Well-known Australians play detective as they go in search of their family history, revealing secrets from their past.
16 Jul 2015 - 10:27 AM  UPDATED 15 Aug 2016 - 2:03 PM

Episode 1: Catherine Freeman

Catherine was five years old when her parents separated and divorced; and 20 when her father Norman died. Catherine describes the absence of her father as the "biggest void" in her life.

Norman was raised by his mother Geraldine Roy and stepfather Claude Freeman. Catherine wants to find out about his biological father, her grandfather, Frank ‘Bigshot’ Fisher so she goes to visit his daughter, Aunt Lillian, who lives in Cherbourg, central Queensland, where Frank came from.

Watch the episode in full at SBS On Demand - or right here:

 

Episode 2: Kate Ceberano

A talented singer from the tender age of 15, Kate Ceberano found success early and has gone on to sustain a musical career for more than 20 years. Interested in people generally, Kate is also a person very interested in family – her own obviously, but also how family works, what the connections are between the generations. Kate herself has a little girl, someone she believes she can see herself in. She considers that genetics play a big part in forming our character. But her motivation for involvement in Who Do You Think You Are comes from other sources too.

Watch the episode in full at SBS On Demand - or right here:

 

 

Episode 3: Ita Buttrose

Born Ita Clare Buttrose, she knew her surname was of Scottish origin but little else about it. There have been a number of Itas and Clares in her family – her mother’s was Mary Clare, and her grandmother, Ita Clare Rosenthal.

Ita’s story begins with great, great grandfather William – whose surname was confusingly and variously spelled Butters, Birtrouse, Buttrose and Buttress but ended up being Buttrose. He arrived with his wife Francis and two children in South Australia from Glasgow in 1852 on the cargo ship Washington. The ship ran aground at Troubridge Shoal, a small low-lying island in a difficult stretch in the York Peninsula and the ninety immigrants, including Francis’ mother and two children were lucky to survive.

Watch the episode in full at SBS On Demand - or right here:

 

 

Episode 4: Geoffrey Robertson

Geoffrey Robertson is a celebrated barrister and judge, an international human rights advocate and the presenter of the Hypothetical television programs.

He knows the basic facts regarding his own family story. His father Frank and his brothers Ronald and Lance enlisted in the RAAF during the Second World War, but Ronald tragically died whilst on active service with 71st Squadron on a dive and bomb exercise in which the pilot lost control of the plane and crashed on Herron Island.

Geoffrey takes his father with him on a visit to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. There, they lay a wreath on Uncle Ron’s grave and inspect his service record. Geoffrey also tracks down the service record of great uncle, Bill Robertson, who served in WW1 and was killed at Gallipoli. Bill was the son of William ‘Red Bill’ Robertson, Geoffrey’s great grandfather. ‘Red Bill’ and his brother ‘Sandy’ lived in the Snowy Mountains.

Watch the episode in full at SBS On Demand - or right here:

 

 

Episode 5: Jack Thompson

Jack Thompson is an icon of Australian television and cinema. At the age of six, mother Marjorie died and his father Harold was unable to look after him so he was sent off to boarding school. It was here that he befriended fellow boarder Peter Thompson whose family adopted Jack who then became known as Jack Thompson.

Jack consequently knows very little about his biological family. His Aunt Beverley travels to Australia from Los Angeles to help fill in some of the blanks. Beverley shows Jack a photograph of Captain Thomas Pain, his great grandfather. Jack wants to find out more about him and meets with Jon Simpson of the Sydney Heritage Fleet aboard the James Craig, an historic barque moored in Sydney’s Darling Harbour.

Watch the episode in full at SBS On Demand - or right here:

 

 

Episode 6: Dennis Cometti

 

Dennis is one of the best known sports commentators in Australia, a former WANFL player and coach himself has called many games and grand finals, as well as commentated at three Olympics. His prowess at calling, his amusing and good-natured commentary is legendary, so much so that the Australian Football Association, in 2006, voted him the year’s Most Outstanding Media Contributor. He definitely wants to know more about himself and his background, but where to begin? Perhaps with his mother’s book. Dennis’s mother, Dulcie, wrote a novel which was never published. Dennis has never read it.

Watch the episode in full at SBS On Demand - or right here:

 

 

Watch the first seven seasons of Who Do You Think You Are in full - streaming now at SBS On Demand.  

Join stars Julia Morris, Peter Garrett, Delta Goodrem, Rachel Griffiths, Mal Meninga, Jane Turner, Shane Jacobson and John Newcombe in Season Eight of Who Do You Think You Are. Starts Tuesday 13th September at 7.30pm (AEST) on SBS.

Watch the trailer below: 

See also: Genealogy Resources

More from Who Do You Think You Are
Who Do You Think You Are? Season 4
Well-known Australians play detective as they go in search of their family history, revealing secrets from their past.
Who Do You Think You Are? Season 3
Well-known Australians play detective as they go in search of their family history, revealing secrets from their past.
Who Do You Think You Are? Season 2
Well-known Australians play detective as they go in search of their family history, revealing secrets from their past.