Susie Porter delves into family history

Source: Newcastle Herald

New Lambton-raised actress Susie Porter was determined to document her family history even if it meant uncovering generations of mental illness.

Porter will feature on the Australian series of Who Do You Think You Are? on SBS One on Tuesday night. 

The award-winning actress, who has learnt to cope with bouts of depression herself, discovered that mental illness also impacted her grandmother Gloria and great-grandmother Winifred.

Porter’s grandmother Gloria was institutionalised for six years in the Callan Park Mental Hospital in Sydney while her great grandmother Winifred died in Ballarat Mental Hospital 31 years after she was admitted.

“It’s amazing to think that we’ve all found out about our great grandmother and she’s put back into history and she’s just not forgotten,’’ Porter said.

Both women, on Porter’s father's side of the family, suffered from bleak hospital conditions at the time.

However Porter’s grandfather John stood by his wife Gloria and successfully petitioned to get her out of Callan Park Mental Hospital.

Porter, who is set to begin shooting the second season of Puberty Blues this month,  grew up at New Lambton with mum Jenny and dad Bill and began acting as a youngster with Newcastle Theatre Company (formerly Newcastle Repertory).

The AFI and Logie winner follows other Aussie actors who have featured on the fifth season of show including Michael Caton, Don Hany and Asher Keddie.

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