Donald made his first appearance in Episode 0 (Episode Pilot) (17 January 1988) and continued as a main character until Episode 3455 (28 Feb 2003). He made return visits to Summer Bay over the next few years. The first of these was later in 2003. He came back for further stints in 2004 and 2005. He was last seen in 2007 when he returned from July to September of that year. He made his final appearance in Episode 4502 (11 Sep 2007).
Originally portrayed as something of a villain, Donald mellowed over the years. He experienced great loss too, with three of his children dying. His son Alan died from a brain aneurysm in 1988, daughter Bobby was killed in a speedboat accident in 1993 and young son Byron died from cancer in 1999. He also had a daughter - Rebecca - who is still alive.
Donald was played by Norman Coburn.
|Birthday:||13th February, 1945|
|Birthplace:||Sydney, NSW, Australia|
|Siblings:||Mary Croft, Clive Fisher|
|Spouse:||Barbara Stewart (1969-1984), Marilyn Chambers (1996-2001)|
|Children:||Alan Fisher (1970), Bobby Marshall (1970), Rebecca Nash (1973), Byron Fisher (1999)|
|Occupation:||Vice Principal, School Principal, Retired (Since 2007)|
|Played By:|| Norman Coburn
1945-1987Donald M. Fisher was born on the 13th February 1945 in Sydney, the eldest child of R.J. Fisher and Isobel DuPre. He had a brother and sister - Clive Fisher and sister Mary. Donald left school in 1961 aged 16 and attended university .After graduating he became a fully fledged teacher. In about 1965 he moved to Summer Bay where he became a teacher at Summer Bay High School. Donald met Barbara Stewart and they married in about 1968. Don and Barbara had a son Alan Fisher and a daughter Rebecca Fisher. In 1969, Don cheated on Barbara with her sister Morag Bellingham and Morag gave birth to a daughter Bobby in 1970.
In the 1970s Donald carried on as a teacher, later being promoted to Vice Principal by 1978. Donald made himself quite unpopular with the locals at the same time, with his fiery and fearsome nature and often rude remarks to pupils and their parents. He sometimes showed a softer side when his students had any personal problems.
In 1984, Donald cut all ties with his wife and 2 children. In 1985 Donald turned 40 and during that year, supported his brother-in-law Alf Stewart as he dealt with the death of his wife Martha. Also in 1985, Donald became a grandfather but he wasn't to know this for another 16 years. His son Alan had a fling with Anna Miller and they had a son Seb Miller in 1985. Around this time he expelled school delinquents Lance Smart and Martin Dibble. By the start of 1988, Don was more fearsome than ever.
In January 1988, the Fletcher family came to Summer Bay. Donald got off on the wrong foot with them when it transpired that he wanted local delinquent Bobby Marshall jailed. He was willing to stitch her up in order to have her sent to jail. He also threatened the Fletcher family if they crossed him, saying he could make their lives hell. Don and Tom Fletcher crossed swords more than once during this time.
Don was grotty to the students at Summer Bay High and on occasions could be offensive and a bit boorish. He found that his son Alan Fisher was dying of a brain aneurysm and when he died, Don redeemed and became a more mellow person. In 1989 Don found out that his most hated pupil Bobby was his daughter from his brief canoodle with Morag back in 1969. Don was shocked at this but soon begun to accept Bobby. The pair went on to form a close relationship.
Emma Jackson and her friends came to school dressed in punk clothing to rebel against the school uniform. Their plan backfired when Don came into class dressed as a punk himself and gave a lecture on it and singled Emma out, saying it put worth into a brainless existence.
In January 1990, Donald was framed for the murder of Shane Wilson by Al Simpson. Donald was hunting in the forest at the time of the shooting. A ballistics expert proved that the bullet used to kill Shane did not match that of the gun Donald had. Al Simpson later admitted to the crime and was jailed.
1990-2003After the debacle about Al Simpson and Shane Wilson was over, Donald learned that Bobby was pregnant and that he would become a grandfather. Sadly, Bobby suffered a miscarriage at the end of the year.
