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Noel Butlin was born in Sydney on 21 December 1921. In 1942 he graduated from the University of Sydney with first class honours and the University Medal. From 1946-1949 he lectured in Economics, University of Sydney and in 1950-1951 was a Rockefeller Fellow at Harvard University. In 1951 he accepted a Senior Research Fellow, Department of Economics, Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University (ANU) and in 1954 held the position of Reader in Economics at ANU. Butlin became Professor of Economic History at ANU in 1962 and in the mid 1970s was Director of the Botany Bay Project, Research School of Social Sciences at ANU. Noel Butlin died on 2 April 1991, aged 69. The Noel Butlin Archives Centre (formerly the ANU Archives of Business and Labour) is named in his honour.