early career she co-founded a school for low-income children with the New York Nativity Centers, an organisation she helped restructure. She has worked in Afghanistan as an international development worker, and then at IDS International as a senior trainer and manager for curriculum and training for both the military and civilians. More recently, she spent seven years working at the Australian Civil-Military Centre as a Program Manager. Gwen has a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in women’s studies and a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in international policy from the NYU Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.
Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld AO, DSC joined the Royal Australian Air Force as an RAAF academy cadet in January 1980, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in 1983. His early career was spent in a variety of flying positions on Mirage and F/A-18 aircraft, before qualifying as a fighter combat instructor in 1989. In 1997 Air Marshal Hupfeld was selected to attend the Royal Air Force Advanced Staff Course, graduating with a Master of Arts in Defence Studies from King's College, London before posting to the Deputy Director in Aerospace Development Branch. In 2001 he took command of No. 75 Squadron and led the squadron on Operations BASTILLE and FALCONER (Middle East) where he was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross. On promotion he was appointed Director Aerospace Combat Development (Australian Defence Headquarters) before appointment as Officer Commanding No. 81 Wing in 2006. Promoted to air commodore in 2007, he became the Director of the Combined Air Operations Centre in the Middle East Area of Operations, before returning to Australia as the Director-General Air. In December 2009, he took command of Air Combat Group where he oversaw the RAAF's fast-jet combat aircraft. Air Marshal Hupfeld became Air Commander Australia on 3 February 2012, providing specialist air advice on raise, train and sustain issues to the joint environment. In 2014 he was appointed Head Capability Systems. In 2015 he received an appointment as Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the Australian Defence Force. In August 2015 he was appointed to the role of Acting Chief Capability Development Group. Air Marshal Hupfeld then took up the position of Head Force Design in Vice Chief of Defence Force Group in 2016. On promotion, he was appointed Chief Joint Operations in May 2018 and subsequently Chief of Air Force in July 2019. Air Marshal Hupfeld is married to Louise, and his interests include running, fishing, and sailing.
Ms Margaret Jackson AC was appointed to Council for a three-year term from 27 June 2017. Margaret is Chairman of Ansett Aviation Training Limited and is also a director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Barefoot to Boots and a member of Monash University’s Industry Council of Advisors. Margaret has also served as Chairman of Spotless, Qantas, FlexiGroup Ltd, the Victorian Transport Accident Commission, and a director of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, the Australian and New Zealand Banking Corporation, Pacific Dunlop Limited, John Fairfax Holdings Limited, Billabong International Ltd, Telecom Australia, West Gippsland Healthcare Group, and President of Australian Volunteers International. She is a former partner of KPMG Advisory and BDO Nelson. Margaret was awarded Companion of the Order of Australia in the General Division (AC) in June 2003 for service to business in diverse and leading Australian corporations and to the community in the area of support for medical research, the arts and education, and was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 for service to Australian society in Business. Margaret holds an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Monash University. She is the former chairman of the Advisory Board for the Salvation Army Southern Territory, the Playbox Theatre Company, and Methodist Ladies’ College, as well as Prince’s Charities Australia.
Mr Daniel Keighran VC was appointed to Council in June 2016 for a three-year term, and re-appointed to Council in May 2019 for a further three years. Mr Keighran enlisted in the Australian Army at 17 and served his country as part of the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR), discharging from full-time service in 2011. Mr Keighran deployed to Rifle Company Butterworth, Malaysia, in 2001 and 2004; Timor–Leste (East Timor) in 2003–04; Iraq in 2006; and Afghanistan in 2007 and 2010. Mr Keighran is the only Victoria Cross recipient from the Royal Australian Regiment in its proud 67-year history, with his citation reading, “For the most conspicuous acts of gallantry and extreme devotion to duty in action in circumstances of great peril at Derapet, Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, as part of the Mentoring Task Force One on Operation SLIPPER”. Since completing his full-time service Mr Keighran has held various private sector roles including his current association with Thales Australia.
Mr James McMahon DSC DSM was appointed to Council in October 2015. James is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Australian Capital Equity. Prior to this he was the Commissioner for the Department of Corrective Services in Western Australia and Chief Operating Officer at Azure Capital, a corporate advisory firm. James’s corporate and public sector experience followed a 22-year full-time career in the Australian Defence Force. As an SAS squadron commander, James’s squadron was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation for exemplary performance. During James’s time as commanding officer, the SAS Regiment was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation. James was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal for leadership and command in action in Timor–Leste, Afghanistan and Iraq. Recently he was named Western Australian of the Year 2019 for his service to the community. Board memberships include the West Coast Eagles Football Club 2007–2015, where he also served as deputy chairman and remains a current member of the Leadership Subcommittee, the SAS Resources Trust Board, the St John of God Health Care Board and the Investment Advisory Group Committee for RSL WA. He is also an ambassador for the Fathering Project. Education qualifications include a Masters in Management and a Masters in Business Administration.
