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Press Release - 14th August 2013
Leading history site uproots the family trees of our nation’s leaders
Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd have climbed their way to the top of their political party trees, but what lies at their roots? Leading family history and genealogy website, findmypast.com.au has done a little digging.
There is no denying that Kevin Rudd has shown ruthless determination in fighting his way to the top spot. Perhaps this steely resolve is the stamp of his convict ancestors, who made their involuntary passages to Australia via their own opportunistic ways.
In 1788, Prime Minster Rudd’s ancestor, Mary Wade was sentenced to hang for stealing another girl’s clothes and pawning them for 10p in London. However, after serving 93 days in Newgate Prison, Mary was reprieved and transported to NSW to intern instead at the harsh prison of Norfolk Island. At 11 on the time of her journey, Mary was the youngest convict aboard the infamous all-women ship, Lady Juliana.
The devious bloodlines do not stop there for Mr Rudd, with his five times great-father Thomas Rudd and five times great-grandmother, Mary Kable, displaying evidence of being an older day Bonnie and Clyde couple.
Thomas Rudd was charged with stealing a bag of sugar, a charge he denied (claiming he was in the pub at the time of the offence) and sent to Australia in 1801 where he served seven years as a convict. There he married fellow convict Mary Kable, who avoided a hanging sentence when she was transported to Australia after stealing a bolt of cloth in 1806. It was Thomas and Mary Rudd’s son Edward (one of 10 children the couple bore), that went on to marry the granddaughter of aforementioned convict, Mary Wade.
There are no known convicts in Tony Abbott’s family tree, with ancestors made up of working class roots including bakers, shipwrights, carpenters boiler makers and wharf labourers.
Tony’s mother is his only known ancestor born in Australia, with all other family members hailing from the Netherlands (maternal side) and England (paternal).
Vicki Dawson, General Manager of findmypast.com.au said, “The roots of Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd, who each hold two of the most powerful positions in Australia, each paint a great Australian story, demonstrating how humble beginnings can lead to enormous success.
“Tracing your own Australian story has been made simpler with resources such as www.findmypast.com.au. In addition to helping you trace and build your tree, it also helps uncover some of the incredible family stories that may otherwise have been lost through the 1.8 billion records of census, newspaper and transport records, plus much more.”