Associate Professor Michael Horsburgh AM

Honorary Associate Professor


Phone: +61 2  9351

Fax: +61 2  9351

Building.Room: .

Professional biography

Michael Horsburgh, a graduate of the Universities of Sydney and New South Wales, taught social policy in the School of Social Work at the University of New South Wales in 1971 and in the Social Work and Arts programs at the University of Sydney from 1972 to 1999.  He was promoted senior lecturer in 1979 and associate professor in 1986.  He served as head of department on several occasions and was, for a period, head of the School of Studies in Religion.  He retired in 1999 on reaching the age of 60.  His principal academic interests were in the history of social policy in Australia, social security and child welfare policy and the influence of Christianity on social policy.  Since 1981 he has been a part-time member of the Australian Social Security Appeals Tribunal, of which he is now the longest serving member.  Following his retirement he served as chair of the Academic Board of the Sydney College of Divinity, which, in 2005, awarded him the degree of Doctor of Theology honoris causa.  In 2001 he was awarded the Centenary Medal and in 2009 was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his contributions to the community through the Anglican Church and through theological and social work education.

Selected publications


  • Horsburgh, M. (2010). Doing Good Well: seventy years of social work education at the University of Sydney: 1940-2010. Sydney: Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney.
  • Horsburgh, M. & Rodgers, M. (1989). In penitence and hope : remarriage and the Anglican Church of Australia. Sydney: Anglican General Synod Social Responsibilities Commission.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1975). The Volunteer Bureau: A Pilot Study. Queanbeyan,: Australian Government Social Welfare Commission.

Book chapters

  • Horsburgh, M. (2007). Kewley, Thomas Henry (1911–1989). In , Australian Dictionary of Biography (Vol. 17,), Canberra: Australian National University.
  • Horsburgh, M. (2000). Government and Welfare: the Australian Constitution and social policy (in Japanese). In R. Koboyashi (Ed.), Social Welfare in the Contemporary World: Australia and New Zealand (pp. 36–50), Tokyo: Junpousha.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1994). Benjamin Danks. In Brian Dickey (Ed.), The Australian Dictionary of Evangelical Biography Sydney: Evangelical History Association.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1994). E.J. Rodd . In Brian Dickey (Ed.), The Australian Dictionary of Evangelical Biography Sydney: Evangelical History Association.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1994). Wallace Deane. In Brian Dickey (Ed.), The Australian Dictionary of Evangelical Biography Sydney: Evangelical History Association.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1992). A response from Michael Horsburgh. In Margaret Rodgers and Maxwell Thomas (Eds.), A Theology of the Human Person (pp. 35–42), North Blackburn: Collins Dove.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1991). The family - problem or challenge?. In Paul Henman (Ed.), Crosstalk: Topics of Australian Church and Society (pp. 78–89), Brisbane: Boolarong Publications.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1989). Christian values, immigration and Australia. In B. N. Kaye and J. W. Nevile (Eds.), Immigration and the Kind of Australia We Want, Kensington, N.S.W: New College, University of New South Wales.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1989). Policy and practice in community welfare. In R. Blackmore (Ed.), The Children's Court and Community Welfare in NSW (pp. 91–104), Melbourne: Longman Cheshire.
  • Graycar, A., Horsburgh, M. and Wyndham, D. (1988). Welfare. In D. H. Borchardt and V. Crittenden (Eds.), Australians: A guide to sources (pp. 356–364), Broadway, NSW: Fairfax, Syme and Weldon Associates.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1983). Social Welfare. In B. Fraser (Ed.), Macquarie Book of Events (pp. 457–465), Sydney: Macquarie Library.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1980). Organisational goals in an historical review: the New South Wales foster care system, 1881-1890. In R. C. Sarri and R. J. Lawrence (Eds.), Issues in the Evaluation of Social Welfare Programmes: Australian Case Illustrations (pp. 59–63), Kensington, N.S.W: New South Wales University Press.

