Herbert Watkin

Herbert Watkin

Name: Herbert Watkin

Epoch: Late 20th Century

Grouping Field: Humanities (Ideas Formatted as Ideas) and Social Science (Models)

Location Grouping: Individual\'s Work Location

Map Coordinates: 27°28\'17.6\"S 153°01\'24.8\"E

Years At Location: 1952-1964

One Historical Setting: Sir Herbert George Watkin, Director-General of Education, Queensland Department of Education, Treasury Building, Queens Street, Brisbane City (1964)

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Herbert Watkin was Director-General of Education from 1952. He was Deputy Chancellor (1953-1966) of the University of Queensland, and received an honorary doctorate of laws in 1960. Watkin was a founding fellow (1961) of the Australian College of Education. He was also the Chairman (1959) of the National Fitness Council of Queensland, and a trustee (1959-1966) of the Queensland Art Gallery.

Impact On Brisbane Society

Watkin is a controversial figure, typical of Queensland education; he sat-on necessary reforms for a decade, delaying, but gained the political credit when major reforms finally broke through. Watkin was considered aloof, authoritarian and conservative by his senior officers and teachers. When the reforms came under the Minister Jack Pizzey, Watkin presented a four-page interim report recommending abolition of the State scholarship examination, entry to high school after seven rather than eight years of primary schooling, a new secondary curriculum devised to suit individual aptitudes and interests, and an increase in the minimum school leaving age to 15 years. It was a summary of the work from much earlier educators. Watkin had himself been proud of his success as a ‘scholarship teacher’, and had defended the old system until becoming a late-in-the-day convert.


Geoffrey Swan, ‘Watkin, Sir Herbert George (1898–1966)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/watkin-sir-herbert-george-11974/text21463, published first in hardcopy 2002, accessed online 21 June 2019.

Clarke, Eddie; Watson, Tom. (ed.) Soldiers of the Service, Volume 3: Mid Twentieth Century Queensland Educators, History of Queensland Education Society, QUT Printing Services, 2006.

Image Citation

Hebert G. Watkins [https://education.qld.gov.au/about-us/history/chronology-of-education-in-queensland/directors-general]