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Dreyer, Marien (1911 - 1980)

24 September 1911
Mornington, Victoria, Australia
16 January 1980
Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Author, Journalist, Playwright, Print Journalist and Radio Journalist
Alternative Names
  • Cooper, Marien (married name)


Marien Dreyer wrote numerous scripts for the Australian Broadcasting Commission from the 1940s to the 1960s, and was author of the popular New Idea column 'This Week with Marien Dreyer' from 1955 to 1962.


Daughter of a New Zealand-born journalist, Joseph Dreyer, and his Australian wife Mary Oulton (née Rosson), Marien was educated at a convent school until the age of 14. She worked as a stenographer and took on a number of jobs in Sydney before returning to Melbourne in 1940, where she worked as telephonist for the Australian Imperial Force. Marien married Rodney Beaumont Lovell Cooper, and the pair settled in Sydney in the 1940s. They were to have two sons.

In Sydney, Dreyer produced a large number of stories and plays for magazines and radio broadcasts with scripts including 'The Windows of Heaven', 'The Big Wind', and the autobiographical 'Story of a Lame Duck' (Dreyer lost a leg while still a child). From 1955 to 1962, she wrote the popular New Idea column, 'This Week with Marien Dreyer'. She won the Walkley Award in 1959 as co-writer of a non-fiction magazine article for New Idea entitled 'The Day I Wiggled My Big Toe'. Dreyer's satirical play, Bandicoot on a Burnt Ridge, won her the Journalists' Club £1,000 award for 1962-63. In 1966, she assisted stipendiary magistrate Arthur Debenham with the authorship of his memoirs, Without Fear or Favour. She was a prolific writer of letters to the editor, many of which were published in the Sydney Morning Herald.


c. 1940 - c. 1962
Career in journalism active
Walkley Award (Print) - Best Magazine Feature Story (Non-Fiction), 'The Day I Wiggled My Big Toe' (with Harry Cox), New Idea and People

Sources used to compile this entry: Tate, Audrey, 'Dreyer, Marien Oulton (1911 - 1980)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, Australian National University, 2006,

Barbara Lemon

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