1942 – Butler was born in Coolah in rural New South Wales on the 13th of May.
1965 – He joined the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and served in a number of postings, when he resigned to become Principal Private Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition, Gough Whitlam, who had recently been dismissed as Prime Minister.
1989 – He was Australian ambassador to Thailand.
1991 – He was Australian ambassador to Cambodia.
1992 – He was Australian ambassador to UN.
1997-2000 – He was chairman of UN special commission for disarmament of Iraq.
2003-2004 – He governor of Tasmania.