Major General (Ret'd) Greg Melick AO RFD FANZCN SC was appointed to Council in March 2015. He is a Hobart-based senior counsel who was a member of the ADF Reserves from 1966 to 2018. He commanded at all levels from section to brigade before becoming Australia's most senior reserve officer in 2007, and later becoming the ADF's Head of the Centenary of Anzac Planning Team in 2011. Units in which he served included 2nd Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment and One Commando Company and units/ formations he commanded included 12th/40th Battalion, Royal Tasmania Regiment, 6 Training Group and 8 Brigade. He is the Colonel Commandant of 1st Commando Regiment and also President of the Australian Commando Association. He has been a Principal Crown Counsel in the Tasmanian Crown Law Office, a statutory member of the National Crime Authority and the NSW Casino Control Authority. He was appointed part-time Deputy President of the AAT in September 2014 and the part-time Chief Commissioner of the Tasmanian Integrity Commission in 2015. He has conducted several investigations including the one into the Beaconsfield mine collapse, and is Cricket Australia's anti-corruption special investigator. He was elected President of the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law in 2017, is a former chairman of the board of St John Ambulance (Tasmania) and in 2019 was elected National President of the RSL. He is patron of Friends of the 2nd Infantry Battalions, Army Museum Tasmania and ADF Cricket.
Colonel (Ret’d) Susan Neuhaus AM CSC was appointed to Council for a three-year term from 27 April 2018. Susan is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, holds an adjunct appointment as Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Adelaide and is a practicing surgeon and surgical oncologist. Susan has completed a career spanning 20 years in both the Regular Army and Army Reserve. She is a graduate of Australian Command and Staff College (Res). Her operational service includes deployments to Cambodia, Bougainville and Afghanistan. She was the Commanding Officer, 3rd Health Support Battalion, promoted to colonel in 2008 and awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in 2009 for military service. Susan has held significant board appointments, predominantly in the not-for-profit sector and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Her former roles include Chair of the Repat Foundation – the Road Home, member of the South Australian Veterans Health Advisory Council and Co-Chair of the South Australian PTSD Centre of Excellence Ministerial Advisory Panel (now established as the Jamie Larcombe Centre). Susan is the currently Chair of the Veterans’ Advisory Council, South Australia and Patron of the Virtual War Memorial, Australia. In the adjunct position of Associate Professor Conflict Medicine at the University of Adelaide, Susan led a developing national research collaborative investigating the gender-specific effects of military service and deployment. She is widely published in areas of operational health care and co-author of Not for Glory: A Century of Service by Medical Women to the Australian Army and its Allies. Susan was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2020 for services to medicine and veterans and their families.
Vice Admiral Michael Noonan AO RAN joined Council in July 2018 upon assumption of command of the Royal Australian Navy. Joining the Royal Australian Navy in 1984, he initially trained as a seaman officer and then completed the Principal Warfare Officer course, specialising in Air Direction and Above Water Warfare. Throughout his career, he has experienced a wide range of Navy and ADF operations through various posting and operational roles. Highlights have included deployments to the Middle East, Southern Ocean and being the Commissioning Commanding Officer of the ANZAC-class frigate HMAS Parramatta. He has fulfilled leadership positions at all levels of the Australian Defence Force, with senior positions including the Director of Military Strategic Commitments, Director General of Operations at HQJOC, Command of Maritime Border Command and Deputy Chief of Navy. In June 2018, he was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of his distinguished service in significant senior ADF command roles. Vice Admiral Noonan assumed command of the Royal Australian Navy on 7 July 2018 and is the 32nd professional head of the Australian Navy. In this role, he is entrusted by government as its principal naval advisor, charged with the responsibility to raise, train and sustain Australia’s naval forces to execute Navy’s mission as part of the joint force in an increasingly dynamic global region.
Mrs Josephine Stone AM was appointed to Council on 26 February 2015 and reappointed in 2018 for a three-year term. Mrs Stone is a graduate of the Melbourne Law School and has worked in a number of legal institutions, both public and private, in Victoria and the Northern Territory of Australia. Previous professional involvements include being a statutory member of the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee (CWTH), Professional Standards Manager at the Northern Territory Law Society, Assignments Director at the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission, solicitor with the Australian Government Solicitor and with private firms in Melbourne, Alice Springs and Darwin. Currently, Mrs Stone is a director of a private family company. Community engagements include Zonta Alice Springs, Darwin Private Hospital Advisory Board, NT Women’s Advisory Board, Chairman of the Red Cross (Katherine) Flood Appeal, together with a number of roles in school parents and friends committees and boards in Darwin and Brisbane. Additional personal interests have included instigating the 100-year history of St Marys Primary School in Darwin and the political advancement of women, which has involved a number of appearances at international conferences as moderator and speaker. Mrs Stone was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2006 for services to the law and the community.