First Appearance: Episode 1 (1982)
Last Appearance: Episode 972 (1987)
Known Family: Father - Doug Palmer; Mother -
Alice Palmer; Wife (1) - Beryl Palmer; 'Son' - John Palmer;
Son - Kevin Palmer; Daughter - Susan Palmer/Todd/Hamilton;
Son - Robert Palmer; Daughter (by Frannie Henderson) -
Leigh Palmer; Daughter-in-Law - Lynn Hardy/Palmer; Wife
(2) - Patricia Hamilton
Flings with both Patricia Dunne and her sister,
Margaret, in the 1960s; Marriage to Beryl Palmer (née
Keegan) (divorced 1984); Affair with Margaret Dunne (d.
1984) in the 1980s; Marriage to Patricia Morrell (1984);
Fling with Laura Banning
As a character who appeared in Sons and
Daughters from the very beginning right through until
nearly the very end, David Palmer had numerous storylines.
Here is a selection:
Melbourne teenager David Palmer chased after local girl
Patricia Dunne for some time in the early 1960s. They
ended up together and Patricia fell pregnant. She gave
birth to twins, but took off with the girl, leaving David
with the boy, whom he named John. By 1982, David is living
in Melbourne with his wife, Beryl, his children by her,
Susan and Kevin, and John, who moved to live with David
and Beryl when he was five years old. David has a tendency
to lose his temper quickly, and has always found it hard
to get close to his kids.
After John is accused of murder, he runs away to Sydney,
where he meets Angela Hamilton - who turns out to be his
twin sister. Through her, David meets Patricia again,
twenty years after he last saw her. It's clear that there's
still chemistry between them and an affair quickly ensues.
David breaks it off, though, and returns to Beryl, who
accepts his assurances that he has Patricia out of his
system. Beryl falls pregnant again - but when David returns
to Melbourne after attending Angela's wedding to Rob Keegan,
he discovers to his shock that Beryl has suffered a miscarriage.
Having known nothing about this, David is stunned when
Beryl snaps that he put Patricia ahead of her
and doesn't want to see him again.
Beryl moves away to Sydney, leaving Patricia to move
into the Palmer house in Melbourne. It doesn't take long,
though, for David to become annoyed with the way she starts
trying to run his life. He soon sees sense and goes to
plead with Beryl to come back to him. She agrees. In revenge
for the way he treated her, Patricia tells David bitterly
that he's not really John and Angela's father; it's actually
Martin Healy, who she was seeing just before she started
seeing David in the 1960s.
John tracks Martin down, but a few months later David
finds himself being arrested for murdering Martin after
finding the man dead. He's remanded in custody at HM Prison
Pentridge, where he befriends teenager Tony Parker. When
a suicide note that Martin wrote emerges, David is cleared.
Tony is freed from prison at the same time and David invites
him to come and stay with the Palmers. This brings the
Palmers into contact with Tony's violent criminal father,
Joe - and Joe Parker ends up holding several people hostage
at Woombai. David is shot when the siege comes to a head,
and he almost dies in hospital. Fortunately, the doctors
manage to revive him.
As he recuperates, David becomes closer to Patricia's
sister, Margaret Dunne, who confesses that she framed
him for Martin's murder and wants to make it up to him.
Beryl inherits a fortune in Dee Morrell's will. It leads
her to become more independent, and David finds himself
spending more time alone, feeling increasingly resentful
of his wife's new interests. He enjoys Margaret's company
and it isn't long before they kiss. When Beryl finds out
about the affair, she tells David that she wants a year's
separation and then a divorce. David accepts this. He
subsequently tells Margaret that he wants to marry her
- but sadly, Margaret dies following complications during
an operation she has to undergo after being injured in
a light-'plane crash. In a letter handed to David by Margaret's
solicitor following her death, she asks him to look after
Patricia for her.
David ends up moving into an apartment with Patricia.
The time they spend together brings them closer again,
and David eventually asks Patricia to marry him. On the
day of their wedding, however, Patricia discovers that
she's been bankrupted by her employee, Luke Carlyle, and
she runs out of her wedding, telling David that she can't
go through with marrying him when she has no money. Luke
is subsequently found dead, and his father, Roger, looks
upon Patricia as the number one suspect. He sends a hitman
and a crooked surgeon, Ross Newman, after her, but Patricia
manages to evade them or survive their attempts to get
her. She does eventually agree again to marry David -
but only a few days after their wedding, David discovers
that she's fled Australia in order to stop Roger Carlyle
from killing her. He learns that she's gone to Rio de
Beryl gives birth to a baby son, Robert, that she conceived
during a brief final night together between her and David
nine months earlier. Meanwhile, David is shocked to discover
that he has a teenage daughter he knew nothing about:
Leigh, the result of a fling that David had with his brother,
Ray's, wife, Frannie, many years earlier.
After several months, David decides to head to Rio to
track down Patricia. He discovers that she's had plastic
surgery - and when he finds a woman calling herself 'Sarah'
- who looks not dissimilar to how Patricia used to look
- he becomes convinced that she's Patricia and he marries
her and brings her back to Australia. It becomes clear
that he's made a mistake, though, when he meets a mysterious
new arrival in Australia, Alison Carr. David realises
that she's Patricia, but after they have a heated
discussion, they decide things are over between them.
Sarah runs away after Alison makes her feel unwelcome.
David has to cope with Leigh committing suicide after
being put on trial for kidnapping baby Robert. He also
becomes concerned after Susan begins a relationship with
Wayne Hamilton - and when they then decide to marry, David
does his best to put a halt to things. He's unsuccessful,
When David meets businesswoman Laura Banning, he's attracted
to her; and she's equally attracted to him because of
his brusque, no-nonsense style. Laura tries to give David
advice on setting-up his new chauffeuring company - but
when she tries to force him to sack Caroline Morrell because
she's spent time in prison, David refuses and tells Laura
that their relationship is over.
Despite trying to steer clear of Alison, David becomes
involved with her again when she gets tangled-up with
Colin and Jean Hopkins. The Hopkins's end up locking David
and Alison in a freezer together, and they have plenty
of time to talk as they face the prospect of death. They're
rescued in time, and although David has to undergo treatment
in hospital, he survives the ordeal. The events also make
him focus on his life, and he decides to try again with
Beryl. He goes as far as asking her to marry him again
- but she turns him down, leaving David devastated. He
decides to head off to do some travelling and escape everything
that's haunted his life in Sydney and Melbourne.
Several months later, David reads in a newspaper that
Alison has been made bankrupt. He tracks her down to a
seedy motel in Sydney. He finds her in a miserable, depressed
state - but when Alison sees David standing there, a smile
crosses her face, she runs to him and they start kissing
passionately, as if they were still the teenagers of 25