Emerita Professor Meredith Edwards. Photo: supplied.

Emerita Professor Meredith Edwards. Photo: supplied.

Alumni Then and Now: Emerita Professor Meredith Edwards AM, PhD ’83

MEREDITH EDWARDS' career has had two constants, the public service and ANU.

For more than four decades, Meredith has had both of them interwoven into a vocation that has brought her to the heart of some of Australia's major social policy changes.

But before her career started, Meredith had acquired exposure to both institutions through her father Dr John Burton

He was appointed secretary of the Department of External Affairs in 1947 and was instrumental in the post-war reconstruction of Australia, which included working at ANU in its early days.

Meredith, aged 16, started her economics degree at the Canberra University College which two years later was incorporated into ANU.

There she received attention she didn't expect.

"After the public service, Dad ran a bookshop in Green Square in Kingston and was the Messerschmitt dealer in Canberra.

"He used to have a car in the window of the shop and I used to drive it to my classes at Canberra University College," Meredith says.

"I never forgot the dark winter's night when I came out of a lecture to find my car missing.

"The boys in my class had picked it up and hidden it in the bushes.

"On another occasion I found it on the Childers Street hall stage.

"At that stage my chosen course of honours in economics wasn't offered here so I moved to Melbourne to complete it. I soon returned though."