Home And Away Soap Opera Wiki

Donald Fisher in 1989 dressed as a punk to show up some pupils at his school.

Donald M. Fisher (known as Fisher, Mr. Fisher or Flathead by his students) was an original character in Home And Away. He was best known for being the Principal of Summer Bay High School.

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 in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007. In 2007 he returned from July to September, making 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. His daughter Rebecca is still alive.

Donald was played by Norman Coburn.


Donald Fisher
Character Profile
Birthday: 13th February, 1945
Birthplace: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Father: R.J. Fisher
Mother: Isobel DuPre
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



Donald in 1970 (flashback in a 1989 episode)

Donald 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 and Mary. Donald left school in 1961 and after graduating from university, became a school teacher. Around 1965 he moved to Summer Bay and worked at Summer Bay High School. He met and married Barbara Stewart around 1968. They had two children - son Alan and daughter Rebecca. In 1969, Donald cheated on Barbara with her sister Morag Bellingham. In 1970 Morag gave birth to their daughter Bobby.

Donald's marriage to Barbara ended in divorce and he cut all ties with his wife and children. He became particularly estranged from his son Alan. 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. He briefly dated Ailsa Hogan but nothing much happened between them. They went on to become good friends.

At school, Donald made it to the position of Deputy Headmaster but dearly wished he could get the top job. A strict headmaster, he expelled Lance Smart and Martin Dibble.


In January 1988, the Fletcher family moved to Summer Bay. Donald got off on the wrong foot with them when it transpired that he wanted local delinquent Bobby Simpson jailed and was willing to stitch her up. He also threatened them and made it difficult for Tom to get a job in the area.

Donald finally got the headmaster's position he had always wanted when Walter Bertram retired. Most of the students in the school weren't happy because Donald wasn't the most pleasant of headmasters and could be insensitive, short-tempered, offensive and boorish at times. Things became awkward for him when his ex-wife Barbara was given a teaching position in the school. Their son Alan enrolled in the school and caused a lot of problems for his father. Donald's relationship with his son began to improve after he learned that he was at risk of dying from a brain aneurysm. After Alan's untimely death, he became a kinder 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 and he was heartbroken when Bobby died in a boating accident in 1993.

In 1989, teenage tearaway Emma Jackson and her friends decided to come 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. He 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 had been 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.


Don in 1991.

Donald learned that Bobby was pregnant and that he would become a grandfather. Sadly, Bobby suffered a miscarriage at the end of the year. The following year, Bobby fostered a young boy called Sam Nicholls (later Marshall) and he became known as "Uncle Donald".

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 1991, Donald was temporarily demoted to Deputy Headmaster of the school, replaced by the obnoxious Lois Crawford. Donald almost retired as a teacher during her reign of unpleasantness but happily, was reinstated as Headmaster when she was moved on.

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 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. Later on, Sam returned to live with Donald and the pair realised that although they weren't blood relations, they had a real bond.

In 1991, Donald's niece Lucinda came for a visit and eventually ended up living with him. Other people who stayed with Donald included Lucinda's fiancé Nick Parrish, Nick's brother Shane and Angel Brooks. When Shane and Angel moved out, Donald admitted to Ailsa that he missed the company.

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 and they married in 1996. Their marriage 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. They divorced in 2001.

In 2003, Donald left Summer Bay with his new partner June Reynolds and 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.


In 2007 Donald Fisher returned to Summer Bay as he was short of money. He got a job at Summer Bay High and was now the employee of Sally Fletcherwho he had once taught. Donald's old fashioned ways were out of step with the times so in September, he decided to retire yet again. He returned to the Whitsundays and hasn't been seen since.

Since 2007

In 2015, Donald's ex Marilyn suffered amnesia after an accident. He was contacted to verify or deny some of the memories Maz had.

In May 2016, Don suffered a fall and Alf went to see him. By now he was 71 years old.

Character creation and development

Memorable info

Date of birth: 13 February 1945

Full Name: Donald M Fisher

Throughout the series, Donald's exact age has been mentioned specifically once. He turned 50 in 1995. By then he was teaching for around 25 years.

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 spoke about the events of 19 years before when he had wanted to marry Alf's sister Barbara. Alf says he was only a couple of years older than what Frank and Roo were now. Frank and Roo were 18 in 1988.

In Ep 1403 (16 Feb 1994) Don's father's initials were said to be R.J. F. Donald said those were his father's initials on his fountain pen. Donald never revealed 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 "


Celia Stewart "Tom Fletcher was in Vietnam"

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.


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 models Nick's police hat. Very fetching.

Donald Fisher started out as an egotistical, vain man with a heartless streak. Although he was a pillar of the community, some of his behaviour wasn't very fair. He used underhand tactics to cause problems for people he disapproved of, such as Bobby Simpson, Tom Fletcher and Nico Pappas. Because of his track record, Fisher was a suspect as the vandal of Nico's bike and the poisoning of his cow.

Fisher handcuffs.jpg

Fisher saw the error of his ways when his son Alan died from a brain aneuryism. It seemed to redeem Fisher and it also improved his relationship with his ex-wife. Unexpectedly, he and Bobby developed a warm, loving relationship after they learned they were father and daughter. He became a more relaxed and fair person, even if he still could be grumpy at the best of times.

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 became good 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.

When Donald's house burned down after a bush fire started by Jack Wilson, he was utterly heartbroken to lose his collection of photos of Bobby.


H&a dozza on phone 1988.png

Flathead was quite the villain when the show began, and Robin Oliver from The Sydney Morning Herald 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. He was just devious, not to mention snappy at everyone. He started to mellow towards the end of 1988.


Father R.J. Fisher (full first names never revealed)

Mother Isobel DuPre

Siblings Clive Fisher, Mary Croft

Spouse Barbara Fisher, (??-1989) Marilyn Chambers (1996-2001)

Children Alan Fisher (1970), Bobby Marshall (1970), Rebecca Nash (1974), Byron Fisher (1998)

Grandchildren Seb Miller

Aunts/Uncles 1 aunt (mentioned in 1990), Sophie