Dr Brendan Nelson

Director, Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial – Learning through Commemoration

Dr Nelson studied at Flinders University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery. He worked as a medical practitioner before being elected unopposed as National President of the Australian Medical Association, becoming the youngest person to hold this position. On 2 March 1996 Dr Nelson was elected to the Federal Parliament of Australia. After the 2001 election, he was promoted from parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Defence to Cabinet in the senior portfolio of Minister for Education, Science and Training. In 2006 he became Minister for Defence when troops were deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor and the Solomon Islands. In November 2007 Dr Nelson was elected leader of the Liberal Party of Australia, serving as Leader of the Opposition until September 2008. Dr Brendan Nelson commenced as Director of the Australian War Memorial on 17 December 2012. Prior to this, he was the Australian Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union and NATO (2009–12)


The Australian War Memorial is a shrine, a museum and an archive with the purpose to commemorate the sacrifice of those Australians who have died in war. The Memorial’s mission is to ensure Australians remember the Australian experience of war and the enduring impact it has had on Australian society. The importance and relevance to learning is evident at the Memorial through many of the programs and ceremonies conducted. Teaching the public about service and sacrifice is not just about the past but also the future. The telling of Our Story through the experience of war is an integral part of this learning. Dr Brendan Nelson will discuss how the Memorial delivers best practice for a great learning environment in Australia and further afield.

Australian War Memorial Reflections can be viewed here