Family Confidential featured in The Australian

Monday 20/12/2010

Family Confidential: The Mundines

THE controversial Aboriginal Mundine dynasty is the subject in this entertaining series that goes to the core of some of Australia's most prominent families. The show reveals some of the private histories behind their well protected facades, though one suspects not all. But executive producer Laurie Critchley has a great nose for stories that cut through, having also been responsible for the earlier ABC flagship family history program Dvnasties, which ran for six series at;d picked up the inaugural Logie award for best documentary series in 2006.
That program presented 20 hours of biographies that captured the inside stories of influential families such as the Ainsworths (pokie billionaires), the troubled Ansetts ( once of the airline), the Ash tons (of circus fame) and the Myers (department stores). Critchley says she's a great reader of obituaries, but often finds herself saying aloud, "Oh, we missed that one.”

So far in this new series she's uncovered the inside stories of retail king Frank Lowy, car legend Bob Jane, bookmaker Bill Waterhouse, winemaker Andrew Garrett and the retailing Hemmeses.

Tonight's episode reveals a family tragedy behind boxing legends Tony and Choe Mundine. More than 60 years ago the M undines were given a piece of land by their employer, Sam Horden, owner ofYugilbar Cattle Station on the Clarence River in northern NSW. lt was 20ha in Batyulgil, near Grafton, known as The Square, where they built homes and brought up their children. The land was fenced and gated, keeping the family out of the hands of the Aboriginal Protection Board, which was busy taking children away. But when an asbestos mine opened next door, the men went to work there and the growing extended family flourished. The dust was everywhere, the family oblivious to its devastating effects.