Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Bolton

Frederick Watson Fellow 2003

Topic: A study of Paul Hasluck and his influence on Indigenous affairs and foreign policy
Professor Bolton gave a public lecture on his findings at the National Archives in Canberra on 19 May 2003.

Biographical note

Professor Bolton is Chancellor of Murdoch University and an extensively published historian. He has undertaken visiting fellowships at Kent, Cambridge and Oxford universities.


Professor Bolton's fellowship enabled him to write a book about Paul Hasluck and his influence on Indigenous affairs and foreign policy.

Professor Bolton's biography of Sir Paul Hasluck used National Archives records on the administration of the Territory of Papua New Guinea when he was Minister for Territories, records on his work as Head of the Australian Mission to the United Nations, and records relating to his time as an official World War II historian.


Paul Hasluck made a significant contribution to modern history in Australia. In the early 1940s he was a senior officer with the Department of External Affairs under HV Evatt, where he worked on the creation of the United Nations Charter and played a leading role in postwar planning. From the late 1940s to 1951 he was engaged as Official War Historian to write the political and social volumes of the official history of Australia in the World War II. Paul Hasluck joined the Liberal Party and was elected to the federal parliament and served as the Member of Parliament for Curtin (WA) from 1949 to 1969. During this time he held posts as the Minister for Territories, Minister for Defence and Minister for External Affairs.

As Minister for Territories, Paul Hasluck supported the policy on Aboriginal people known as 'assimilation', and helped to build and diversify the Northern Territory economy through mineral exploration and mining. He was Minister for External Affairs during the Vietnam War, and a major advocate of Australian intervention in Vietnam. From 1969 to 1974 he was Governor-General during the prime ministerships of John Gorton, William McMahon and the first half of Gough Whitlam's years.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2018