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Beryl Palmer/Hamilton

Beryl Palmer

Beryl Palmer

Beryl Palmer

Beryl Hamilton

First Appearance: Episode 1 (1982)

Last Appearance:
Episode 972 (1987)

Known Family:
Father - Bob Keegan; Mother - Aileen Keegan; Brother - Rob Keegan; Husband (1) - David Palmer; Stepson - John Palmer; Daughter - Susan Palmer/Todd/Hamilton; Son - Kevin Palmer; Son - Robert Palmer; Stepson - John Palmer; Daughter-in-Law - Lynn Hardy/Palmer; Nephew - Brett Keegan

Key Relationships:
Marriage to David Palmer (divorced 1984); Liaison with Hal Mason (following temporary split from David); Romance with Jim O'Brien; Romance with Rod Campbell; Rekindling of romance with David Palmer; Marriage to Gordon Hamilton

Key Storylines:
As one of the characters who appeared in Sons and Daughters from the very beginning to the very end, Beryl had numerous storylines. Here is a selection:

Beryl Keegan met her future husband, David Palmer, when she worked as a waitress in a café. David, a long-distance lorry driver, regularly stopped in at the café, and one day, when Beryl managed to drop a pavlova on herself, it was David who comforted her. A relationship developed and they married in the early- to mid-60s. David told Beryl that he already had a son, John, being looked after by Fiona Thompson in Sydney. Beryl and David had two children of their own - Susan and Kevin - and in c. 1967, David decided he could cope with raising John now, and he brought his son to live with his new family.

In 1982, John runs away to Sydney after being accused of a murder he didn't commit. While there, he meets a twin sister he never knew existed: Angela Hamilton. When Beryl meets Angela - David's daughter - things are awkward between them for a while. John discovering Angela also brings her mother, Patricia, into Beryl's and David's lives: Beryl has always been aware of David's past with the beautiful Sydney socialite, and when he flies up to Sydney to work when a truckers' strike means there's nothing available in Melbourne, Beryl worries about what could happen between them. When David returns to Melbourne, he admits that an affair took place, but assures Beryl that it's over.

To her surprise, Beryl discovers that she's pregnant again. Sadly, she suffers a miscarriage - and David is away in Sydney, attending Angela's wedding to Beryl's brother, Rob, when it happens. He doesn't return to Melbourne for several days, during which time Beryl starts blaming his not being there for her losing the baby. She throws David out. The newly-single Beryl meets Hal Mason, Managing Director of Ramberg Industries. A relationship ensues, but Beryl soon realises that she only likes Hal as a friend; it's David she still loves. They patch-up their marriage and life returns to normal.

On the day of John and Angela's 21st birthday, Patricia reveals that the twins aren't really his; their father is Martin Healy, who Patricia was seeing in the early-60s. John tracks down Martin and gets to know him. However, Martin is found dead at his house one evening, with David standing over the body. David is arrested and charged with murder. Beryl stands by him and a suicide note eventually comes to light which reveals that Martin took his own life. When David is released from prison, he invites his teenage cellmate, Tony Parker, to stay with the Palmers.

Beryl lands a job working for Dee Morrell - the elderly mother-in-law of the newly-remarried Patricia Morrell. When Dee dies suddenly, Beryl is stunned to discover that she's been left a fortune in Dee's will. Meanwhile, the Palmers' involvement with the Parkers leads to trouble after Tony's criminal father, Joe, accuses David of having an affair with his wife, Alice. He holds Beryl, David, Tony and Alice hostage - and a subsequent shootout leads to David being shot. He almost dies, but just manages to hold on.

Her sudden wealth leads Beryl to begin moving in very different social and business circles, and she becomes involved with a Children's Home. She is shocked when David accuses her of being selfish and not devoting enough time to him. The tensions increase until Beryl eventually erupts and yells at David that if he can't accept that she might want something different now, they may as well call it quits. David moves out of the Palmer house. Beryl attempts to give the marriage one more chance, but she soon realises there's no hope and tells David that she'll see her solicitor about a divorce.

