Dr Michael Horsburgh AM

BA, MSW, DipSocWk, ThD
Honorary Associate Professor
+61 2 9351 2606
A35 / 307
The University of Sydney

Michael Horsburgh is a graduate of the universities of Sydney and New South Wales who, after graduating, 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.

Michael 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.

After retiring from academia, 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, Michael 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.

Member of the Order of Australia, Australian Government
Centenary Medal for contributions to Australian society
, Australian Government
Anniversary of National Service Medal
, Australian Government
Australian Defence Medal
, Australian Government 

  • Chorister, St James Singers (in conjunction with St James' Church, King Street, Sydney)
  • Member, part time, Social Security Appeals Tribunal of Australia, (Commonwealth Government), 1981–2015
  • Member, part time, Administrative Appeals Tribunal-Social Security and Child Support Division (translated from abolished SSAT)(appointment to 30 September 2024)

  • 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.

Selected 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.

Selected 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.