ACU historian Professor Shurlee Swain has featured in episode two of the new SBS series Who Do You Think You Are? featuring actor Toni Collette.
The popular series, where well-known Australians play detective as they go in search of their family history, featured the expertise of Professor Swain who worked with actor Toni Collette to unearth details about her family history.
The episode draws on Professor Swain’s expertise around the history of divorce in Australia which stems from the research carried out for her book Born in Hope: A History of the Early Years of the Family Court of Australia (UNSW Press, 2012).
In the program, Collette investigates the enigma of her grandparents and uncovers a tale of abandonment and tragedy, a secret wartime affair, and an unexpected ancestor.
“The material I talk with Toni about is from a divorce case that long precedes the Family Law Act but I had to know about past practice to be able to write about what the Law set out to change,” said Professor Swain.
Professor Swain said she enjoyed appearing in the show.
“Doing things like this are a fun part of my job and help bring historical research to a wider audience.”
ACU historians have regularly appeared on Who Do You Think You Are? Professor Swain also appeared in last year’s series alongside actor Jacki Weaver and her ACU Find and Connect colleague, Dr Naomi Parry.
ACU Honorary Professor of History, Professor Malcolm Prentis, an expert on Scots in Australia, also took part in last year’s series in a different capacity. Professor Prentis spoke to radio host and journalist Amanda Keller about her Scottish ancestors.
The Toni Collette episode will screen on Tuesday 11 August.