Reflections of a Founding Father; Charles Kiefel AM

Charles Kiefel AM, a member of the Menzies Foundation Council and a founding member of the Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Trust, recently contacted the Foundation to share memorabilia of the Foundation from its earliest days.

Charles reflects:

“In 1978, the question was asked – as a nation, how might we best mark and commemorate, the great contribution the late Sir Robert Gordon Menzies made to the nation. Funded by a public community appeal and led by then Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser; an inspired small, select group of influential leaders across Australia came together to form the Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Trust Committee.

Tasked with specific criteria, in 1979, this committee established the Menzies Foundation. As a non-negotiable guideline, the Foundation would function as a non-partisan; not for profit organisation, focused deeply on leadership and leadership development, with the support of Menzies family members.

We should acknowledge the important contribution made by the founding members of the Trust; whose legacy continues to underpin the work of the Foundation today”.

Please view the founding members of the Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Trust

SIR ROBERT MENZIES MEMORIAL TRUST, 23 MAY 1978 – speech of The Right Honourable Malcolm Fraser AC CH GCL PC



During its first 40 years, the Foundation awarded scholarships to support outstanding young Australians to pursue their interest in the law, engineering, medicine, allied health and more. Throughout this time the Foundation made several significant grants to support medical research.

The Foundation is proudly non-partisan and as such, our strategic platform aspires to ensure that Sir Robert Menzies legacy as a leader continues to inform and influence the development of a contemporary understanding of outstanding leadership. This is inspired by the seminal role played by Menzies in Australia’s post war emergence as an independent nation. Like our namesake, the Menzies Foundation is dedicated to endorsing leadership initiatives that tackle pertinent issues relevant to Australia’s future.

Like all leaders, Sir Robert Menzies experienced success and failure, his many notable achievements were punctuated by moments of uncertainty and discouragement. One of the key attributes of great leaders is how they face adversity. Menzies used these setbacks and moments of introspection to learn, grow and ultimately become a leader who inspired the nation and was respected by all, irrespective of political persuasion.

Sir Robert Menzies embodied many of the leadership qualities that remain important today. Integrity, purpose, strong values, a regard for all Australians and pride in our nation provided the strong core from which he devoted his life to service.

Please consider joining The Leaders Pledge to raise the profile and importance of outstanding leadership as we encourage Australians to reflect on leadership, build their leadership capability and act for the greater good.

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