Steve was born in the UK, and emigrated with his parents to Australia in 1963. He went to Bonbeach High School in Victoria, then graduated from Melbourne University with a Science Degree in 1974. In 1975 he completed an Honours Degree in Psychology at the University of Tasmania.
His first job as a psychologist was 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 which won a number or awards for helping young people and adults understand and navigate the difficult job market. His first book “Teaching About Youth Unemployment” was published by Longmans.
He was then approached to apply 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. 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.
Moving into private practice, he ran a low cost service, supported by working as Adult Literacy Convener for Northern Tasmania, and later 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 29 years, and is translated into 32 languages.
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 he co-wrote with Shaaron Biddulph “The Making of Love”, a book about marriage, and “Manhood”, his first bestseller, which was widely acclaimed for creating a wave of 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 at this time.
He also began speaking around Australia on Raising Boys. In 1997 he wrote the Raising Boys book and began to speak worldwide, consulting to schools about boys education, and their need for warm, clear teaching focused 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 under the Howard Government, Steve lead and funded a five year human rights project – the SIEVX Memorial in Canberra (www.sievxmemorial.com). 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. 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 gay-friendly and has increasing numbers of women ministers).
After five years working on the SIEVX Memorial, Steve returned to his 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 and Dr. Michael Carr Gregg.
Steve quietened down his speaking work in 2013, but still trains therapists and conducts workshops and courses. Steve’s articles have appeared in the Guardian, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Melbourne Age, Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, and many other publication.
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, and patron of
Family Life Victoria, the pioneering sexuality education NGO which delivers programs to many schools in Victoria, and 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. In 2012 he was made honorary Adjunct Professor at Cairnmillar Institute, the Uniting Church founded counselling and therapy training institute in Melbourne.
Steve acknowledges the huge 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 over 40 years.