In late 1990, a new teacher called Alan Stone was transferred to Summer Bay High He was an alcoholic and abused pupils. Eventually, Donald had him transferred to another school.
In August 1993, Don was devastated when Bobby died in a boating accident. Adam Cameron was driving the boat at the time and wasn't paying attention to where he was going. Shortly afterwards, Bobby's widower Greg left Summer Bay to resume working as a truck driver. He left his son Sam, who had originally been fostered by Bobby, in Donald's care. Donald struggled to look after young Sam so he agreed to have him fostered by the Rosses. He continued to play a large part in Sam's life though.
In 1995 Donald's darker side, last seen in 1988, resurfaced again when he started to throw his weight around as headmaster at Summer Bay High. He got closer to Marilyn Chambers who was half his age. They begun dating and this shocked many of the residents of Summer Bay. Don and Maz married in 1996. Their marriage soon hit stormy waters when she suffered post natal depression after the birth of their son Byron Fisher. Don confided in Sam Marshall, saying he and Maz were a million miles apart now.
In 2003, Donald left Summer Bay with his new partner June Reynolds. He retired to the Whitsundays.
Don made a brief return to Summer Bay in 2004.
Don returned to Summer Bay in July 2005 for Alf's 60th. Don himself had recently turned 60. Don then returned to The Whitsundays.
In 2007 Donald Fisher returned to Summer Bay as he was desperate for money. He managed to blag a job at Summer Bay High again. He was now the employee of Sally Fletcher, who he had been headmaster to when she was a kid. Donald's old fashioned ways did not fare well so in September 2007, he decided to retire yet again, this time for good . He returned to the Whitsundays, never to return to Summer Bay.
In 2015, Don's ex Marilyn had amnesia after an accident and Don was contacted to verify or deny some of the memories Maz had. By February 2015, Don was now 70 years old.
In May 2016, Don had a fall and Alf went to see him.
Since 2007, Don has not visited Summer Bay. As of 2019 he is 74 years old.
Character creation and development
Date of birth: 13 February 1945
Full Name: Donald M Fisher
Throughout the series, Donald's exact age has only ever been mentioned once, in 1995 when he turned 50. Until 1995, we never knew exactly how old Don was or when his birthday was but he said he had been teaching for 25 years. This means he started aged around 18 so unlikely. But Don may have rounded up the amount of years he had been teaching though, as later on he said 23 years, making 1965 the year he started teaching. He may have started off as a student teacher aged 20 and that counts as part of his time as a teacher. If he was 20 in 1965, he probably started teaching then which is plausible. It was in February 1995 that we finally got to know how old the grumpy school principal was. Meaning he was born Feb 1945. More likely he started teaching in 1965 aged 20. I am still in the opinion that Don was born February 1945. He is definitely meant to be younger than Norman Coburn who played him.
Don's mother's maiden surname was Du Pre and she was known as Isobel Du Pre in 1997. It was never stated that she remarried, and unless that is her actress stage name, that surname strongly suggests French ancestry.
In Episode 84 (12 May 1988) Don and Alf talk about the events of 19 years before when he wanted to marry Alf's sister Barbara and Alf says he was only a couple of years old than what Frank and Roo are now, and Frank and Roo were 18 in 1988.
In Ep 1403 (16 Feb 1994) Don's father's initials are said to be R.J. F, as Don said that was his father's initials on his fountain pen. Don never said his father's full name so we can just guess. Robert? Richard? Reg? Rex???
First appearance Episode 0 (Episode Pilot) (17 January 1988)
Last appearance Ep 4502 (11 Sep 2007)
First Line "I heard a commotion so I thought I should check. Better safe than sorry. I was burgled recently myself so I'm very aware of it. Donald Fisher."
Final Line "
Fisher "Oh. (All Serious). Pushing a pen no doubt".
"It puts a feeling of worth into an otherwise brainless existence" to Emma Jackson about dressing as a punk.
All the pupils in class are messing about and singing, some are in punk clothing listen to a rock song on the radio. We see the hand of a mysterious figure turn the radio off. He is wearing a punk like jacket. It is none other than headmaster Donald Fisher, The Donster.
