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Ray Martin returns to the land of his Aboriginal ancestors

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I’ve spent my life being fairly tough in stories. I don’t get emotionally involved. I just do it as a ’m talking about my family, I’m trying to find me I’m trying to find who I am.”

As a broadcaster, presenter and journalist Ray Martin has witnessed some of the defining moments of our time. In this season finale of Who Do You Think You Are? Ray finds his ancestors too have been on the frontline of nation-shaping events.

Ray was born Raymond Grace but changed his surname when he and his mother escaped his violent father. While he knows very little about this side of his family Ray is hopeful of finding an Irish rebel in his family tree.

Ray learns that his Paternal Great Great Grandfather Edmond Grace was in the armed forces and when his regiment arrived from Ireland it was immediately dispatched to Ballarat just days before the Eureka Stockade. Ray wants to discover if his ancestor had blood on his hands.

Ray’s Maternal Great Great Grandfather William Leamy, a convict, was also from Ireland.

Ray travels to the place where William was first assigned on his arrival, Keepit Station, a lawless and isolated property beyond the legal limits of the NSW colony. There were no white women here during the 1830’s and many white men took Aboriginal women for partners. Ray knows that William had two children with a Kamilaroi woman named Bertha.

Moved to have found his ancestral Aboriginal home, Ray is invited by elders to pay his respects to Bertha at an ancient burial site.

“I’ve seen a lot of Aboriginal sites around Australia. I’ve never seen anything quite like that pathway. It’s clearly a graveyard and I’d like to think Bertha’s buried there somewhere. I feel closer to her...”

Ray finishes his Who Do You Think You Are? journey in Ireland, where he finds out William Leamy was a member of a the Whiteboys; a notorious criminal gang driven by deep political convictions.

Learning of William’s last crime in Ireland – a daring and violent robbery, involving a police chase, a gun battle, and a posse of local villagers, it seems Ray may have found the Irish rebel he was looking for.

Season seven of Who Do You Think You Are? stars Geoffrey Rush, Toni Collette, Luke Nguyen, David Wenham, Dawn Fraser, Peter Rowsthorn and Ray Martin. 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