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Les Murray

in conversation with Rob Fleiner
Girls went to Nazareth House, the boys went to St Joseph’s

Leslie Ludwig Murray was born at the Ballarat Base Hospital in 1933. His father, Joseph Leslie Murray was an Indigenous man. His mother Elizabeth, or “Lizzie” as she was known, was not Indigenous. While it was to be a largely happy marriage, the union would prove challenging in years to come. In time, they were to raise five children, three boys and two girls. First born was Pauline, followed by Leslie or ‘Les’ as he would come to be known, then Peter, Barbara, and Samuel. It was ultimately the research undertaken by Barbara and her son Edoardo that would begin to untangle things. Little was previously known of Les’ father, other than the fact that he had been a talented boxer who went on to become the light-weight champion of South Australia, (1929 to 1933). The end of his reign was to coincide with the birth of Les, his first-born son.To fully appreciate the challenges facing Barbara and Edoardo and their quest to construct a family tree, it is important to understand the difficulties confronting a mixed-race marriage of the time and the challenges facing an Indigenous boxer wanting to join a travelling carnival.

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