Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Dreamtime Stuff Can Come True

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Dreamtime Stuff Can Come True

Article excerpt

Owen Jacques

APN Newsdesk

IT IS a below-freezing London night in December 2012.

"Mr Television" Ray Martin is standing outside the premiere of Hollywood blockbuster Les MisA[c]rables, starring Australian actor and friend Hugh Jackman.

Although not on the guest list, Ray spies Hugh and wants to say hello. Told to get in line, Ray walks on.

He figures he will try to nod Hugh a "g'day" as he passes. He expects maybe a wink back, but is given a far more Aussie greeting.

"(Hugh) saw me go past the man he was talking to, who was probably trying to offer him money for a new film and Hugh said, 'Oh f***! What are you doing here?!'".

"Only an Australian would say that."

Aside from being 17,000km from his Sydney home, Ray's encounter with his A-list mate is even more distant from his modest childhood life in the central New South Wales town of Tottenham.

It has a population of about 320.

As a boy, the bush-living Ray would have laughed off any notion of meeting the celebrities he saw in magazines as "white-fella dreamtime stuff".

That's how he described it in his 2010 autobiography.

His world now, he wrote, was as far from that life as "another galaxy, a rocket-ship ride away".

Despite the gulf between his present and past, the bush stays with him.

He must be Australia's most famous Martin, though his surname is thought to have been stolen from a train station advertisement as his family fled Ray's increasingly drunk and abusive father.

Ray Grace becomes Ray Martin at age 11.

When we meet Ray, he is relaxed. The surprise arrival of a repairman at his occasional holiday home near Coolum means we interview him by the pool.

He doesn't tell the story of running into Hugh at a London black-tie gala to impress anyone. He spins the yarn the way someone might retell a story about running into an old mate.

It goes to the heart of how Ray Martin - an Australian celebrity in his own right - thinks about his fellow Aussies.

"(Hugh) didn't really care about this A-List person. He just saw someone he knew or saw someone who was another Aussie," he says.

"It's part of our character. …

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