DIANNE BUT­LER OUT OF THE BOX

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Tuesday -

THEY should do Who Do You Think You Are episodes on those ac­tors who do the fam­ily tree ads, where they go, ‘‘ wow, my grand­par­ents owned a pub, I wish I could some­how own a pub’’, and so on.

This show should only ever do ac­tors, I’ve de­cided. Prefer­ably soap ac­tors, who over­e­mote. It’s Melissa Ge­orge tonight, whose spring­board to in­ter­na­tional su­per­star­dom was her role as An­gel on Home and Away, and it couldn’t be more fit­ting, be­cause her fam­ily’s story, or the stuff we dis­cover tonight, is as dra­matic and per­sonal and shock­ing as a year on that show. And with di­a­logue to match: ‘‘ And Florence is like, ‘ I can’t deal’,’’ Melissa says, talk­ing about one of her an­ces­tors. It’s gold.

She fo­cuses on her mother Pamela’s side of the fam­ily, be­cause she al­ready knows a bit about dad Glenn’s side.

They’re still in Perth, where Melissa grew up with a brother and two sis­ters and where her great-great-great grand­fa­ther, Wil­liam Ward, ar­rived in 1862 to be­come warder at the mis­er­able, Abo­rig­i­nal-only Rot­tnest Prison. She has only happy mem­o­ries of go­ing to Rot­tnest as a kid, but she’s slightly ner­vous about what she’s go­ing to find out about Ward and his role there.

On her ma­ter­nal side she finds an­other lo­cal land­mark fig­ures promi­nently — the Fair­bridge Farm School at Pin­jarra, south of Perth.

The con­nec­tion with Aus­tralian his­tory makes this episode work, I think.

You may have heard of Fair­bridge. It was for or­phaned Bri­tish kids and got very bad press much later on.

Some­times there was more to it than that.

Melissa finds two Fair­bridge chil­dren in her fam­ily who ar­rived from the UK. And they have quite a story. Who Do You Think You Are? SBS One, 7.30pm

Quest: Melissa Ge­orge

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