Born: Established: 26 Dec 1921 Muswellbrook Muswellbrook area Upper Hunter area Newcastle - Hunter Valley area New South Wales ; Died: Ceased: 8 Sep 2005 Sydney New South Wales
Donald Horne was born in 1921 at Muswellbrook, New South Wales. He attended the University of Sydney, but did not finish a degree. Nevertheless, he was strongly influenced by the philosopher John Anderson, made friends with several prominent poets, including A. D. Hope and James McAuley, and for a brief period edited Honi Soit. During World War II, Horne served in the AIF. He then worked as a reporter for Sydney's Daily Telegraph between 1945-49, beginning his long career as a writer and editor. After returning from several years in England during the early 1950s, Horne edited a number of publications, including the Bulletin and Quadrant during the 1960s.
Horne's influential social and political commentary first appeared in book form with the publication of the ironically titled Lucky Country (1964). Horne's criticism of Australia's acceptance of second-rate leaders who share in the country's luck has remained a common theme in his writing, most recently seen in Looking for Leadership: Australia in the Howard Years (2001). His other publications include further social and political commentary, political biography, novels and several highly acclaimed volumes of autobiography. These publications continue his examination of Australian culture, especially the development of multi-culturalism following the demise of the White Australia policy in the 1960s. Horne's comprehensive analyses of the mythical and hegemonic structures of Australian culture have attracted several awards and honours, including an AO in 1982. In 1986, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of New South Wales, for which he had worked as a lecturer between 1973-1987. On his retirement in 1987 he was made Emeritus Professor.
After retiring from the University of New South Wales, Horne continued as Chairman of the Australia Council until 1990, then, during the 1990s, he was appointed Chancellor of the University of Canberra and served as Chairman of the Ideas for Australia Program. Despite failing health, Horne continued to lecture and write with a passion for presenting his ideas in a form that could be understood by everyday Australians.