Don: "Well don't mind me, Lets get down and get right up again shall we? No doubt you all think I look ridiculous? Hmm?? Well do you or don't you?? (Wanting an answer. The class says "Yes" reluctantly). Yes you are quite right I couldn't agree more. Man my age walking round dressed like this. Its nonsense. Dressed exactly like you in fact. (Indicates Emma Jackson). Well why not? If this is what it takes to be an individual. If this is what it means to demonstrate the freedom we must have to lead our own lives then fine I'll do it. I couldn't care less how ridiculous I look. You see I believe in the freedom of expression as passionately as you do. Australia fought 2 world wars to safeguard this freedom, just so that you and I had the right to do anything we like. I do sometimes wonder though. Why? Why do we have to dress like this in order to make the point? Torn tattered jeans, dirty T shirts, jackets with chains and studs all over them. Look around you. Take a good look, go on go on. Its as much a uniform as the school uniform is. if this isn't the school uniform then what is? We all look exactly the same. Which rather raises the point I think. What is the difference between all of us wearing school uniform and all of us wearing punk clothing? Can anyone enlighten me? Emma, you seem to be a leader in these matters, maybe you can explain it to us?
Emma: There's nothing to explain.
Don: No I didn't think there was, not for a minute. You have never given it any real thought at all have you, why you dress like this?
Emma: I just like it. There doesn't have to be a reason.
Don: No there doesn't have to be a reason but there usually is. I think you do because it offends people, outrages them and you get some enjoyment out of this. It puts a feeling of worth into an otherwise brainless existence.
Emma: JUST GET OFF MY BACK OK!!!!!
Don: Believe me Emma. I don't get any satisfaction from looking like this. Nor do I get any satisfaction from putting you down. Which is more than I can say for you. Right well I think we will cancel the rest of the lessons for this morning. Go home, get changed and be back here after lunch. Class dismissed.
Donald Fisher started out as a totally egotistic, vain man is what he was in the H&A early years. He was a local pillar of the community, a vice principal of Summer Bay High who looked down on everyone and would do anything to get rid of pupils he did not like. Fisher had a tendency to hold grudges and would even use underhand tactics against those he had a grievance with. This wasn't always with his pupils but people in the community such as Nico and Bobby. Fisher even wanted the Fletchers to commit perjury to get Bobby locked away. He tried to get Lyn Davenport to do the same to have Nico Pappas locked up. Due to his attitude, Fisher was a suspect as the vandal of Nico's bike and the poisoning of his cow. Although if you were one of his pupils and you really were in trouble, Don probably would help you out.
But Fisher somehow saw the error of his ways when his son Alan died. It seemed to redeem Fisher. He became a more relaxed and fair person, even if he still could be grumpy at the best of times. In 1995 his darker side surfaced again when he became quite unlikeable again. Maybe he was not getting any of it, if you know what I mean.
Donald developed romantic feelings for Pippa Fletcher after the death of her husband Tom. Pippa didn't feel the same way about him though and gently turned him down. The pair did become friends but the experience burned him somewhat. When substitute teacher Patricia Coleman came to Summer Bay, he struggled to tell her how he felt about her.
After starting out as sworn enemies, he and Bobby developed a warm relationship. They still had their disagreements but the pair became close. When his house burned down after a bush fire started by Jack Wilson, he was utterly heartbroken to lose his collection of photos of Bobby.
ReceptionFlathead was quite the villain when the show began, and Robin Oliver from The Sydney Morning Herald even dubbed Donald Fisher as "Summer Bay's vile headmaster". As noted in the "Personality" section of his character profile, in the first few months, Don certainly was vile. He insulted Tom Fletcher about his army days, tried to implicate Bobby and even tried to get Nico Pappas locked up, plus he was just devious, not to mention snappy at everyone. He did start to mellow towards the end of 1988.
Father R.J. Fisher (full first names never revealed)
Mother Isobel DuPre
Grandchildren Seb Miller