Rights campaigner Julian Assange acknowledges his Torres Strait Islander form and content

Gerry Georgatos
Global justice campaigner and WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange has contributed his life to standing up for the oppressed and in challenging the world’s most powerful governments and clandestine institutions.

Mr Assange was born in Townsville, Queensland however he readily acknowledges a diverse heritage which he proudly said includes a Torres Strait Islander great-great-grandparent. In his form and content is that of a Thursday Islander, his (step) great-great-grandmother.

He has kept his step-father’s (Brett) surname even though his mother, Christine (nee Hawkins) Assange, raised him from the age of one. His biological father is John Shipton. Many have assumed Assange was of French heritage however they are very wrong. Assange is the Anglicisation of the surname Au Sang – a Taiwanese/Chinese émigré, born in Canton, China and who settled on Thursday Island in the late 1800s and who married a Thursday Islander. In time many of their descendants relocated to the northern Queensland mainland. Mr Assange, and his father, Brett Assange, have both said that their Taiwanese ancestor had been a pirate.

In 2009, in the Lonely Planet and the New Yorker publications Mr Assange referred to his Asian and Torres Strait Island heritage. “My father’s surname is Assange. According to my father, on his side I am part-Chinese and part-Thursday Islander. My grandfather’s name was George Assange and his father before him was also George, (however his) surname (was) Au Sang.”

“According to my father, my grandfather was a night club singer who changed his name to Assange because it sounded French and he would be readily accepted among his peers. I believe my (great) great grandfather travelled to Australia for the 1800s gold rushes,” he is quoted.

Ancestry.com and the Australian Electoral Records confirm the name Au Sang and on occasion spelt Ah Sang and the name change to Assang and subsequently to Assange.

Chinese settlers did come to Thursday Island after a ‘colony’ was established there in the 1870s with the ‘annexation’ of Torres Strait Islands by the British Crown (Queensland/Australia). The traditional name of Thursday Island is Waiben.

His step-father's Taiwanese/Chinese ancestor ‘George’ Ah Sang became a ‘naturalised’ Australian in 1893 and hence the nine children of he and his Thursday Island wife were recognised as Australians.

By 1902 the former pirate had become quite well known on Thursday Island and ran a gambling ring.

Mr Assange’s step-grandfather George Franklin Assange was born on Thursday Island in 1927 and died in NSW in 1997.

Mr Assange began university study several years before leaving his studies to found WikiLeaks, and while at the University of Melbourne gave an interview to the student publication Meanjin (Volume 65, University of Melbourne, 2006) and referred to a stage name of his nightclub performer/actor great-grandfather. “Vic Sabrino is yet another elusive figure. ‘Sabrino’ , in the first place, was merely a stage name for George Assang, a Torres Strait Islander… because it was felt a mixed-blood Asian blackfella had less chance of making it than some would-be Italian stallion a la Dean Martin.”

The photo at the top of the article is the only photo I can scrub up of Julian Assange's Taiwanese great-great grandfather – George Ah Sang (born Canton, China) and who married a Thursday Islander woman – and they had nine children, one of them George Assang, Julian’s (step) great-grandfather, who had George Assange, his step-grandfather, and then Brett Assange, his step-father who along with Christine Assange has parented Julian contributing to his form and content. It would be interesting to find a photo of his Thursday Island (step) great-great-grandmother and her name - gerry_georgatos@yahoo.com.au and 0430 657 309

I am sure I haven't got everything in this article one hundred per cent accurate however that is not the point of the article, however I am happy to correct where shown and required.

"I am a citizen of the world," said Diogenes



"Global justice campaigner and WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange has contributed his life to standing up for the oppressed and in challenging the world’s most powerful governments and clandestine institutions".

Gerry maybe you can tell us why Julian Assange keeps his mouth shut about Israel and it's war crimes and refuses to publish anything that makes Israel look bad, he is a sell out and I smell a rat.

Who cares what race Assange is?It all sounds like racism in reverse to me.

Assange is not stupid. EVERYONE who criticizes Israel is consequently accused of being anti-semitic and their careers are effectively ruined. And on top of that, you can only take on so many crooked regimes before someone decides to make you disappear FOREVER. Hence why Assange doesn't openly attack Russia or China.

Van you are incorrect and all you need to do is go to the Wikileaks site. You are correct that criticism of some can land you in hot water and destroy your reputation but I think to presume this of certain people who do stand up for the causes that matter is not fair.


Or the biggest criminals Israel which makes him piss weak

Hi Mr Anonymous, I don't think these are questions for Gerry to answer and I think everyone's biff with everything on this planet should not consume the purpose of every argument or story.

You are argue about the fear of being targeted if one speaks up but strangely you have not put your name to the article. I see that Julian puts his name, and his life, on the line for what he is prepared to publish and challenge. I see Gerry has done the same with his articles and his campaigns. I see some people do this all the time but the many do not. Does this say anything to you?

Rialto Goncalves

Rialto Goncalves my name is Simon Patterson and I live In Camberwell Victoria are you happy now?I do not argue about the fear of being targeted if one speaks up I think Assange is in bed with Israel.Israel are the Biggest criminals in the world and not a word out of him about Israel why?

Excellent reporting.

Danielle, hopefully I got it all correct! Gerry

Gerry, you state early in the piece that Julian "kept his step-father’s (Brett) surname even though his ... biological father is John Shipton." That means Julian has no biological relation to the Assange, Ah Sang or Au Sang families. Hence, it is incorrect to say he has Islander/Chinese heritage, or to call George Ah Sang his ancestor.

just to clear up a couple of anomolies about Julians "heritage"...George Ah Sang ( my Paternal great grandfather...his daughter Mary was my grandmother) was married to Annie Whyte an Irish woman from Limerick and not a Torres strait islander as reported in this story.They did indeed have 9 children.( I have birth/death certificates to back up these claims).My grandmother and her 2 elder siblings were sent to Canton to be brought up with their paternal grandparents as per Chinese tradition.I am not altogether clear of their family life whilst on Thursday island but i do know they ran the local Bakery on the island.The George Assange that is mentioned is indeed George Assange the entertainer..AKA Vic sabrino..who was in later life connected to Rowena Wallace,the Australian actress.

I think what's most important about this article and it's good reporting is not whether it's accurate or not but what Gerry is tryin gto say in that we are all one family and all of us citizens of the world!


But is it actually Julian's "heritage" if he has no blood realtionship with Brett Assange? Not to diminish the father-son or respectful relationship they may have, but Brett is his step-father and there is no blood tie. His birth father is John Shipton, maybe you need to look at his heritage to be correct in assessing Julians. But still, excellent research, if not quite on track!