Dr Karl Kruszelnicki returns to Wollongong for episode of 'Julia Zemiro's Home Delivery'

PROGRAM: The first episode of Julia Zemiro's Home Delivery features Dr Karl Kruszelnicki returning to his home town of Wollongong. Pictures: Supplied
PROGRAM: The first episode of Julia Zemiro's Home Delivery features Dr Karl Kruszelnicki returning to his home town of Wollongong. Pictures: Supplied

When reflecting on his early years living in the Illawarra, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki often refers to the "luck" he has enjoyed.

"I go down to Wollongong every year or so, and every time I drive up the street just to look and see what's happened to the house I used to live in," he explained.

"The woman (who now owns it) said she'd gone through the history of the house, and the house seems to have brought good luck to all the families who have lived there.

"All the families who have lived there have done well.

"It was just lucky that we went to that house, and lucky that the next family who moved in also had good luck."

The popular author and radio/TV science commentator's Wollongong upbringing is the subject of the first episode of the upcoming series of Julia Zemiro's Home Delivery.

Home Delivery is a long-form interview series in which Zemiro walks notable people through their old stomping grounds.

Born in Sweden, Kruszelnicki and family moved to Australia, and had a stint living in a refugee camp on the NSW/Victorian border.

They moved to the Illawarra when he was about five. Kruszelnicki remained in the region until the age of 22.

In the episode, filmed in February, Kruszelnicki takes Zemiro on a tour of the aforementioned West Wollongong family home he last entered half a century ago.

For the first several years, they shared the house with another family, as "everybody was desperately poor in those days after the war".

"We couldn't afford to buy a house by ourselves, and neither could another family, so the two families got together and bought the house between them, on the proviso that later on one family who became wealthier would buy out the other family," he said.

"So that's what we did... They went to Bellambi, and we bought them out."

During the episode, he recalls a lonely childhood and reveals his regret at not paying attention to the life lessons his Holocaust-survivor parents offered.

Jumping into a navy-blue Volkswagen Beetle, the duo also travel to his high school (Edmund Rice College) and favourite beach (North Wollongong), via the Port Kembla steelworks, where he worked as a physicist.

En route, Kruszelnicki also relays a near-death experience he had on Wollongong's roads.

"It was a real honour to see my past and just reflect on how lucky I was," Kruszelnicki said of appearing on the show.

"I'm very grateful to Wollongong for giving me such a lovely upbringing.

"Wollongong was like the nursery where I grew up, and you have to go through the nursery before you become an adult. And sometimes you can stay there, and sometimes not."

-The episode airs on Wednesday, May 20 at 8pm on ABC, plus ABC iview.

This story Dr Karl returns to childhood home first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.