In order to understand where the family is heading, it helps to know whence it has come. This article maps out the dimensions of family change over the past one hundred years in Australia. In particular it focuses upon the changing structure of households. The author notes that in the public sphere there is a history of 'moral panics' and anxieties around the family, and he discusses the sense that family structure 'has gone a full circle - from diverse families, to nuclear families, and back to diverse families again - a view that emphasises the ebb and flow of family relationships'. In conclusion, the author comments that, while the moral panic around the family seems less shrill now than was the case in the 1970s and the 1980s, 'dramatic developments in biotechnology may unleash a new wave of family change and controversy. There will certainly be new anxieties and moral panics concerning the future of the family'.