“Doc” Herbert V. Evatt

Herbert V. Evatt

Herbert V. Evatt

During his time at the University of Sydney, Herbert V. Evatt “took every possible honour and prize”, according to former Vice-Chancellor Emeritus Professor S H Roberts at the ceremony of conferring an honorary degree of Doctor of Science to him in 1952. Evatt later became a Justice of the High Court of Australia, President of the United Nations General Assembly and Deputy Prime Minister.

After having won scholarships to attend the University of Sydney in 1911, Evatt earned a Bachelor of Arts (1915), Master of Arts (1917), a Bachelor of Law (1918) and a Doctor of Law (1924), setting himself up to become the youngest High Court Judge in 1930, at the age of 36.

During the 1930s, Evatt focussed on cultural pursuits - he and his wife are said to be the first Australians to procure a Modigliani – and became a productive historian and author of several books about politics, law and cricket. He was awarded a Doctor of Letters from the University in 1944. Meanwhile, Evatt was serving as Australia's Attorney General and Minister for External Affairs, the latter of which in particular brought out his severe fear of flying, having to travel to Washington and London to join the diplomatic councils of the allies during the Second World War. In 1945, Evatt was involved in the founding of the United Nations, and was President of the General Assembly from 1948 to 1949, during which he helped draft the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.