Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Australia, Famous Faces

With the immigration debate at the top of the agenda this election, would Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott’s past deem them eligible to live in Australia by current immigration standards?

No matter where your affections lie – there are some interesting and thought-provoking tales of origins that could make either Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott stop and ponder about how their own Australian existence began.

What if we told you Kevin Rudd descended from an illegal immigrant – shrouded by mystery, barely-traceable roots and suspicious name changes? How about Tony Abbott’s father working on the boats that brought the majority of immigrants into Australia?

Tony Abbott’s great-grandfather, John Keir and his mother’s father Anthony Peters were both shipwrights, and could coincidentally have been involved with the vessel’s that brought Rudd’s convict-ancestors to the shores of Australia. Below is John Keir’s marriage certificate which states his occupation as “Shipwright”.

John Keir marriage cert

The tales of arrival are not just limited to our politicians. Aussie rocker, Ronald Bedford ‘Bon’ Scott arrived in Australia during the autumn 1952 with his mum, dad and brother Derek on board the Asturias after a voyage of four weeks (shown below on the UK Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960). Bon would go on to join other ex-pat Scots Malcolm and Angus Young in AC\DC.

Bon Scott

In a more mellow tone, Glenn Shorrock and family arrived aboard the Orcades in the summer of 1954. Shorrock, after chasing a solo career in the UK, headed back to Australia in 1974 to form the Little River Band – the first Aussie band to achieve the commercial success in the US.

William Richard ‘Billy’ Thorpe first set foot on Australian soil in the winter of 1955 after stepping off the Strathaird – a P&O ship that wore a groove in the world oceans traversing between Australia and the UK for almost 30 years.  Billy arrived with his mum and dad, eventually settled in Brisbane.  They are shown below in the UK Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960. He was a natural performer and eventually made his way to Sydney where he connected with the other members of The Aztecs.

Billy thorpe

The family history of these ‘Aussies’ really highlight that we are in fact a nation of immigrants, each with our own tales of arrival.

Uncover your family’s  immigration story at Ancestry.com.au this weekend with FREE* access to over 200 million immigration records from around the world.