Gus Worby was born in Stockport, England in 1946. He migrated to Australia with his family in 1954 and settled in Geelong where he attended Geelong Grammar School.He studied Arts at Melbourne University and there became involved with student and professional theatre. He was awarded three Murray Sutherland and University Union Prizes for Acting and Directing, studied for a Masters degree at Melbourne University and worked as tutor, dramaturg and actor with the Melbourne Theatre Company.
In 1971 he moved to South Australia to join the Flinders University Drama Discipline under Wal Cherry where he completed his PhD whilst teaching in both the Drama Centre and Drama theory streams. He was instrumental in developing a strong Australian Drama focus which integrated theatre, film, television and radio studies and this provided the base for involvement as actor, designer, writer and director in over 40 teaching, community and professional productions in South Australia, interstate and overseas.
Between 1971 and 1983 he served in a range of capacities including as theatre critic for Theatre Australia, on the South Australian Arts Grants Advisory Committee, on the SA Australian Drama Festival Committee, as judge for Adelaide Festival Drama awards and as inaugural Chair and Chief Examiner for Matriculation Drama in South Australia. His research interests widened to included South East Asian and Pacific as well as Australian Drama.
In 1983 Worby co-initiated the Australian Studies Programme at Flinders University and from 1989 this became his principal focus of research and professional involvement as Programme Chair, inaugural Director of the South Australian Centre of Australian Studies and Head of the School of Cultural Studies.
As Professor of Australian Studies at Flinders and President of the International Association of Australian Studies, he maintains strong interest in the Arts and public culture and Indigenous Education.
Worby has had a long involvement with the Yunggorendi First Nations Centre at Flinders University, acting as Director on a number of occasions. He was instrumental in the establishment, with Kerry Kilner, of AustLit's BlackWords: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Writers and Storytellers project.