Ashton Calvert

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Dr Ashton Calvert
Ashton Calvert.jpg
Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
In office
1 April 1998 – 4 January 2005
12th Ambassador of Australia to Japan
In office
1993 (1993) – 1998 (1998)
Personal details
Born Ashton Trevor Calvert
(1945-11-09)9 November 1945
Hobart, Tasmania
Died 16 November 2007(2007-11-16) (aged 62)
Nationality Australian
Spouse(s) Mikie
Children Felicity and Timothy
Parents Bob and Noreen Calvert
Occupation Public servant

Dr Ashton Trevor Calvert AC (9 November 1945 – 16 November 2007) was a senior Australian public servant. He was Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade between April 1998 and January 2005.

Early life[edit]

Ashton Calvert was born on 9 November 1945 in Hobart, Tasmania.[1][2] He was the great-grandchild of free settler to Tasmania William Calvert, who had arrived on the island in 1832.[3]

Ashton Calvert attended Hobart High School and then the University of Tasmania.[1] As a Rhodes Scholar, he went on to attend Oxford University, attaining a doctorate in mathematics.[4] During his time at Oxford, Calvert was the president-cox of the Oxford rowing team.[5][6]


Calvert joined the Australian Public Service in 1970 in the Department of External Affairs (later Department of Foreign Affairs).[4] His first overseas post was to Japan in 1971, where he spent four years.[7]

In October 1993, after nearly two years as a staffer in then Prime Minister Paul Keating's office, Calvert was appointed Australian Ambassador to Japan.[8]

Calvert was appointed Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in April 1998. During his time as Secretary of the department, Calvert made significant contributions to the Doha Development Round trade negotiations and helped to secure a deal to launch negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia, New Zealand and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (since concluded).[9] Calvert retired from his Secretary role in January 2005.[10]

Calvert joined the Rio Tinto Board with effect from 1 February 2005.[11] In August 2005 he was appointed to the Woodside Petroleum Board.[12] He resigned from both boards in November 2007 due to illness, after a medical diagnosis of aggressive cancer.[13]

Awards and honours[edit]

Ashton Calvert was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in January 2003 for service to the development of Australian foreign policy, including advancement of business relations between Australia and Japan, and for leadership and highly distinguished contributions to Australia's overall economic and security interests at critical times in the international environment.[14]

In 2009, a street in the Canberra suburb of Casey was named Ashton Calvert Street to honour Calvert.[2]


On 16 November 2007, in Canberra, Calvert died from cancer at age 62.[2][15]


  1. ^ a b Stephens, Tony (23 November 2007). "Diplomat always at the centre". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 25 February 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Ashton Calvert Street, ACT Government Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate, archived from the original on 25 February 2014 
  3. ^ Alexander, Alison, "Calvert Family", The Companion to Tasmanian History, University of Tasmania, retrieved 26 February 2014 
  4. ^ a b Downer, Alexander (16 November 2007). "Dr Ashton Calvert AC" (Press release). Archived from the original on 1 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Quarrell, Rachel (25 March 2008). "Presidents forgo paddles in the boat race". The Telegraph. United Kingdom. Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Walters, Patrick (12 March 2007). "Reticent chemical weapons crusader who changed the world". The Australian. News Corp Australia. 
  7. ^ "Keating picks career man as new adviser". The Canberra Times. 3 January 1992. p. 2. 
  8. ^ "Calvert is new ambassador". The Canberra Times. 2 October 1993. p. 2. 
  9. ^ Vaile, Mark (2 December 2004). "Dr Ashton Calvert" (Press release). Archived from the original on 1 May 2013. 
  10. ^ Kelly, Hugo (2 December 2004). "Ashton Calvert Out, Michael L'Estrange In". Crikey. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. 
  11. ^ Non Executive Directors, 2004, archived from the original on 14 September 2015 
  12. ^ Mayne, Stephen (17 August 2015). "Ashton Calvert makes it into the director's club". Crikey. Archived from the original on 14 September 2015. 
  13. ^ Wilson, Nigel (19 November 2007). "Rio, Woodside boards depleted by death". The Australian. News Limited. 
  14. ^ Search Australian Honours: CALVERT, Ashton Trevor, Australian Government, archived from the original on 26 February 2014 
  15. ^ Brief Biography of Dr Ashton Calvert, Curtin University, 7 December 2011, archived from the original on 5 May 2013 

References and further reading[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Rawdon Dalrymple
Australian Ambassador to Japan
1993 – 1998
Succeeded by
Peter Grey
Government offices
Preceded by
Philip Flood
Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
1998 – 2005
Succeeded by
Michael L'Estrange