Professor Herbert (Joe) Burton

Professor Herbert (Joe) Burton was an economic historian and university administrator. Born in 1900 near Ipswich, Professor Burton attended UQ to complete a Bachelor of Arts with a focus on modern languages in 1922. He was selected as a Rhodes Scholar and consequently attended Queen’s College, Oxford.

After returning to Australia and briefly teaching in high schools, in 1930 Professor Burton took up a position in economic history at the University of Melbourne. He produced research covering issues on the economy, immigration and population and served on a number of boards and organisations both inside and outside of the university.

In 1948, Professor Burton joined the Canberra University College as inaugural principal and professor of economic history. The college amalgamated with the Australian National University in 1960, in a process that was in great part led by Professor Burton. He became principal of the School of General Studies at ANU, generating interest from school-leavers by establishing undergraduate scholarships and building residential accommodation.

Following his retirement in 1965, Professor Burton remained active in organisations and committees tasked with guiding policy and strategy for advanced education and social science research up until the early 1980s. He was named a Commander of the British Empire in 1962 and awarded a Doctor of Laws honoris causa by UQ in 1967. Professor Burton passed away in 1983.


Doctor of Laws honoris causa


Bachelor of Arts