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 -
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
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.