Journal articles

  • Horsburgh, M. (2007). Personal Reflections on Australian Social Work. Australian Social Work (60th anniversary' issue), 60(4), 391–394.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1999). Knowing and doing justice in a new millennium(Address to the National Forum of the National Council of Churches in Australia, Sydney, 3rd October 1998). Lutheran Theological Journal, 33(2), 86–96.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1997). Towards an inclusive spirituality: wholeness interdependence and waiting (Keynote, Inaugural Australian Conference on Disability, Religion and Health: Exploring the Spiritual Dimensions of Disability, University of Queensland, 18-20 October 1996). Disability and Rehabilitation, 19(10), 398–406.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1996). Issues in the development of a social security appeals system (International Symposium on Social Security, China International Conference Centre for Science and Technology, Beijing, 28-29 August 1993). Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work, 6(1), 81–96.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1992). Curriculum discussions at Newton College. Melanesian Journal of Theology, 8(1), 6–14.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1992). A theological curriculum for the whole person (Conference of the Melanesian Association of Theological Schools, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 30 June - 4 July 1992). Melanesian Journal of Theology, 8(2), 7–17.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1991). Theological education and change in society (14th Joint Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Theological Schools and the Australian and New Zealand Society for Theological Studies, Sydney, 8-12 July, 1991). Colloquium, 23(3), 109–121.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1991). Middle axioms and social policy: an Australian Perspective. Social Policy and Administration, 25(2), 121–135.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1988). Legislating to reform disability programs: Accommodating the Cass Proposals (Seminar, Renovating the Social Security Act, Monash University Law Faculty, Melbourne, 30 July 1988). Australian Social Welfare: Impact, 18(7), 9–11.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1988). Words and deeds: Christianity and social welfare. Australian Social Work, 41(2), 17–24.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1987). An impaired policy: invalid pensions since the May Economic Statement. Australian Social Welfare: Impact, 17(7), 6–8.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1987). The Politics of Welfare' (Review Article). Journal of Social Policy and Administration, 21(2), 207–211.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1987). Christianity and Social Work: Some Practice Issues. Social Work and Christianity, 14(2), 63–77.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1987). David Laseron: a clergyman in the Rookwood Asylum. Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, 73(3), 220–233.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1986). Australian social security appeals. Journal of Social Policy and Administration, 20(3), 201–216.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1985). Christianity and social work. Interchange, 36, 53–66.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1983). Her father's daughter: Florence Davenport Hill, 1829-1919. International Social Work, XXVI(4), 1–13.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1983). Social Security Appeals Tribunal. Australian Social Work, 36(4), 15–22.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1983). No sufficient security: the reaction of the Poor Law authorities to boardingout. Journal of Social Policy, 12(1), 51–73.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1982). The churches of New South Wales and the care of neglected children. Church Heritage, 2(4), 271–288.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1980). The apprenticing of orphan children in NSW 1850-1885. Journal of Australian Studies, 7, 33–54.

Conference papers

  • Horsburgh, M. (1996). Changing Relationships: issues in the contracting of welfare services. In Asia-Pacific Regional Social Services Conference: Proceedings: Partnerships that Work? (pp. 150–154). University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ, 20-23 November 1995.


  • Horsburgh, M. (1998). The writing on the wall, St. Mark's Review, No. 174, Winter 1998, pp.l1-17..
  • Horsburgh, M. (1995). In praise of a professional journal (Editorial), Australian Social Work, Vol.48, No.4, December 1995. p.2..
  • Horsburgh, M. and George, J. (1990). Policy for practice, Status quo, Challenge and Prospect, Proceedings of the Seminar on Social Work Education in the Asian and Pacific Region, Beijing, China, 15-19 December, 1988, Peking University Press.
  • Horsburgh, M. (1988). Government and social welfare (Sydney Christian Economists Group,Symposium, Robert Menzies College, 19 March 1988), Interchange, 43, 1988, pp.41-46..