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Character Profiles > Hilary Robinson Anne Scott Pendlebury

Hilary Robinson 1987, 1988-1990, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2023, 2024
Lived: 30 Ramsay Street
Born: c. 1950/'51
Children: Matthew
Family Tree: Robinson
Occupation: Librarian

Sharp-tongued, proud and interfering, Hilary Robinson was brought up in Adelaide where she was best friends with sisters Annette and Beverly Marshall. At the age of 20, Hilary had an affair with travel agent Barry Dwyer, who she fell deeply in love with. Barry, however, was only using Hilary and when she discovered she was pregnant, he fled town. Hilary's old-fashioned and conservative parents forced her to give the child up for adoption, as being a single-mother was an unthinkable prospect for her. And so, when Hilary gave birth to a son, Matthew, he was adopted by the Williams family, close friends of Hilary's family.

The whole experience left Hilary a somewhat bitter and lonely woman, which alienated her from those around her. Seeing Matthew grow up in front of her was so hard for Hilary, that whenever she could, she would visit her cousin Jim in Erinsborough. Although Jim often clashed with Hilary and dreaded a visit from her, he was conscious of the fact that Hilary had been good friends with his late wife Anne, and so he and Anne's mother Helen Daniels, who lived with Jim, tolerated her whenever she visited.

When Hilary came to town for the wedding of Jim's son Scott and Charlene Mitchell, she caused quite a stir for Jim's elder son Paul and his new wife Gail. With Jim's house full to the brim with wedding guests, Hilary had to stay at Paul's house – two doors down at No.22, where she clashed with Gail's brash father Rob Lewis. On the morning of the wedding, Hilary very nearly blew the lid off Ramsay Street's best kept secret – the fact that Paul and Gail were actually only married for business reasons. Hilary was confused when she brought the couple breakfast in bed and Paul emerged from a different bedroom. Paul hurriedly thought of an excuse and told Hilary that he and Gail had moved to the spare room as they had split coffee in their own one the night before. But when Gail then proceeded to emerge from the main bedroom, Hilary was disgusted at being lied to and demanded an explanation. Luckily, Gail explained the situation away as her and Paul having a few words over Rob's treatment of Hilary the previous evening, and Hilary thought no more of it.

When Hilary heard that her friend Beverly was going to Erinsborough for a visit, she decided that Beverly would be a perfect match for Jim. Jim dreaded the idea of being set up, particularly by Hilary but he was pleasantly surprised when he met Beverly in the flesh and they got on surprisingly well. For once, it seemed, Hilary's interfering ways had been helpful and Jim and Beverly eventually married, with a delighted Hilary as matron of honour.

Hilary's next stay in Erinsborough was to be a long one, as she decided to make Ramsay Street her permanent home. Having outstayed her welcome at the Robinson house, particularly by telling Nick Page – a troubled teenager who Helen had taken in – that he wasn't part of the family, Hilary moved into No.30 to look after the house while Edith Chubb was away tending to a sick relative. With the house came Edith's 17-year-old tearaway niece Sharon Davies, who was less than impressed with the prissy Hilary as a custodian. But as they got to know each other better, Hilary came to look on Sharon as a surrogate daughter and they became close.

Hilary was stunned when she received a call from Margaret Williams in Adelaide telling her that Matt had found out that she was his real mother and Hilary rushed back home to deal with the situation. When the time came for her to return to Erinsborough, Matt insisted on accompanying Hilary, as he desperately wanted to make up for lost time. While secretly pleased with his decision, Hilary made Matt retain the surname Williams and tell everyone in Ramsay Street that he was the son of a family friend, as she was unwilling to have the neighbours think badly of her. Matt reluctantly agreed to this and moved into No.30 with Hilary and Sharon, and enrolled at Erinsborough High School, where Hilary had also taken a job as the school librarian. As time went by, Matt kept piling the pressure on Hilary to tell everyone she was his mother but she would not budge. Eventually, Matt delivered Hilary an ultimatum – either she would publicly recognise him as her son or he would return to Adelaide. Determined not to be blackmailed, Hilary refused to give in and Matt made plans to leave. But on the eve of his departure, Hilary had a change of heart and revealed the truth to everyone at Des Clarke and Jane Harris’ engagement party.

Friction developed between Hilary and her next door neighbours Joe and Kerry Mangel when Hilary set up an aviary in her back yard and staunch animal rights activist Kerry decided to let the birds free. Hilary was outraged by Kerry's actions, and pointed out that Kerry had made a grave error as the birds in her aviary would not be able to survive in the wild and would most likely die. The feud between the neighbours took a more dangerous turn when Hilary noticed some of the released birds up in her guttering and climbed up a ladder to get them back. But the ladder went from under her and Hilary fell to the ground. Sharon's older sister Bronwyn found her unconscious and she was rushed to hospital, where it was feared Hilary would be paralysed. But she regained the feeling in her legs whilst a guilt-ridden Joe and Kerry were visiting her in the hospital, and Hilary resolved to try and get along better with her neighbours from that point on.

Meanwhile, the mother-son relationship between Hilary and Matt didn't always run smoothly either. Matt was furious with Hilary when she enrolled him in summer school without even consulting him, and he, in turn, upset her by opting to spend the holidays in Adelaide with his adoptive parents instead. What upset her most was that she found out about his plans from Helen, and when she finally confronted him about it, Hilary revealed that she had hoped for a special Christmas together with him since it would have been their first together.

