Since the 1988 debut of the first episodes of Home and Away, more than 30 years have passed.
The drama serial has developed a passionate fan following of viewers who have followed along with the frequently turbulent lives of the residents of Summer Bay over the years, becoming one of Australia’s most popular programmes.
The TV Week team decided to travel back in time to revisit the lives of the original cast members and find out what they have been up to since their main roles on the programme ended because episode 5,000 is not too far away.
Therefore, without further ado….
1988–present Ray Meagher (Alf Stewart)
Ray appeared in the inaugural episode of Home and Away in 1988, making him the longest-running actor in an Australian serial to this day (he really holds the Guinness World Record for that distinction).
He has participated in about 5,000 episodes over the course of the previous 30 years, won a Gold Logie Award for playing Alf, and is currently the only surviving original cast member on the show.
In addition to playing the lead character on Home and Away, Ray has performed on stage in Priscilla: Queen of the Desert and other Christmas pantomimes in Australia and the UK.
1988–2007 Norman Coburn (Donald Fisher)
Norman is most known for playing high school headmaster Donald Fisher. He served in that capacity continuously until 2003 and intermittently from 2004 to 2007.
After that? Apart from a brief appearance in a 2019 episode of Home and Away with his old co-star Debra Lawrence, Norman is content with life as a retiree.
1988–2002 Judy Nunn (Ailsa Stewart)
Judy dedicated her focus to a writing career after her character was killed off in 2000 (although she did make an appearance in the form of hallucinations seen by her on-screen husband Alf in 2002). She published 16 adult fiction novels, with Show Time in 2021 being the most recent.
She currently resides on the NSW Central Coast with her husband Bruce Vernables.
1988–2013: Kate Richie (Sally Fletcher)
Kate left the role of Sally after 20 years in 2008, however she came back for the 2013 25th anniversary festivities.
Since then, she has hosted Kate, Tim & Joel on NOVA FM’s national drive show and had a number of other acting appearances, most recently serving as a judge on the Channel 7 drama series The Claremont Murders. She also served as a judge on Australia’s Got Talent in 2022.
Kate now resides in Sydney’s eastern suburbs with her nine-year-old daughter Mae, whom she shared with her ex-husband Stuart Webb.
1988–2006: Nicolle Dickson (Bobby Simpson)
Some people might be surprised to learn that Nicolle resigned from acting after leaving Home and Away (after her character was fatally injured in a boating accident) and now works as an accountant and bookkeeper.
She and her husband James are currently residing in the Southern Highlands.
1988–2013 Lyn Collingwood (Colleen Smart)
It was expected that Lyn would join the cast of Home and Away in 1988 after appearing in A Country Practice and Neighbours.
Over a 25-year period, Lynn left the show, came back, left again, and is currently leading a non-public existence.
It’s interesting to note that Lyn has recently worked as an editor and researcher for The Australian Encyclopaedia as well as many other encyclopaedias.
1988–2008 Adam Willits (Steven Matheson)
Who could forget how Adam portrayed Steven, a foster child?
Adam went on to star in Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome, Hampton Court, All Saints, and serial Rake after its original run from 1988 to 1991 (and several subsequent returns over the years). He subsequently left the spotlight to work in the insurance industry.
1988–2008 Sharyn Hodgson (Carly Morris)
Sharyn continued to appear in episodes of well-known shows including Blue Heelers, Police Rescue, and Big Sky after her original on-screen departure.
She has her own foster children and is now a full-time mother in addition to working as a natural therapist and daycare provider.
1988–2006: Vanessa Downing (Pippa Fletcher)
Longtime fans know Vanessa as the original Pippa Fletcher (Debra Lawrence took over the role in 1990).
She has played a lot of cameo appearances in telemovies and Australian television programmes throughout the years. She has also built a successful legal career while working with the firm Craddock Murray Neumann.
1988–2002: Greg Benson (Matt Wilson)
Greg permanently stopped acting after the finale of Home and Away. But in a charming twist of destiny, he met his real-life sweetheart Amanda on the set when she was chosen to play Narelle Smart.
They are now happily married and have two grown children; Dylan, one of them, even made a special appearance on the 2019 season of Home and Away.
1988–2008 Roger Oakley (Tom Fletcher)
Roger was a seasoned professional in the field before to signing on with Home and Away.
Following his departure from the programme in 1990 (and brief comeback in 2008), he has continued to act, appearing in theatre performances of My Fair Lady, The Golden Dragon, and other works, as well as in the television series Underbelly and Winners and Loosers.
In the television series Superwog in 2021, he made his final on-screen appearance.
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