Steve’s story...


Steve was born in the UK, and attended John E Batty primary school in Redcar, Yorkshire.  He emigrated with his parents to Australia in 1963.  He graduated from Melbourne University with a science degree in 1974.  In 1975 he completed an honours degree in psychology at the University of Tasmania. 

Steve was a participant in the Village Scheme exchange program in Papua-New Guinea, learning about village and family life in Silanga, West New Britain.  He supported himself through university by working in many agricultural jobs, and for a year operating a remedial reading unit in a Melbourne high school. 

His first job as a psychologist was as a Guidance Officer with the Education Department of Tasmania in 1976.  In 1977 he headed a study of the effects of unemployment on young people, for the Department of Employment, which formed the basis of the Community Youth Support Scheme;  rolled out through Australia to counter the effects of 20% unemployment among young people at the time.   He also designed the Leavin’ School simulation game for helping young people and adults understand and navigate the difficult job market. The game won an Advance Australia Award, and was a winner on the ABC Inventors program. His first book “Teaching About Youth Unemployment” was published by Longmans in 1978. 

Steve and his partner Shaaron founded Youthline, a phone counselling service run by young people, for young people.  In 1978 Steve was recruited for a position at the Wellington Street Clinic, by Dr. Murdoch McKenzie, a paediatrician who was pioneering the use of family therapy for childhood problems in Launceston, Northern Tasmania. Steve worked at the clinic for five years, seeing hundreds of families with mild to severe difficulties.  In 1980 he won a Churchill Fellowship to study group and family therapy, and the non-drug treatment of young people with schizophrenia, in the United States.  Steve and Shaaron initiated ‘InterACT’, (Inter-Agency Counsellor Training), bringing interstate experts to teach Tasmanian counsellors.  They also pioneered Preventive Behaviours training in that state. 

Moving into private practice in 1982, Steve ran a low cost therapy service in disadvantaged suburbs, along with working as Adult Literacy Convener for Northern Tasmania. He moved to Hobart to work as a Vietnam Veterans Counsellor in 1983 and 1984.  Then, supported by his wife Shaaron, a Social Worker with the Deaf Society, he took a year off to write The Secret of Happy Children.  This book has been continuously in print for 34 years, and is translated into 32 languages.  It created the whole genre of illustrated, accessible books for parents regardless of their level of education.

In 1985 Steve and Shaaron founded the Collinsvale Centre, training public servants, police, health professionals and counsellors and therapists.  The centre trained several thousand people until 1995.  During this time they co-wrote “The Making of Love”, a book about marriage, and “Manhood”, which was widely acclaimed for creating a change in how men saw themselves, and especially for prompting many men to reconcile with estranged fathers. 

Steve and his family moved to live in Bellingen, northern NSW in 1996.  He also began speaking around Australia on Raising Boys.  In 1997 he wrote the Raising Boys book and began to speak worldwide, consulting to many of the world’s leading schools about boys education, and their need for warm, clear teaching focussed on their unique development timetable, and increasingly speaking directly to parents. Steve continued doing this work for over a decade, reaching a total of 130,000 people.  Raising Boys became a bestseller in the UK, Brazil, Japan and Germany, and was published in 32 languages. 

In 2001, deeply concerned at his country’s treatment of refugee families, Steve lead and funded a five year human rights project- the SIEVX Memorial in Canberra (  The SIEVX was a refugee vessel that sank under suspicious circumstances with the death of 353 people. Student artists from 300 schools and communities built the 400 metre long memorial which today attracts thousands of visitors each year on the Canberra lakeshore.

The Biddulph family also helped fund the staff costs of Chilout, the organization campaigning to get children out of detention, and Sanctuary Refugee Trust in bringing African refugee families out of Kakouma Camp in Kenya to live in Australia. He was a major supporter of the Senate campaign of Greens Leader Christine Milne, whose humanitarian values he greatly admires.

Steve is a member of Pilgrim Uniting Church in Launceston.  The Uniting Church is a progressive denomination which arose out of Methodism with its strong links to the Trade Union movement. Steve’s father and grandfather were both trade union officials in the north of England. The Uniting Church is LGBTI- welcoming and has increasing numbers of women ministers.

After completion of the SIEVX Memorial, Steve returned to his fulltime touring and lecturing work.  In 2010 he began work on Raising Girls, which was his first book written with a team of contributors, including Melinda Tankard Reist, Lydia Jade Turner, Sarah McMahon, Kim McCabe, and Dr. Michael Carr Gregg.

Steve quietened down his speaking work at the end of 2018, but still conducts winter tours each year delivering his three parenting “shows” Raising Boys, Raising Girls and Secrets of Happy Children.  Steve’s articles have appeared in the UK Guardian, UK Telegraph, Irish Times, Daily Mail, Melbourne Age, Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, and many other publications.   He hosts two facebook parents communities which together have 170,000 active members.

Countries where Steve has taught, training both teachers and parents...



South Korea


United States




South Africa



Northern Ireland

New Zealand


Honours and awards:

Lattice Rucker Davis award for teaching innovation, and the Advance Australia Award, both for the Leavin’ School game in 1976.

Jaycees Outstanding Young Australian in 1977.

Churchill Fellow in 1980, studying at San Diego State University and the Western Institute for Group and Family Therapy. 

National Ambassador for Playgroups Association.

Patron of the St Francis Childrens Society in the UK.

Patron of the Australian Childrens Media Council.

Patron Florentine Wilderness Protection Society 

Patron of Family Life Victoria, the pioneering sexuality education NGO which delivers programs to many schools in Victoria

Patron of Sanctuary Refugee Trust.

Designed SexLife - The contraception game - for Colony 47 in Tasmania.

Voted Australian Father of the year in 2000 for his work in encouraging the role of fathers in Australia.

Honorary Adjunct Professor at Cairnmillar Institute, the Uniting Church counselling and therapy training institute in Melbourne.

Member of the Order of Australia (AM) 2015 for his work in youth mental health.  

Steve acknowledges the huge and essential role taken by his partner;  nurse and social worker Shaaron Biddulph, in making all of the above possible.  Steve and Shaaron have been together for 42 years. 

Coming home                                                                        Addressing forest blockade, Florentine Wilderness