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Published Time: 13.06.2024 - 02:42:18 Modified Time: 13.06.2024 - 02:42:18

On Wednesday, Doyle joined hosts Nat and Shirvo on Sunrise, recalling that she was told how her great-grandmother Annie started a confectionary shop before getting into bootlegging booze. Melissa Doyle


On Wednesday, Doyle joined hosts Nat and Shirvo on Sunrise, recalling that she was told how her great-grandmother Annie started a confectionary shop before getting into bootlegging booze.

During the SBS show, Doyle learnt how Annie used to sell “medicated health wine”, which was more than 21 per cent alcohol, to rail workers.

“Bless Annie. She is a bootlegger. She was selling moonshine under the counter of a lolly shop! She is my new hero,” Doyle said.


Nat asked Doyle how she felt learning her family history.

“I was a bit hesitant,” Doyle explained.

“The thought of turning the tables and making it me (becoming the story), I suddenly was a little nervous that part,” Mel said, explaining her trepidation.

“I also thought, ‘What are they going to find?’ What if there are family scandals that no-one has told me . But I feel really lucky to have an incredible team of researchers to do so much work to delve into the archives and find documents, marriage certificates, the family tree.

“Things I would never have been able to find out. So I feel really lucky that we got that chance.”

Doyle said she learned her great-grandmother’s father had served time in jail. They had arrived in New Zealand, been given a parcel of land, right at the time of the Maori wars.

Doyle said learning her ancestors on both sides had been granted a parcel of land, meant she understood someone else had been displaced, which was shocking to learn.

“I’m fully aware that they looked at it in a very different way,” Doyle said.


“But I think knowing how tough things were and how harsh it was in those times and those conditions and raising a family where there’s no food and clothes and are dying (really moved me).

“I think, just the brutality of their conditions.”

Doyle said she loved the experience of looking back on her family history.

“I learnt so much,” Doyle said.

“I liked being able to put faces and stories to the names on that piece of paper.

“You see the family tree, and it’s a name and a year of birth and a year of death, and suddenly, I could bring them to life and know their experiences (through the show).


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