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Herbert Vere Evatt Edit Profile

also known as Bert, Doc Evatt, Dr H. V. Evatt


Herbert V. Evatt, Australian foreign minister. Member of House of Representatives since 1940.


Evatt, Herbert V. was born on April 30, 1894 in East Maitland, New South Wales. Son of John Ashmore Hamilton and Jeanie Sophia Evatt.


He graduated from St Andrew's College in 1919 with two University Medals, in Philosophy and Law.

He was President of the University of Sydney Union from 1916 to 1917.


Due to poor eyesight, Evatt was unable to serve in the First World War. He became a prominent industrial lawyer in Sydney.

In 1925 Evatt was elected as an Australian Labor Party member for Balmain in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly and served there until 1930.

New South Wales Legislative Assembly and served there until 1930.

In 1930 the Scullin Labor government appointed Evatt as the youngest-ever justice of the High Court of Australia. Evatt was one of six justices of the High Court to have served in the Parliament of New South Wales. In 1934 Evatt played an important part in the Egon Kisch exclusion when he ruled that the Lyons Government's ban on Kisch entering Australia had been incorrectly executed and that he was free to enter the country. In 1940 Evatt resigned from the High Court to return to politics, and was elected federal MP for the Sydney seat of Barton in the House of Representatives. In 1941 Evatt became Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs (Foreign Minister).

Evatt joined the diplomatic councils of the allies during the Second World War, and in 1945 he played a leading role in the founding of the UN. He was President of the U.N. General Assembly during 1948–1949. He helped draft the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and was also the first chairperson of the Atomic Energy Commission. He became deputy leader of the Labor Party after the 1946 election supporting Ben Chifley.

In the 1949 election, Labor was defeated by Menzies' new Liberal Party. When Ben Chifley (still Labor leader) died suddenly a few months later, Evatt was elected unopposed as his successor. Evatt's failure to win the 1954 election led him to blame the Catholic-dominated Industrial Groups in the party for sabotaging his campaign.

In 1960, the Labor government in New South Wales appointed Evatt Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, an appointment that was widely seen as a means of giving him a dignified exit from politics.


  • In 1924 Evatt was awarded the degree LLD, for his dissertation on prerogative powers of Governors in the British legal system.

    Herbert Evatt helped draft the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).

    The Evatt Foundation, a research institute for the labour movement, is named in his honour.

    The suburb of Evatt, which lies in the Belconnen district of Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, is also named in his honour.

    In November 1965, the NSW State Government opened Evatt Park in Lugarno. The park is still used frequently for recreation.

    United Nations Youth Australia runs an annual national schools debating trophy competition named the Evatt Trophy Competition in honor of Evatt.


  • Other Work

    • Author books and monographs on international relations, history, legal and political subjects. Australian representative, United Nations Security Council, Atomic Energy Commission.


Member House of Representatives since 1940.


He was a son of John and Jeanie Evatt, and elder brother of Clive Evatt.

John Ashmore Hamilton

Jeanie Sophia Evatt

Mary Alice Sheffer