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John Newcombe - This week on Who Do You Think You Are? Australia

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John Newcombe
image - supplied/SBS

In the final episode of season 8 in Who Do You Think You Are? Australian Living Treasure* and tennis great John Newcombe is on a mission to get some answers about his family history.

Twenty-five time Grand Slam title champion and former world no.1, John Newcombe grew up with secrets in his family. His parents didn’t like to talk about their past. There was shame about divorce and where you came from. Before his mum passed away, John tried to find out about the family’s past - but she wouldn’t tell him. Now, after 50 years of marriage, with three grown children and six grandkids, John wants to get some answers.

“This was a fantastic journey. I felt like a detective who was surprised at every corner I turned. I’m so glad I did it!” – John Newcombe

John Newcombe’s search will propel him back to a pivotal time in NSW when the penal colony was transforming into a democracy. John’s paternal ancestor played an important role in the fight for freedom of the press. But behind the façade of middle-class respectability, John will discover his 2x great grandmother was hiding her convict past. Then, exploring his maternal line, John follows his 3x great grandfather’s footsteps to the Loyalty Islands, now part of New Caledonia. John’s forebear was hoping to trade sandalwood, but the expedition was a disaster. At the site of a bloody ambush John learns of the cannibalistic tribe his ancestor encountered.

Who Do You Think You Are? is produced by Warner Bros. International Television Production Australia for SBS.