University of Sydney (B.Ec., 1932)

Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A., 1934; M. A., 1939)

(Deceased), 1977-12-14
History, Heritage And Archaeology

Butlin was awarded a public exhibition in 1928 and enrolled in economics at the University of Sydney (B.Ec., 1932).[1] After being awarded many travelling scholarships, he entered Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A., 1934; M.A., 1939), where he gained the following accolades: Economics (first place, high distinction), English (second place, high distinction), the Frank Albert Prize for general proficiency and the Chamber of Commerce Prize for the best degree pass.[1][4]

Butlin pioneered the historical study of Australian money and banking according to rigorous professional standards.[5] He was a member of the Faculty of Economics at the University of Sydney from 1935 and accepted a personal chair at The Australian University in 1971, where he finished his working career.[1][5]


He is the author and co-author of several seminal works in the fields of economics and history, including:

  • Foundations of the Australian Monetary System 1788–1851 — S. J. Butlin (Melbourne, 1953)
  • 'Australia in the War of 1939-1945 : Volume III — War Economy, 1939–1942' — S. J. Butlin (1955)
  • 'Australia in the War of 1939-1945 : Volume IV — War Economy, 1942–1945' — S. J. Butlin and C. B. Schedvin (1977)
  • 'Australia and New Zealand Bank' — S. J. Butlin (1961)
  • 'The Australian Monetary System, 1851–1914' — S. J. Butlin [published posthumously by his daughter] (Sydney, 1986)[1]

An influential figure at the University of Sydney in the l950s and 1960s, he was a confidant of the vice-chancellor (Sir) Stephen Roberts. Butlin was a member of the senate (1963-67), chairman of the appointments board (1954-55, 1958-61) and of the Social Science Research Council of Australia (1958-62), president of the Economic Society of Australia and New Zealand (1953-54), a member of the Round Table group, and a founder and deputy chairman (1962-77) of Sydney University Press. As a chairman, he allowed committees free rein and then pulled the discussion together in a few, crisp sentences.