Beryl becomes involved with Jim O'Brien, the brother of one the Palmers' neighbours, Mike O'Brien. She then discovers that she's pregnant - to David, after a night of passion during their final attempt to patch up their marriage. Despite a few hiccups along the way, Beryl goes into labour and gives birth to a baby boy who she names Robert. There's tragedy in the offing, though, when, just a few hours after being born, Robert is kidnapped from the hospital. Beryl offers to pay a ransom, but when she turns up at the agreed venue the kidnappers fail to show. Beryl is devastated.

A few weeks later, while at the Children's Home, Beryl sees a baby there who she is convinced is Robert. Everyone she tells tries to convince her that she's mistaken, but Beryl is adamant. Her emotional state leads her to take the child from the Home when nobody is looking. Meanwhile, Jim is killed when a truck that David is driving, in which Jim is hitching a lift, explodes. Beryl is also in the truck, and although she survives the explosion, she is left blinded as a result of the horror of seeing Jim on fire. It takes several days for her to regain her sight.

Beryl is forced by the authorities to hand back the baby she 'kidnapped'. He is adopted by the O'Briens - but Beryl learns from her niece, Leigh, a few weeks later that the baby was Robert: she had kidnapped him after finding him in a basket on Beryl's front doorstep and taken him to the Children's Home. Beryl travels up to Brisbane, where the O'Briens have moved with the baby, and pleads to Heather O'Brien to hand him back. When she sees how attached Heather has become to the child, though, she reluctantly agrees that Heather can keep him.

Back in Melbourne, Beryl meets widower Rod Campbell, and begins to fall for him. The romance is doomed, though, after a love triangle develops between Rod, Beryl and Rod's housekeeper, Doris Hudson. Rod also begins to lose interest after he discovers that Beryl has a baby; and when an argument leads to him raising his hand to Beryl, she is quick to order him out of her life.

A business investment in coffee futures goes wrong, and Beryl loses the substantial part of her fortune.

When a teenager named Craig Maxwell turns up and tells Beryl that she's his mother, she's convinced that he must be crazy. However, as she gets to know Craig, she agrees to help him find his real mother. When she does eventually see her, she's astonished to find that the woman - Ruby Hawkins - is an exact double of her, albeit more tarty looking. Ruby is subsequently murdered and Craig finds himself on the run, accused of murder. It's with Beryl's help - she dresses up as Ruby and pretends to be Ruby's ghost in order to convince the real murderer to confess - that Craig is cleared.

Beryl and David's daughter, Susan, becomes involved with the evil Wayne Hamilton. Beryl and David do everything they can to try and put a stop to the relationship, but it's no good, and the young couple marry. Meanwhile, David tries to rekindle his relationship with Beryl. He goes as far as proposing remarriage - but Beryl turns him down, telling him that they've both changed too much.

As Beryl tries to make Susan see the truth about Wayne, she spends an increasing amount of time with Gordon Hamilton. The couple become closer, and Gordon eventually proposes. Beryl turns him down - but Gordon persuades her that they're what each other needs. Beryl accepts the proposal and she and Gordon marry. Their happiness is shortlived, though, after Wayne is shot: Beryl finds herself accused of attempted murder - even though she knows she's innocent. She's sent to jail. While receiving a visit from Susan one day, Susan lets slip that it was she who shot Wayne. Determined to prevent her daughter from having to spend time in prison, Beryl decides to plead guilty at her trial. She's released, though, after Susan hires a hitman to make another attempt on Wayne's life and then fakes suicide.

Beryl settles down to life outside prison with Gordon and with her toddler son, Robert, who is returned to her after Mike O'Brien dies after being injured in an accident on a building site. Beryl tells Gordon happily that she's realised over the years that there's absolutely nothing wrong with being a housewife and a mother.

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