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Character Profiles > Eileen Clarke Myra De Groot

Eileen Clarke (née Winston) 1985-1988
Marital Status: Malcolm Clarke (divorced)
Siblings: Bob
Children: Desmond Kingsley

Family Tree: Clarke/Winston
Occupation: Retired, Part-time Coffee Shop Assistant

The interfering, busybody mother of Des Clarke, Eileen Clarke was left to bring up her beloved Desmond on her own when philandering husband Malcolm walked out on her. As Des grew, Eileen's interfering ways cost him several girlfriends. Des finally had enough and left their home in Perth when he landed a position as assistant bank manager at the Pacific Bank in Erinsborough.

But soon after, Eileen followed Des to visit and see how he was coping living in Erinsborough. Eileen immediately frowned down upon some of the neighbours on Ramsay Street and took an immediate dislike to Des' housemate, Daphne - primarily due to Daphne's occupation as a stripper. Eileen also feigned illness for the duration of her visit in the hope of extending her stay with Des, but her son saw through the dramatic clutches of the chest that Eileen was prone to indulge in and having had her looked over by the doctor, Eileen was declared to be in full health. But Eileen had decided that she had a responsibility to care for her son and decided to move permanently to Erinsborough. Des, however, was not going to have her move in with him and Daphne, and instead found Eileen a nice unit near Ramsay Street ensuring she could keep an eye on him at all times.

When Andrea Townsend, an ex-girlfriend of Des' from Perth, turned up in Ramsay Street claiming her son Bradley was Des', Eileen was convinced from the outset that Andrea was lying. Eileen returned to Perth where she discovered that Gavin McKinley, another old flame of Andrea's, was in fact the father of Bradley. When Eileen returned to Erinsborough with the news, Des was reluctant to let his mother have her say. He refused to listen to what she had to say and asked her to leave. But Eileen eventually made Des realise that Andrea was only looking for financial stability for her and Bradley and Des conceded that he had been taken for a fool.

As Des and Daphne grew closer, Eileen began to realise that the two were very much in love and accepted Daphne as her daughter-in-law after the two were finally married. Eileen had missed the wedding because she had been out of reach on a cruise for several months and when she arrived back unexpectedly, she walked straight into Des and Daphne’s first night together in their bedroom at No 28. Horrified by what she had witnessed, Eileen was quickly sent packing by Des, but she was back on his doorstep the next morning in need of a place to stay, having arrived back at her unit the previous night to find it had been burgled. Des was determined not to have Eileen interfere in his first few weeks of marriage and decided to whisk Daphne away on a belated honeymoon (he had done his back in on the first night of their original one), leaving Eileen to care for the running of the household and their 16-year-old charge, Mike Young, or ‘Michael’ as Eileen always called him.

Becoming a more regular presence in the neighbourhood, Eileen became integrated into community affairs, lending herself to several charity boards and volunteering her services to Daphne at her new Coffee Shop whenever she was short of staff. Much to the dismay of many of the local residents, Eileen joined the Erinsborough Musical Society and when Clive Gibbons offered to give her lessons at his house on Ramsay Street, Eileen's dulcet tones were to be heard all over the neighbourhood. Eileen's voice suffered a temporary set back after her handbag was stolen one day as she left her unit and Eileen let such a roar out after the mugger that she lost her voice for several days. And she was less than pleased when the mugger, a troubled teenage girl called Kelly Morgan, was taken under Daphne's wing as Daphne tried to help Kelly with her personal problems. Kelly eventually apologised to a stubborn Eileen who eventually, albeit begrudgingly, accepted.

Always keen to help out at the Coffee Shop, Eileen nearly caused the business to collapse when she took over the running while Daphne was ill with meningitis. She nearly lost all the school kids as customers by preventing them from listening to the jukebox and corrected them for slouching around on the chairs. Her actions sparked a protest outside the shop one morning and it was only stopped by Clive paying each student $5.00 to go away. But worse was to follow for the Coffee Shop when Eileen made a batch of salmon mousse and was persistent that all customers try some. But when Neddy, a stray cat she had befriended out the back of the shop, was found dead after she had fed him some of the mousse, Des feared that the salmon had been out of date and suspected an outbreak of food poisoning in Erinsborough as a result of his mother forcing nearly all the customers to eat the mousse. Eileen, however, was adamant that her mousse was not gone off and insisted on continuing to serve it. But when her best friend - and fellow busybody - Nell Mangel was rushed to hospital the day after she had sampled Eileen's mousse, even Eileen feared the worst. However, Eileen was finally vindicated when Des had the vet carry out an autopsy on Neddy and found out the cat had died from natural causes. And further proof of the salmon mousse's innocence came when it was discovered Mrs. Mangel had been taken to hospital with appendicitis.

