Honorary awards

The Right Honourable Herbert Vere Evatt, QC

The honorary degree of Doctor of Science was conferred upon the Right Honourable Herbert Vere Evatt by the Chancellor Sir Charles Bickerton Blackburn at the ceremony of conferring of honorary degrees held on 29 August 1952 as part of the University of Sydney's Centenary celebrations.

The Right Honourable Herbert Vere Evatt, QC, MA DLitt LLD Sydney Hon LLD Leeds, California, Southern California & Fordham (NY), was Leader of the Federal Opposition and Fellow of the University Senate.

The Right Honourable Herbert Vere Evatt

photo from the Sydney Morning Herald, copies held by the University of Sydney Archives.


Presented by the Vice-Chancellor, Emeritus Professor S H Roberts:

Mr Chancellor, Herbert Vere Evatt represents the infinite possibilities open to any member of the Australian community. Following an unprecedented career within the University of Sydney, in which he took every possible honour and prize, he was a Justice of the High Court of Australia from 1930 to 1940, when he resigned to enter the doughty fights of the political arena. He was Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs from 1941 to 1949 and in the last three years of that period was Deputy Prime Minister. It is invidious to speak of Dr. Evatt's claims to Australian and international fame; but he is known to the whole world as the President of the United Nations in the Session of 1948-1949.

It was previously my honour, as the then Chairman of the Professorial Board, to present Dr. Evatt for his degree of Doctor of Letters, the first to be conferred within this University; since he was previously a Doctor of Laws, he now becomes the first triple Doctor within the University of Sydney.

Turning from his political and international work, however, I prefer on this occasion to speak of the work of Dr. Evatt in the field of scientific research within the social sciences. In addition to his publications on technical legal subjects, and notwithstanding the clamant calls of public duties, he has produced a series of works which places him in the first rank of historians in Australia. From the time that he produced a work on "Liberalism in Australia," he has ranged over the historical gamut from the most erudite treatise on "The King and His Dominion Governors" to a study of the case of the Dorchester labourers and the "Rum Rebellion," which deals with the overthrow of Governor Bligh by the New South Wales Corps. His latest historical work is a biography of that great leader of the Australian Labour Movement, W A Holman.

Mr Chancellor, by reason of these multifarious achievements in academic, public, historical, and international fields, I have the honour to present to you The Right Honourable Herbert Vere Evatt, one of Her Majesty's Counsel, Doctor of Laws and Doctor of Letters within the University of Sydney, and the recipient of honours the world over.

From "The University of Sydney Centenary Celebrations August 26 - August 31, 1952" compiled by the Office of Information and Public Relations. Allan Gamble, Information and Public Relations Officer.