Joanita Wibowo


Casey Donovan's "eye-opening" family discovery

Casey Donovan's "eye-opening" family discovery
Photo: Instagram @sbs_australia

When Casey Donovan was invited to be a part of the SBS ancestry series Who Do You Think You Are, she did not expect to learn some surprising facts about herself.

The singer-songwriter said appearing on the show’s tenth season was a cathartic experience that answered the questions she had growing up around her identity.

“The experience was eye-opening for me,” the 31-year-old told 9Honey. “To learn about my family and who I am as a whole was really interesting.”

She said she was especially excited to learn about her mother’s lineage, which she “had no idea” about. 

“I guess back in the days our parents were old-school. English parents didn’t really speak about their upbringing.”

The show’s experts found that Donovan’s biological father – who left when she was two years old – is of Aboriginal descent, while the ancestors of her mother could be traced back to the English convicts.

Donovan was also discovered to be three per cent Swedish. 

“I now understand my heavy love for flat-packing and IKEA,” Donovan told SBS Life

“I was just expecting Indigenous and English – but Swedish was a surprise.”

View this post on Instagram

For most of my life I have struggled to find who I really am, there has always been a part of me that felt like I didn't really belong... Last year I had the opportunity to be on Who Do You Think You Are? And get some of those questions answered. It was honestly one of the most special and rewarding things I have ever done! Finding out my own DNA, going on adventures to find out about Myself, my bloodline and who my family were/are was so exciting and eye opening, but at the same time scared the shit out of me! It's hard to put into words how special this whole experience was! Thank you to the whole #wdytya crew on the ground and team behind the scenes for finding what you did and for being such an amazing crew to work with! Many revelations (and a few tears) were made on this journey and Because of you, I'm a little less lost. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You! Tune in tonight 7:30pm @sbs_australia #whodoyouthinkyouare #sbs #sbsondemand #tonight #family #dna #ancestry #mystory #tunein

A post shared by Casey Donovan (@caseydonovan88) on May 27, 2019 at 3:45pm PDT

The series saw the musician reconnect to her paternal Indigenous roots in Gumbaynggirr country on the mid-North Coast of NSW, where her great-great-grandmother Florence Randall was credited with helping to keep the Aboriginal group language alive. 

“All the women in my family are very strong, so that was very interesting,” Donovan said.

“When you come from a broken family and you grow up with all these questions that rarely get answered... after not knowing who I was and struggling with my identity, to do the show and have these answers given to me, it really was a weight taken off my shoulders,” she shared.

“At the end I was in tears because it was such a beautiful thing. All the doubts I had about who I am, am I good enough, all of those thoughts went away because of the questions that were answered.”