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Dawn Fraser journeys to Peru to trace surprising South American heritage

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

"Apart from winning gold medals it’s the most exciting thing I think I’ve done in my life. I feel a part of Peru.” – Dawn Fraser

Australian sporting icon Dawn Fraser’s search for the missing pieces of her family history takes her to a surprising destination, Peru, as she delves into her South American heritage in an all new episode of Who Do You Think You Are?

Dawn’s Grandfather was a Peruvian sailor named Lorenzo Canning who spent most of the year at sea doing an arduous and poorly paid job. Dawn’s Grandmother, Christina, struggled through a difficult working class life raising six children alone and was dependent on handouts.

Curious to investigate her South American family tree and learn more about her Grandfather Lorenzo’s life, Dawn journeys to Peru for the very first time.

Dawn’s Great-Grandfather Lorenzo Miranda Senior was a captain in the Peruvian military at a turbulent time in history when Peru was on the brink of war with Spain. Dawn traces her Great- Grandfather’s steps back to the seaside port of Callao, near Lima, and hears the thrilling story of a bloody battle iconic in Peruvian history which her Great-Grandfather fought in.

Heroic Lorenzo Miranda Senior had an untimely death only two months after fighting in this battle, leaving Dawn’s penniless, widowed Great-Grandmother to bring up a young family alone.

Dawn is struck by the similarities in the stories of two generations of ancestors, and the resilience of the women in her family.

‘I like to think that I can show the strength that my great-grandmother showed and also my grandmother showed. I think there is something in my DNA from these women.’

Season seven of Who Do You Think You Are? stars Geoffrey Rush, David Wenham, Luke Nguyen, Toni Collette, Dawn Fraser, Ray Martin, Greig Pickhaver (HG Nelson) and Peter Rowsthorn. Who Do You Think You Are? is produced by Artemis International and Serendipity
Productions for SBS.

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For more information, contact Jessica Parry (02) 9430 3786 || 0428 767 836 jessica.parry@sbs.com.au