1 9 8 8 – Current (Australia)
Home and Away originally told the story of Tom and Pippa Fletcher, who moved to a caravan park near the small (fictional) Australian coastal town of Summer Bay in the pilot episode.
Tom and Pippa were foster parents and the series set out to be harder-edged than Neighbours, exploring the reactions of the inhabitants of Summer Bay to these newcomers and issues affecting modern-day youth that Neighbours hadn’t touched.
In a calculatedly shrewd piece of head-hunting, Channel Seven recruited Neighbours star Craig MacLachlan to play unorthodox teacher Grant Mitchell. Also on the list of dramatis personae were Dannii Minogue (sister of Kylie) and Terence Donovan (father of Jason).
In 1992, the death of Meg (Cathy Godbold) from leukaemia had viewers reaching for their hankies, and a year later Summer Bay was rocked by its second major motor vehicle tragedy (the first claimed the life of Tom Fletcher) when David (Guy Pearce) died in a car accident, leaving poor Sophie (Rebekah Elmaloglou) pregnant with his child.
Adam (Mat Stevenson) survived the car accident, only to be later involved in the biggest tragedy to hit Summer Bay thus far – the death of Bobby (Nicolle Dickson, pictured below). Adam was at the wheel of the boat when it crashed and exploded.
Nicolle, a Home and Away original, chose to leave the soap after more than five years saying: “I have to go out there and prove I can do other things apart from Bobby”. She returned briefly in 1995 as a ghost.
Some of the longest-running characters are Leah Patterson-Baker (Ada Nicodemou), Sally Fletcher (Kate Ritchie), and Irene Roberston (Lynne McGranger), although Alf Stewart (Ray Meagher) is the only character and actor who has remained on the show since the first season. Alf Stewart is remarkably popular on the internet for his frequent use of Australian slang, especially the phrase “flamin’ galah” and “mongrel”.
The beach and most outdoor shots surrounding the town are filmed at Palm Beach on Sydney’s northern beaches. The most recognisable feature of Palm Beach from the TV series is the Surf Club. It is the North Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club at Governor Phillip Park, Palm Beach.
Caravan Park scenes were shot between 2007 and 2009 at Duffys Forest at Waratah Park Earth Sanctuary. Martha’s Farm is at Windsor.
The Bayside Diner was an iconic location in the show for 11 years before Colleen burnt it down in 2000, forcing Alf and Ailsa to move to the Beachside Diner. The building used as the original diner stands at the end of Etival Street, overlooking Careel Bay at the southern end of the suburb of Palm Beach in Sydney.
Interior filming took place at Channel 7’s studios in Mobbs Lane, Epping from 1989 to 2009. Interiors are now filmed at ATN-7 studios at Redfern in Sydney.
Vanessa Downing (1)
Debra Lawrence (2)
Sally Keating (Fletcher)
Ailsa Stewart (Hogan)