Well-known Australians play detective as they go in search of their family history, revealing secrets from their past.
16 Jul 2015 - 3:29 PM  UPDATED 15 Aug 2016 - 2:52 PM

Episode 1: Andrew Denton 

Broadcaster Andrew Denton is perhaps best known for his in-depth interview series ‘Enough Rope’ but how closely has he interrogated his own story?

Andrew knows that his father Kit, famed for his book ‘The Breaker’ about Breaker Morant, was actually born Arnold Ditkofsky and that his parents were Jewish. But while Andrew grew up in a secular household and his father was a proud atheist, the ancestral trail resonates with clashes of faith and family. Could the key be an heirloom kept in the family treasure trove?

Andrew’s journey takes him to London and a great grandfather taking a stand against anti-Semitic street thugs and to Poland into the dark heart of the Holocaust. Finally in Israel he uncovers an enticing possible genetic link to one of the best known stories in the Bible.

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

 

 

Episode 2: Rebecca Gibney

Actor Rebecca Gibney searches for the reasons behind her family’s troubled past – bringing a dark secret to light, to heal a long-standing family wound. She also discovers an ancestor who played a role in New Zealand’s forgotten tragedy.

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

 

 

Episode 3: Jacki Weaver

Ever since Actress Jacki Weaver became a grandmother, she has had a burning ambition to find out about her beloved father’s biological mother. Her dad was a ward of the state who was brought up by a foster family and while Jacki knows his mother’s name was Grace she doesn’t even know the name of her biological grandfather. Jacki’s search uncovers a family secret that has been buried in shame. Her grandmother and great grandmother were both stigmatized by the society of the day. And her grandfather, despite being brilliant and a talented musician, badly blackened his copybook and was imprisoned. Despite these heart wrenching and shocking discoveries, Jacki comes to know and love her father’s clan and has the pleasure of meeting those who remember them. She also discovers the truth behind her father’s role as a bomb aimer in the Bombing of Dresden, one of the most controversial events of World War II.

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

 

 

Episode 4: Richard Roxburgh

Actor Richard Roxburgh discovers his family’s footprints in an unexpected corner of the world, finding two ancestors on opposite sides of the fierce struggle over slavery. In a cruel and unjust world, he finds a courageous figure giving hope and guidance to the oppressed.

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

 

 

Episode 5: Amanda Keller

Amanda Keller discovers her bloodline has survived against all odds; finding an ancestor who faced hell on earth in Australia’s most brutal prison and a mother fighting to save her family in the face of tragedy.

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

 

 

Episode 6: Adam Goodes

 

Australian of the Year Adam Goodes’s hunger to uncover his Aboriginal heritage is fuelled by a tragic family event. His mother, Lisa Sansbury was placed in state care as a young child and never returned to her parents. She grew up with no knowledge of her Aboriginal ancestry and has very little family history to pass on to Adam. Now, he wants to fill that void and finally find a way of connecting to the traditional culture that his ancestors once lived and breathed.

His quest will see him unearth a royal bloodline, find a mysterious millionaire mining magnate in his family tree and see him journey deep into the remote Flinders Ranges of South Australia.

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

 

 

Episode 7: Lisa McCune

Actor Lisa McCune’s career has flourished both on screen and stage. But the McCune family name she’s made famous does not feature in her biological family tree. Lisa has learned that the man she grew up knowing as her grandfather is not actually her paternal grandfather. Her own Dad was fostered out as a very young child and his brothers were placed in an orphanage. But why? Lisa’s Dad knows little about his father beyond a name – George Bloomer. So who was this man? On the trail of one George Bloomer, Lisa discovers two. A great grandfather caught up in a gruesome and sensational Gold Rush murder, and a grandfather struggling with mental illness and the pressures of war – with tragic consequences for his young family.

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

 

 

Episode 8: Paul McDermott

Entertainer Paul McDermott found fame with the musical comedy group The Doug Anthony All-Stars and established a career as a TV host on shows such as Good News Week. In more recent years he has stepped out of the limelight to pursue his passion for art. But his own family history remains something of a blank canvas. Paul does know that his mum, Betty, was adopted and raised by relatives and that her parents both died while she was still a toddler. Paul follows the trail back to his birth place in Adelaide, to the early 20th century and a family torn apart by poverty and a decimating epidemic. He also uncovers a tale of hard times and great expectations in colonial Adelaide.

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.