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Biographical entry Hogbin, Herbert Ian Priestley (1904 - 1989)

17 December 1904
Bawtry, Yorkshire, England
2 August 1989
Potts Point, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Alternative Names
  • Hogbin, Herbert William (Birth name)


Herbert Ian P. Hogbin was born Herbert William Hogbin but changed his name by deed poll in 1926. As an anthropologist, Hogbin went on many expeditions including Rennell Is. (1927), Ontong-Java (1928-1929), Malaita (1933), Guadalcanal (1933) and New Guinea (1934-1935, 1946-1950). Herbert Hogbin was Reader in Anthropology at the University of Sydney (1948-1969) and a Professorial Fellow at Macquarie University (1970-1979).


Herbert Ian Priestly Hogbin (then legally known as Herbert William Hogbin) migrated to Australia with his family when he was still quite young. After completing his schooling, Hogbin graduated with double Honours in English and Geography at the University of Sydney (1926). The following year Hogbin was assisting A.R. Radcliff-Brown in his expeditions to Rennell Island and Ontaga-Java. He also completed a Diploma of Education in that year. This was followed by a Masters of Arts in anthropology (sociology and linguistics) and a trip to London as part of his Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to complete a Doctor of Philosophy (Anthropology) at the London School of Economics. His dissertation was published in 1934 as Law and Order in Polynesia.

Hogbin returned to Australia in 1931, and took up the post of acting anthropology lecturer at the University of Sydney. However Hogbin actually spent most of the following 3 years conducting field studies in Melanesia (Malaita and Guadalcanal) and in New Guinea (Wogeo). He resigned from the University in 1933, but was offered a permanent lectureship in 1936. His teaching was put on hold during the war years.

In 1942 Herbert Hogbin was appointed to the Prime Minister's Committee on National Morale where his investigations included the effects of troops on civilian life. The following year saw Hogbin work as an adviser to the British Solomons Government. There he was directed to help the Solomon Islands and their people rehabilitate after the war and was appointed a Captain in the British Solomons Islands Defence Force. In 1944 the Australian Imperial Forces enlisted Hogbin as an assistant to the Research Directorate and made him a lieutenant-colonel.

Once his war duties were over, Hogbin retuned to the anthropology department at the University of Sydney (1946) and was promoted to Reader. He continued his field work until 1950 and retired from the University in 1970. He then began lecturing at Macquarie University, a position he held for a further ten years. During this time he also served as an External Examiner for the University of Papua-New Guinea. Throughout his career, Herbert Hogbin published many reports, articles and books which contributed greatly to the field of anthropology

Contributors: We would like to thank Geoffrey Gray, Terry Beavan and the University of Sydney Archives for information and references they have provided for this entry.


Life event - Migrated to Australia with his family
Education - Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)) completed at the University of Sydney
Education - Diploma of Education (DipEd) completed at the University of Sydney
Education - Anthropological expedition to Rennell Island in the South Pacific
Education - Master of Arts (MA) completed at the University of Sydney
1928 - 1929
Education - Anthropological research expedition to Ongtong-Java
Education - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) completed at the University of London
August 1931 - August 1932
Career position - Acting Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Sydney
Education - Anthropological expedition to the Solomon Islands, funded by the Australian National Research Council
Career position - Anthropological research expedition to Guadalcanal and Malaita
1934 - 1935
Education - Anthropological research expedition to New Guinea
1936 - 1948
Career position - Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Sydney
Career position - Member of the Committee on National Morale, Australia
Career position - Advisor and Captain in the British Solomons Islands Defence Force
Award - Wellcome Medal received
1944 - 1946
Career position - Advisor and Member of the Research Directorate of the Australian Defence Forces
1946 - 1950
Career position - Anthropological research expedition to New Guinea
1948 - 1949
Career position - Fellow of the Australian National University
1948 - 1969
Career position - Reader in Anthropology at the University of Sydney
Career position - Anthropological Editor of the Encyclopaedia of Papua New Guinea

Archival resources

University of Sydney, Archives

  • Herbert Ian Priestley Hogbin - Records, 1924 - 1960, P 15; University of Sydney, Archives. Details

Published resources


  • Beckett, Jeremy, Conversations with Ian Hogbin, University of Sydney, Sydney, 1989. Details
  • Whyte, J.P., A Bibliography of the Works of Ian Hogbin, G.3/187 Hogbin, H.I.P., University of Sydney Library, 1970. Details

Book Sections

  • Hogbin, Ian, 'Radcliffe-Brown, Alfred Reginald (1881-1955), Anthropologist', in Geoffrey Serle (ed.), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 11, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1988, p. 322. Also available at Details
  • Maddock, Kenneth, 'Herbert Ian Priestley Hogbin, 1904-1989', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004. Details

Journal Articles

  • Lilley, F.E.M. and Day, Alan A., 'Conversations with Ian Hogbin', Eos: Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, vol. 74, no. 9, 1993, pp. 94, 102-103. Details

Online Resources

McCarthy, G.J.