The Public University in Australasia (1850-1918)

People Involved

Dr Julia Horne

Professor Geoffrey Sherington

Project overview

Australians need a clear understanding of the fundamental value of universities to their society. This project provides an important historical context to the civic functions of universities by analysing the ‘idea of the university’ in its Australasian context (1850-1918). It aims, specifically, to enlighten the contemporary debates over the public and private benefits of higher education, the importance of merit-based access, universities as a public investment in the advancement of knowledge, the meaning of benefaction, and the role of universities in the making of the Australian middle class.

Project Details


School of Policy and Practice in the Faculty of Education and Social Work

ARC Discovery Grant 2005-2008

Brief Profiles

Dr Julia Horne is University Historian for the University of Sydney. Her forthcoming book is The Pursuit of Wonder: how Australia’s landscape was explored, nature discovered and tourism unleashed (Miegunyah Press, Sept 2005)
Full profile

Professor Geoffrey Sherington has a personal chair in the History of Education, in the Faculty of Education and Social Work. He has published widely in the history of education and the history of immigration. His forthcoming book, co-authored with Dr Craig Campbell, is a study of the comprehensive public high school in Australia set within an international context.