Doc Evatt, Ardoch resident 1933-37

Bert Evatt


Herbert Evatt (1894–1965), lawyer and well-known Federal Labor politician, lived at Ardoch between 1933 and 1937 when he was a High Court judge.

Herbert Evatt was born in New South Wales. Academically gifted, he gained his BA, MA and LLB in quick succession and was called to the Bar in 1918. During the 1920s he was awarded a Doctor of Laws (LLD) in 1924 and appointed a King’s Counsel in 1929.

He was elected to the NSW Legislative Assembly in 1925 but left state politics in 1930 to concentrate on law. His practice was large, successful and profitable. In this year he was appointed as a justice of the High Court of Australia: the youngest judge ever to be appointed.

After ten years, he returned to politics, this time at a federal level, and was active between 1940 and 1958, holding the positions of Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs (1941–49). He gained an international reputation during his work and involvement with the United Nations and became the first president of the Atomic Energy Commission in 1946. He went on to become Leader of the Opposition (the Australian Labor Party) from 1951 until 1960.

Evatt contributed to Australian cultural life as a patron of modern art and his involvement with the New South Wales public library. He was awarded a Doctor of Letters in 1944 and contributed to public dialogue through the publication of history books.

His biography in the Australian Dictionary of Biography describes him as an educated man who chose public life ahead of a profitable career in the law. He was highly regarded as both a jurist and Australian Foreign Minister but a lack of strong interpersonal skills sullied his reputation with some commentators.’[1]

[1] G. C. Bolton, ‘Evatt, Herbert Vere (Bert) (1894–1965)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 14 December 2022

See also the Wikipedia entry on H. V. Evatt.