More than a century before Delta Goodrem followed her dreams of being an entertainer, found success abroad, overcame personal challenges and saw elements of her personal life make headlines, one of her ancestors carved an eerily similar path.

Until recently, the award-winning pop star and actress knew little about her family history and had always wondered where her talent came from.

Believing there was no one else who'd gone down a musical path, Goodrem felt her life had been like "a journey without a map".

#throwbackthursday...#attitude ha! X📽🎞 #onsets #somethingsneverchange

A post shared by Delta Goodrem (@deltagoodrem) on

That is until she discovered Florence Bray, her great grandmother - a show girl who used her talent to survive and travel the world.


"When I turned 30 a few years ago, I started to ask mum and dad questions about their upbringing and their histories, where we come from the story of our families," Goodrem said.

"It was all a bit vague. I knew somebody travelled, somebody had something to do with Carlton Draught, somebody had died in the war ... a few small clues but that's all."

She turned to Who Do You Think You Are, the hit biographical series on SBS that takes celebrities on a journey into their lineages.

So unexpected were the discoveries that Goodrem admits she's "still processing" some of the big revelations, particularly about Florence.

And finally, the abilities that have made her a household name, which began emerging when she was just a toddler, made sense.

Florence was part of Melbourne's emerging theatre scene in the early 1900s before taking off on ships to work in New York and San Francisco.

"It was like, did no one know this?" Goodrem said. "It was so fascinating to know Florence travelled with the theatre and that I had music firmly in my history.

Success and talent aside, Florence's life was far from uncomplicated.

Delta Goodrem stunned on the set of House Husbands in Melbourne. Photo / Daily Mail
Delta Goodrem stunned on the set of House Husbands in Melbourne. Photo / Daily Mail

She became the source of scuttlebutt after giving birth to an illegitimate son, Tom, fathered by Thomas Park, the son of a respected manager of Carlton United Breweries.

He was married to someone else and the affair made local papers. Goodrem unearthed articles that detailed nasty and very public brawling between Florence and her lover's wife Margaret.

The story that was passed down through generations after was that Florence and Thomas eventually married, before he was killed in World War I.

But as it turned out, neither of those things happened - Thomas stayed with his wife and Florence raised her young son alone.

And rather than die a hero, Thomas passed as an outcast from his wealthy family with multiple criminal convictions for larceny and fraud.
"That guy really irked me," Goodrem said.

Read more:
Check out Graham Norton's Travel WAG
Auckland's new sporting 'IT' couple

"My parents taught me such a good value system ... the fact that my mum's father's father was not a respectable man was confronting."

So too were revelations of domestic violence, which had Goodrem close to tears.

"That pushed a lot of buttons," she admitted "It really upset me."

But Florence did marry a Parker - her lover's nephew, many years her junior, but they both lied about their ages on the wedding registration.

Delta's new single:

In the end it meant she and her child were taken in and cared for by the society family, giving them a chance at a good life.

"That twist at the end was like, wow. I did not see that coming at all.
"Thomas' father, also Thomas, ran all of the pubs in Melbourne and he seemed like quite an incredible man. I've read a lot about him since and was amazing. I'm proud of that. He obviously had a not-so-great son."

When she had a clear picture of her maternal family tree, Goodrem travelled to Melbourne to sit down with her mum Lea.

The two had spoken on the phone in the midst of the journey, which she describes a rollercoaster ride of discovery and emotion. But the truth about Florence, Thomas and little Tom was best shared in person.

"We went out to dinner and sat down with a glass of wine and it was like, OK, we need to talk," Goodrem laughed.

Delta Goodrem performs a scene from CATS during the CATS media call at Regent Theatre on December 18, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo / Getty
Delta Goodrem performs a scene from CATS during the CATS media call at Regent Theatre on December 18, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo / Getty

"It was a lot for her to take in. There were all these fascinating revelations. But at the same time, much has passed. And there was a strange coincidence between her family and my dad's family."

Both lines crossed paths without knowing it in Bendigo, before separately moving on to Melbourne.

Another part of her personality - a seeming contradiction between a penchant for the dramatic and a deep connection with the land - also made sense.

"I saw colourful backgrounds on both sides of the family but also an earthiness, and I've always wondered about that combination in me," she said.

"I'm a bit eccentric and I love the arts, and I grew up knowing music and performance was what I was going to do, but I also feel this earthy side - shoes off, in the dirt, grounded and at ease.

🍃🌿🍃🌿 #Australia❤️ #adventures

A post shared by Delta Goodrem (@deltagoodrem) on

"I got a clear picture that I have both sides of that, from both families, and that was cool."

The process of self-discovery, captured by cameras and cut into a compelling hour of television, caps off what's been one the best years of Goodrem's life thus far.

She's busier than ever, reportedly happy in love with rugby union star Drew Mitchell, and thrilled to be getting back to where her career started - acting.

Delta Goodrem is said to be dating rugby player, Drew Mitchell. Photo / Getty
Delta Goodrem is said to be dating rugby player, Drew Mitchell. Photo / Getty

Goodrem has just wrapped filming on Channel Nine's series House Husbands, which marks her long-awaited small screen drama return.

"I'm in a really good place and it's been a great year," she said.

"It's been all about diversity. I started 2016 doing Cats, from there I went to The Voice, then straight into finishing my album, to the intensity of going on tour, then returning to TV acting.

Letttttttttts go🚀🎼 I am so ready for this season 💥#TEAMDELTA where you at??! @thevoiceau

A post shared by Delta Goodrem (@deltagoodrem) on

"Acting has always been a part of me and it's nice to get all those muscle memories going again. I get to learn new things from this incredible cast too. I'm excited to be back."