|Born||Donald Richmond Horne|
26 December 1921
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Died||8 September 2005 (aged 83)|
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Occupation||Journalist, writer, social critic, and academic|
|Genre||Non-fiction, fiction, social commentary, autobiography|
|Notable works||The Lucky Country (1964)|
|Relatives||Ross Gollan (father-in-law)|
Donald Richmond Horne (26 December 1921 - 8 September 2005) was an Australian journalist, writer, social critic, and academic who became one of Australia's best known public intellectuals, from the 1960s until his death.
Horne was a prolific author who published four novels and more than twenty volumes of history, memoir and political and cultural analysis. He also edited The Bulletin, The Observer and Quadrant. His best known work was The Lucky Country (1964), an evaluation of Australian society that questioned many traditional attitudes: "Australia is a lucky country, run by second-rate people who share its luck."
Donald Horne's early life was recounted in the first volume of his memoirs The Education of Young Donald (1967). He was born in Kogarah, New South Wales and raised in Muswellbrook (where his father was a teacher at the local school) and Sydney. He enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sydney in 1939 and attended Canberra University College; however he never completed his undergraduate degree.
Horne began his career in journalism and worked for a number of Frank Packer's publications, first as a journalist for The Telegraph, then editor of the magazine Weekend, and later the fortnightly intellectual periodical The Observer (1958-61). As editor of the flagship magazine The Bulletin (1961-62 and 1967-72), he removed the magazine's long standing motto "Australia for the White Man". He was co-editor of Quadrant magazine (1964-66).
Appointed as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales in 1973, Horne was promoted as a professor of political science in 1984, a member of the University Council between 1983-1986 and Chairman of the Faculty of Arts between 1982 and 1986, retiring as Emeritus Professor. Between 1992 and 1995, Horne served as Chancellor of the University of Canberra.
He also worked on writing, arts and citizenship boards and was an executive member of the Australian Constitutional Commission. He was Chairman of the Australia Council from 1985-1990.
Despite initial conservative views, he was unorthodox and independent-minded, without a consistent political allegiance. He was, however, known through much of his public career for his republicanism, a more independent national self-image, his advocacy for the importance of the arts, and a raising in standards of public debate.
He was still giving media interviews up to the last year of his life, when he died as a result of pulmonary fibrosis after a long illness. His wife and editor, Myfanwy Horne (the daughter of journalist Ross Gollan), later completed his part-written manuscript, published as Dying: a memoir in 2007.
In 1982, Professor Horne was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to literature; and in 2001 was presented with the Centenary Medal for service to the Centenary of Federation celebrations in New South Wales.
He was named as one of Australia's Living National Treasures by the National Trust.
Horne was conferred with degrees honoris causa by a number of Australian academic institutions, including Griffith University (Doctor of the University), University of New South Wales (Doctor of Letters), University of Canberra (Doctor of the University), the Australian Academy of the Humanities (Fellow), and the University of Sydney (Honorary Doctorate: 2005).
In 2002 he was the recipient of the Australian Humanist of the Year award for his strong advocacy of liberal democracy, multiculturalism, tolerance, republicanism and the recognition of indigenes as Australia's first people.
In 2008, the University of Canberra announced the establishment of the Donald Horne Institute for Cultural Heritage.
In 2017 La Trobe University Press published Donald Horne: Selected Writings, edited by his son Nick.