When Mrs. Mangel read Eileen's tea leaves for her, she told her a younger man was going to enter her life. Nell suggested Eileen dress younger in order to attract a young man, and Eileen ended up making a spectacle of herself dressed in all kinds of outrageous and colourful gear. Eileen then convinced herself that Harold Bishop, who she was running the Coffee Shop with while Daphne was pregnant, was the admirer Nell had foreseen. Eileen subsequently tried various schemes to make Harold notice her in a romantic light, much to the annoyance of Nell who was secretly quite fond of Harold herself. When Eileen succeeded in getting Harold to accept an offer of dinner at her place, Nell's jealousy finally got the better of her and she faked another reading of Eileen's tea leaves in which Nell 'foresaw' Harold as something of a secret womaniser! It convinced Eileen that Harold wasn't the man for her and she ended her pursuit.

The birth of Eileen's first grandchild shortly after brought immense happiness for Eileen. She doted on the baby and virtually moved into Des' in the first few weeks to help the new parents cope. Eileen insisted from the child's birth that he be named Kingsley, an old family name, but Daphne was determined not to christen her son with such a name. An agreement was finally reached between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law when Daphne agreed to the name James (Jamie) Kingsley.

With Daphne at home looking after Jamie, Eileen insisted on continuing to help out at the Coffee Shop but Charlene Robinson, who worked there part-time, was less than pleased to have Eileen telling her what to do all day. But despite Charlene's protests to Harold, he couldn't bring himself to let her go - besides, she was an excellent cook. But Harold, himself, wanted Eileen out when she added ham to Charlene's vegetarian pasta. Strictly Vegetarian, Harold was flabbergasted when he unknowingly ate some of the pasta himself and was furious with Eileen.

When Rosemary Daniels requested a video of the Lassiter’s Complex be filmed to sell the place to the American tourist market, Gail Robinson set about directing and presenting the film and to make things look as natural as possible, opted to use the ordinary staff from each part of the hotel in it. As the staff prepared for their parts, Eileen set about giving them tips on how best to present themselves on camera, evidently seeing herself as something of an expert in the area having been involved so many productions with the musical society. As the cameras started to roll, Gail realised she would have a headache on her hands as Eileen began to ‘accidentally’ wander into the backgrounds of all the shots. Gail quickly had enough of Eileen’s appearances and asked her to stop, but Eileen argued that she was adding authenticity to the film and making the place look busy. Relegated to the Coffee Shop, Eileen was forced to wait for her turn to appear as the final piece of filming was to be done at her place of work. Eileen was disgusted when Gail had the audacity to suggest she run through her lines before they film her piece, reminding her once again of all the live audiences she had effortlessly performed to. However, it seemed Eileen wasn’t the pro she thought she was for when the camera started rolling, Eileen was unable to speak and was frozen with stage fright.

Romance was on the horizon for Eileen soon after in the unlikely form of her ex-husband. Malcolm re-entered Des and Eileen's life after his daughter Sally Wells, from the relationship he had after leaving Eileen, tracked Des down wanting to meet her half-brother. When Malcolm first arrived in Erinsborough, both Eileen and Des were reluctant to see him but as Des began to get to know his father for the first time in his life, Eileen began to see the man she married in Malcolm again. Malcolm succeeded in wooing Eileen all over again as he courted her with bouquets of flowers and romanced her like he had thirty years before. Eileen finally decided to give her marriage to Malcolm another chance and the couple decided to remarry. But Malcolm left Eileen devastated when he left her on the morning of the wedding. Support came for Eileen in the unlikely form of Malcolm's daughter, Sally and the two became quite close. But unable to cope, Eileen turned to tranquillisers in a desperate attempt to forget the awful experience. She became a nervous wreck, but with the love and support of her family and close friends, overcame the addiction.

Then tragedy struck the Clarke household when Daphne was killed in a fatal car accident that had left her in a coma for several weeks. Eileen was so shocked and devastated to lose the girl who had become the daughter she never had that she suffered a nervous breakdown and had to be put into a rest home. When she finally got back on her feet, Des decided she should stay at No. 28 but Malcolm, feeling partly responsible for the part that he had played in Eileen's breakdown, gave her and Sally tickets for a trip to Europe which he had won on a television game show. Eileen accepted the offer of a chance to rest and recuperate in different surroundings and had already been bitten by the travel bug some years before when she had gone on the cruise. She left Ramsay Street with Sally and eventually settled in England where her old friend Nell was later to live too. Eileen found true happiness there at last when she fell in love and married.

21-24, 98-158, 171-691

Magic Moments
Episode 21: Eileen's Arrival
Episode 563: The Lassiter's Video
Episode 691: Eileen's Departure

Biography by Moe