Eric Neal

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The Honourable
Sir Eric Neal
Sir Eric Neal in Adelaide, South Australia 2016.jpg
Sir Eric Neal in Adelaide (2016)
32nd Governor of South Australia
In office
Monarch Elizabeth II
Premier Dean Brown (1996)
John Olsen (1996-2001)
Preceded by Dame Roma Mitchell
Succeeded by Marjorie Jackson-Nelson
Chief Commissioner of Sydney
In office
Preceded by Doug Sutherland
as Lord Mayor
Succeeded by Jeremy Bingham
as Lord Mayor
Personal details
Born (1924-06-24) 24 June 1924 (age 92)
Nationality Australian

Sir Eric James Neal AC CVO FTSE HonFAIB (born 3 June 1924) was the Governor of South Australia from 1996 until 2001, Commissioner of Sydney from 1987 until 1988, and the Chancellor of Flinders University from 2002 until 2010.

He 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 of 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.

He 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 in 1987-88 and a member of the Senate of the University of Sydney.

He was appointed Governor of South Australia in 1996, being the first person from the business community to take up residence in Government House in Adelaide. He recently retired after 76 years in the workforce! his last role, Chair of the Veterans Advisory Council in SA, culminated wiht the opening of the Memorial Walk, in Kintore Avenue.


  • He is a Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors[3]
  • He is one of only nine Honorary Fellows of the Australian Institute of Building[4]
  • In 2004 the Sir Eric Neal Library at the University of South Australia was opened in his honour.[5]
  • On 17 April 2007, Sir Eric Neal accepted the offer of the Adelaide University Soccer Club Blacks invitation to become the club's patron.
  • Flinders University named its Engineering Building after him.
  • He was the first Principal Patron of the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men's Health at the University of Adelaide.
  • Since 2009 he has chaired the South Australian Government Veterans' Advisory Council.[6]
  • He has honorary doctorates from the Universities of Sydney, South Australia and Flinders.
  • He is also Patron of the the Port Adelaide Football Club- Power.
OrderAustraliaRibbon.png Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) 1988[7]
Knight-Bachelor.ribbon.png Knight Bachelor 1982[8][9]
Royal Victorian Order UK ribbon.png Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) 1992[10]
Order of St John (UK) ribbon.png Knight of the Order of St John 1996
Centenary Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Centenary Medal 2001[11]

Personal life[edit]

Neal married Joan Bowden in 1949[12] and their first son was born in 1951 in Broken Hill.[13]

A second son was born in 1963 in Ballarat.


Government offices
Preceded by
Dame Roma Mitchell
Governor of South Australia
Succeeded by
Marjorie Jackson-Nelson