Skip to main content

We’re thrilled to welcome you back to the Gallery! Please see what we need you to do first.

Menu

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

John Burton, 1951

an unknown artist

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 25.1 cm x 19.9 cm, image: 24.8 cm x 19.6 cm)

John Burton (b. 1915), public servant, author and academic, was educated in Sydney and at the London School of Economics, where he gained his doctorate on a Public Service Scholarship in 1942. Returning to Australia, he rejoined the Commonwealth Public Service, in which he had worked before the war as a postal clerk. During World War 2 he accompanied 'Doc' Evatt on missions to the US and the UK, and he represented Australia at several major international conferences during the 1940s. In 1947, aged 32, he was appointed Permanent Head of the Department of External Affairs, a position he held until he was appointed High Commissioner to Ceylon in 1951. He resigned this post almost immediately to contest the Federal election as a Labor candidate in New South Wales, but was defeated. While farming in the Weetangera district, now suburban Canberra, he bought a Kingston book shop and hawked his stock from a bus throughout the local region, while he wrote, travelled, lectured and engaged in left party politics. His first book, The Alternative: A dynamic approach to Australian relations with Asia was published in 1954, and his second, Peace Theory: Preconditions of disarmament, written while he held a Fellowship at the ANU, in 1962. In 1964 he took a teaching position at University College, London, where he became co-Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Conflict. He lectured at the University of Kent before retiring and moving to the US, where he taught and helped to establish a number of university centres for conflict analysis and resolution. Burton has become known as a founder of the field of international conflict resolution through his books, which include International Relations: A general theory (1965), Deviance, Terrorism and War (1979), Global Conflict: The domestic sources of International Crisis (1983, Chinese translation 2007), Conflict Resolution: Theory and practice (1986), Conflict Resolution: Its language and processes (1996) and Violence Explained (1997).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Mr and Mrs John Burton 2007

Accession number: 2007.20

Currently not on display

Copyright image request form
Request a digital copy of an image for publication

Artist and subject

John Burton (age 36 in 1951)

Subject professions

Education and research

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Jessie Street, 1929 Jerrold Nathan
Jessie Street, 1929 Jerrold Nathan
Jessie Street, 1929 Jerrold Nathan
Jessie Street, 1929 Jerrold Nathan

Australia’s great internationalists

Magazine article by Penny Grist, 2016

Penelope Grist explores the United Nations stories in the Gallery’s collection.

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

The Gallery

Explore portraiture and come face to face with Australian identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity.

Plan your visit

Timed ticketing, location, accessibility and amenities

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia


Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.