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Biographical entry Piddington, Marion Louisa (1869 - 1950)

23 December 1869
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
2 February 1950
Castlecrag, New South Wales, Australia
Alternative Names
  • O'Reilly, Marion Louisa (maiden name)


Marion Piddington was significant in eugenic debate in Australia on a wide range of sexual and reproductive concerns, and in the growth of sex education and contraceptive information.


Marion Louisa Piddington became interested in eugenics during a visit to Britain with her husband in 1912. Wrote "Via Nuova; or science and maternity" (1916) and "The Unmarried mother and Her Child" (1923). Influenced by the works of Marie Stopes and successfully campaigned with her husband for removal of a customs ban on Stopes' "Wise Parenthood" (1923). Taught sex education from 1923 (through the Racial Hygiene Association of New South Wales, which she was involved in setting up, 1926-28 and through a rival association, the Institute of Family Relations, from 1931.) Wrote for "Smith's Weekly", "Herself", "Health and Physical Culture" late 1920s and early 1930s.

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Book Sections

  • Curthoys, Ann, 'Piddington, Marion Louisa (1869-1950), Eugenist and Sex Educator', in Geoffrey Serle (ed.), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 11, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1988, pp. 226-227. Also available at Details

Online Resources

Rosanne Walker