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Eric Neal facts for kids

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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
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
26 March 1987 – 31 December 1988
Preceded by Doug Sutherland
as Lord Mayor
Succeeded by Jeremy Bingham
as Lord Mayor
Councillor of the Sydney County Council
for the 1st Constituency
In office
25 November 1987 – 2 January 1990
Preceded by Jack Calpis
Succeeded by Council abolished
Personal details
Born (1924-06-03) 3 June 1924 (age 99)
London, England
Nationality Australian

Sir Eric James Neal, AC, CVO, KStJ, FTSE (born 3 June 1924) is an Australian retired businessman and public officer. He is a former Commissioner of Sydney (1987–1988), Governor of South Australia (1996–2001) 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 and Chairperson of Westpac and Atlas Copco Australia.

In 1984, Neal was listed as one of Australia's 125 best remunerated business executives by Australian Business magazine. In 1992, journalist Andrew Cornell described him as a "tough, frequently autocratic businessman." 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.

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.

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, Adelaide. He held the position until 2001, after which he served as Chancellor of Flinders University from 2002 until 2010.

Defence sector

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

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.

In 2009 Neal commenced his final role in public office, serving as Chair of the Veterans Advisory Council in South Australia. This culminated in the opening of the Memorial Walk in Kintore Avenue. Neal retired from the position in 2016, 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 to 1997.[1] He and his wife, Lady Joan Neal AM were World Fellows of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award International Association.


  • He is a Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • He is one of only nine Honorary Fellows of the Australian Institute of Building
  • The Sir Eric Neal Library at the University of South Australia was opened in his honour in 2001.
  • A caricature of Eric Neal was donated to the National Portrait Gallery by the artist, Joe Greenberg, in 2001.
  • Flinders University named its Engineering Building after him.
  • 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) and Flinders University.
  • Patron of the Port Adelaide Football Club.
  • Gold Distinguished Service Medal, The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award – Australia (2016)
AUS Order of Australia (civil) BAR.svg Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) 1988
Royal Victorian Order UK ribbon.png Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) 1992
Knight-Bachelor.ribbon.png Knight Bachelor 1982
Order of St John (UK) ribbon -vector.svg Knight of the Order of St John 1996
AUS Centenary Medal ribbon.svg Centenary Medal 2001
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

Personal life

Neal was born in London, England and migrated with his family to Adelaide in February 1927. He became engaged to Joan Bowden in 1949, they were married at St Peter's Church, Glenelg in 1950 and their first son was born in 1951 in Broken Hill. A second son was born in 1963 in Ballarat. Lady Thelma 'Joan' Neal AM DstJ died in Adelaide on 28 February 2023.

Neal played football with the Adelaide University Soccer Club from 1946 to 1949 and eventually became the club's patron.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Eric Neal para niños

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