Eric Neal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sir Eric Neal

Sir Eric Neal in Adelaide, South Australia 2016.jpg
Sir Eric Neal in Adelaide in 2016
32nd Governor of South Australia
In office
22 July 1996 – 3 November 2001
MonarchElizabeth II
PremierDean Brown (1996)
John Olsen (1996–2001)
Preceded byDame Roma Mitchell
Succeeded byMarjorie Jackson-Nelson
Chief Commissioner of Sydney
In office
26 March 1987 – 31 December 1988
Preceded byDoug Sutherland
as Lord Mayor
Succeeded byJeremy Bingham
as Lord Mayor
Councillor of the Sydney County Council
for the 1st Constituency
In office
25 November 1987 – 2 January 1990
Preceded byJack Calpis
Succeeded byCouncil abolished
Personal details
Born (1924-06-03) 3 June 1924 (age 97)
London, England

Sir Eric James Neal, AC, CVO, FTSE (born 3 June 1924) is a retired Australian businessman and public officer. He is a former Governor of South Australia (1996–2001), Commissioner of Sydney (1987–1988), and Chancellor of Flinders University (2002–2010).


Neal trained as an engineer at the South Australian School of Mines (now part of the University of South Australia), and became a successful businessman. The peak of his career was fourteen years as CEO of Boral. He was also a Director of John Fairfax Holdings, BHP, Coca-Cola Amatil and AMP Limited and Chairperson of Westpac and Atlas Copco Australia Pty Ltd.

In 1984, Neal was listed as one of Australia's 125 best remunerated business executives by Australian Business magazine.[1] In 1992, journalist Andrew Cornell described him as a "tough, frequently autocratic businessman."[2] Not withstanding, he oversaw 14 years of consecutive and rising profits for shareholders and history has shown that his views and decisions made whilst on the Westpac Board were correct.[citation needed]

Neal has chaired various government advisory bodies and served as National Chairman, Duke of Edinburgh's Award (1984–92), President of the Order of Australia Association (1989–92), Chair of the Opera Foundation (1990–96). He was Chief Commissioner of the City of Sydney (1987–88) and a member of the Senate of the University of Sydney.[citation needed]

Neal was appointed Governor of South Australia in 1996, and became the first person from the business community to take up residence in Government House in Adelaide. He held the position until 2001, after which he served as Chancellor of Flinders University from 2002 until 2010.

Defence sector[edit]

Neal is a former Honorary Air Commodore of the City of Adelaide Squadron of the RAAF and Honorary Colonel of the Royal South Australia Regiment. He is also an honorary life member of the Returned and Services League of Australia.[3]

In 1981, Neal was appointed to a committee tasked with reviewing Australia's Higher Defence Organisation. In 1992 he was awarded the United States Department of Defence Medal for Distinguished Public Service for his contribution in Chairing the Council that organised Australian events commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea.[3]

In 2009 Neal commenced his final role in public office, serving as Chair of the Veterans Advisory Council in South Australia.[3] This culminated in the opening of the Memorial Walk in Kintore Avenue. Neal retired from the position in 2016,[4] concluding 76 years in private and public sector employment.


Neal was appointed (1984–1992) as National Chair of the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award – Australia and as an International Trustee of the Award from 1987–1997.[1]


  • He is a Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors[5]
  • He is one of only nine Honorary Fellows of the Australian Institute of Building[6]
  • The Sir Eric Neal Library at the University of South Australia was opened in his honour in 2001.[7]
  • A caricature of Eric Neal was donated to the National Portrait Gallery by the artist, Joe Greenberg, in 2001.[8]
  • Flinders University named its Engineering Building after him.[9]
  • On 17 April 2007, Sir Eric Neal accepted the offer of the Adelaide University Soccer Club Blacks invitation to become the club's patron.
  • First Principal Patron of the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men's Health at the University of Adelaide.
  • Honorary doctorates from the University of Sydney, University of South Australia (1996)[10] and Flinders University.
  • Patron of the Port Adelaide Football Club.
  • Gold Distinguished Service Medal, The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award – Australia (2016)[11]
OrderAustraliaRibbon.png Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) 1988[12]
Royal Victorian Order UK ribbon.png Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) 1992[13]
Knight-Bachelor.ribbon.png Knight Bachelor 1982[14][15]
Order of St John (UK) ribbon.png Knight of the Order of St John 1996
Centenary Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Centenary Medal 2001[16]
US DoD Distinguished Public Service Award BAR.svg Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service 1992
DOEA Gold Distinguished Service Medal.png Distinguished Service Medal – Gold 2016[17]

Personal life[edit]

Neal was born in London, England and migrated with his family to Adelaide in February 1927.[18] He became engaged to Joan Bowden in 1949,[19] they were married at St. Peter's Church Glenelg in 1950[20] and their first son was born in 1951 in Broken Hill.[21] A second son was born in 1963 in Ballarat.[citation needed]

Neal played football with the Adelaide University Soccer Club from 1946–49 and eventually became the club's patron.[22]


  1. ^ "Hawke not in accord on top salaries". The Canberra Times. 3 February 1984. Retrieved 3 June 2016 – via Trove.
  2. ^ "WESTPAC SHAKEOUT Neal's rise and fall both rapid". The Canberra Times. 2 October 1992. Retrieved 3 June 2016 – via Trove.
  3. ^ a b c "Veterans Advisory Council | 100 years of Anzac for SA". 1 May 2016. Archived from the original on 1 May 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2016.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  4. ^ Hamilton-Smith, Martin (24 May 2016). "Appointment of Veterans' Advisory Council Chair". Government of South Australia. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  5. ^ Australian Institute of Company Directors
  6. ^ AIB Honorary Fellows Archived 26 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Australian Institute of Building
  7. ^ "UniSA Sir Eric Neal Library | Thomson Rossi". Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Sir Eric Neal AC CVO, National Portrait Gallery". Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  9. ^ "Engineering – Sir Eric Neal Building". Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Sir Eric Neal Library". Archived from the original on 3 April 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  11. ^ Duke of Edinburgh's International Award, Australia[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ It's an Honour – Companion of the Order of Australia
  13. ^ It's an Honour – Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
  14. ^ It's an Honour – Knight Bachelor
  15. ^ "Killen, Court head knighthood list – The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995) – 12 Jun 1982". Retrieved 3 June 2016 – via Trove.
  16. ^ Duke of Edinburgh Award – Distinguished Service Medal
  17. ^ It's an Honour – Centenary Medal
  18. ^ "Interview". The State Library of South Australia. Adelaide. 2004. Retrieved 22 June 2019 – via Trove.
  19. ^ "DOUBLE EVENT AT PARTY". The Mail. Adelaide. 8 October 1949. Retrieved 3 June 2016 – via Trove.
  20. ^ "Family Notices". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 2 March 1950. Retrieved 29 February 2020 – via Trove.
  21. ^ "BABIES". Barrier Daily Truth. Broken Hill, NSW. 7 February 1951. Retrieved 3 June 2016 – via Trove.
  22. ^
Government offices
Preceded by
Dame Roma Mitchell
Governor of South Australia
Succeeded by
Marjorie Jackson-Nelson