He was educated at Mentone Grammar School, Scotch College, Melbourne, the University of Melbourne, the University of Oxford and Princeton University. He has been voted one of Australia's ten most influential public intellectuals
He taught modern history and economics but wrote chiefly about town planning, housing policies, and social scientists' ways of explaining complex historical processes. He was the deputy chair of the South Australian Housing Trust for 17 years. Prior to his death, he resided in Adelaide, Australia.
In the Queen's Birthday Honours on 2004, Hugh Stretton was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), at the time the highest honour within the Order of Australia. The citation read "For service as a historian, social commentator and writer profoundly influencing and shaping ideas in the community on urban policy, town planning, and social and economic development".
- Gibilisco, Peter (7 January 2000). "Hugh Stretton and his Social Theory". Journal of Economic and Social Policy. 5 (1 Article 5). Retrieved 2015-08-03.
- "First Cohort for Thought". The Australian. 4 October 2006. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
- It's an Honour: Centenary Medal. Retrieved 16 September 2015
- It's an Honour: AC. Retrieved 16 September 2015
- "Historian and academic Professor Hugh Stretton dies in Adelaide after long illness". The Sunday Times. Perth. 19 July 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
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