Booklet, 'Methods and Practice of Birth Control in Australia', by Thomas P Taylor, paper / string, printed by the Robal Printery, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, c. 1930
Contraception has been a dilemma for humanity for as long as we have been aware of the biological process of conception. Methods of contraception have ranged from rituals and natural methods and preparations, to the quite physically intrusive. In Australia, conservative attitudes towards sexual issues prevailed until the 1960s when sexual health began to become an issue in public forums. However, certain groups concerned with social issues, were publishing material to educate the public on birth control options. The Rationalist Society of NSW, Australia, the publishers of this book, were (and still are) an organisation concerned with exploring a secular, ethical and scientific approach to social issues. The book was published in the early 1930s, and as well as outlining concerns about overpopulation and issues related to unwanted pregnancy, provides the reader with details about birth control options available to Australians at the time.
Booklet printed by the Robal Printery, Sydney, c. 1930 for the Rationalist Society of NSW, Australia.
This booklet was published by the Rationalist Society NSW with the aim of providing Australians with a sectarian approach to birth control. It was published at a time - the early 1930s - when mainstream publishing would not have addressed this issue with such a scientific and liberal bent.
The Rationalist Society of NSW, since nationalised and now based in Melbourne, has been in existence since the early 1900s. The Society was formed by and for like-minded individuals as an organised way to express an approach to thought devoid of the restrictions of religious dogma and superstition, while endorsed with scientific method and recognising the importance of emotions and imagination.
The Rationalist Society of Australia defines rationalism as 'the attitude of mind which unreservedly accepts the supremacy of reason, and aims to establish a system of philosophy and ethics independent of arbitrary assumptions and authority'.
Their aims are:
To propound and advance rationalism;
To stimulate freedom of thought, and to promote inquiry into religious beliefs and practices;
To encourage interest in science, criticism and philosophy, as connected factors in a progressive human culture, independent of theological creeds and dogmas;
To promote the fullest possible use of science for human welfare;
To promote a secular and ethical system of education.
To print, publish or re-issue any journal, magazine, newspaper or other periodical publication and standard or notable books on science, criticism, ethics or philosophy, and to support the printing, publication or reissuing of the same by any other person.
To aid the progress of rationalism by means of literature, popular scientific lectures, and other promotions.
To act in harmony with the Rationalist Association of Australia Limited, on a reciprocal basis.
To take such actions as may be necessary or incidental to the attainment of the above aims.