After years of solitude in the romance department, Hilary fell in love with Erinsborough High's principal Kenneth Muir, much to the chagrin of Matt and Sharon, who weren't overly keen on Mr. Muir being a regular visitor to their home. They soon became engaged, but their relationship came to an abrupt halt when Kenneth discovered Hilary was refusing to pay her tax bills and announced he couldn't marry someone who shared different view points to him. Unable to face the public humiliation of a broken engagement, Hilary decided to pack up and leave Ramsay Street and return to Adelaide. But her decision was not a welcome one from Paul's point of view as Hilary's withdrawal of funds from his company The Robinson Corporation, which she had recently invested in, would ruin the planned development of a night club he was involved in. Her announcement that she wanted her investment back so that she could buy a property in Adelaide infuriated Paul and he pleaded with her to stay in Erinsborough. Matt was also against his mum's decision to leave, but didn't have the heart to tell her he didn't want to go with her. He had recently fallen for runaway Lee Maloney, who Hilary reluctantly let stay at No.30 and didn't want to be parted from her. Hilary gradually guessed for herself that he wasn't joining her, but was upset that it took him so long to build up the courage to tell her of his decision.

As the day of her departure arrived, Hilary felt very much alone – particularly when she arrived for her going-away get together at the Ramsay house and the only person there was Helen. Jim and Beverly eventually showed up, having been delayed at a game of golf, and Hilary felt a lot better. And she was especially pleased when Kenneth turned up and admitted he didn't want her to leave town without saying a final goodbye to her. Hilary softened considerably at the sight of the man she had planned to marry, and she was thrilled when they agreed to remain friends and Kenneth even expressed an interest in visiting her in Adelaide. But the saddest goodbye for Hilary was the one she had to share with Matt. She broke down and apologised to him for being such a bad mother, but Matt assured her that she was very special to him – and he valued the time they had spent getting to know each other properly. Hilary then drove off, leaving Erinsborough behind for her fresh start back in Adelaide, where she was eventually joined by her beloved Matthew some months later.

By 2014, Hilary was alone in Adelaide, after a falling out with her daughter-in-law, who, along with Matt, had moved to Perth. Rather than stay in Adelaide, Hilary decided to move back to her old home of Erinsborough and into a retirement village. After six months with no contact from Paul - who by now was Mayor of Erinsborough - she decided to take matters into her own hands, as he continued to cut funding for the elderly people in the neighbourhood, the final straw coming when he ended their minibus service. With the Erinsborough Festival approaching, Hilary and her friend Janice came for their flu jabs, making it clear to anyone that would listen that they were discussed with Mayor Robinson's cost-cutting measures, pointing out that they now had no transportation to bring them to Paul's precious festival. Meanwhile, looking to improve his public image following a negative editorial in the local newspaper, Paul arranged for a journalist to come and see the photo exhibition at the community centre, showcasing the many colourful characters who'd lived in Erinsborough over the years. Unfortunately for Paul, Hilary was waiting in the wings to give the journalist a quote about the damage Paul was doing to the senior citizens in the community and he was forced to act quickly, dragging her off back to his apartment before she could do too much damage.

Hilary was then delighted to meet Daniel, Scott and Charlene's son who was living with Paul and was only too happy to chat to her. However, when Daniel had to leave, Paul grew increasingly frustrated with her presence, soon realising that she was in no hurry to leave, until he discussed her grievances. When Hilary pointed out that not only would a sizeable donation get rid of her, it would also get him an increase in senior votes, Paul finally handed over a cheque. Desperate to get rid of her as quickly as possible, he then called on Harold, who was also back in town for the festival, to give a triumphant Hilary a lift home.

A couple of months later, Hilary returned to see Paul, this time with information about his long-lost daughter, Amy Williams. Paul had recently been diagnosed with leukaemia, a diagnosis that had turned out to be fake, and a desperate attempt by oncologist Nick Petrides to persuade Paul to open a cancer research centre in Erinsborough. Believing that he was dying, he had started thinking about his children and particularly Amy, who he hadn't seen in over 20 years. He had asked his P.A. Naomi Canning to try and track her down, and Naomi had gone to Hilary to see if she knew anything. By the time Hilary arrived, with Amy's last known address in Mt. Merrion, New South Wales, Paul had changed his mind about getting back in contact, deciding that the past was better left buried. Hilary, however, wasn't about to leave it at that, and she decided that she was going to track down Amy herself, effectively blackmailing Naomi into letting her take on ownership of Paul's dog, Bouncer 2, explaining that her pet canaries had recently died and she missed the companionship - plus the large retirement village would be much more suitable for the dog. Hilary then left once more, again taking something of Paul's with her, but she did warn him to think before he gave up on the idea of finding Amy, as he might end up regretting it one day.

Later in the year, Hilary was back again, this time as the representative for the Local Pensioners' Association. Paul had been plotting to make a killing on the property surrounding Erinsborough High, which was being bought out as a campus of Eden Hills Grammar School, and had to persuade the people of Erinsborough that his Freestyle housing project would be of benefit to them. Hilary was far from convinced that the area needed expensive housing, or that it would be a good idea to have so many local teenagers unable to complete their education in Erinsborough, but she also had a personal issue with Paul - he'd been in contact with Amy and her son Jimmy for a number of months, but hadn't introduced them to her. Sensing that Paul was failing to convince Hilary, his bodyguard Aaron Brennan suggested that he go and collect Daniel, Amy and Jimmy, so that they could all have a family lunch. Hilary was delighted with the idea, and softened towards Paul's plans, agreeing, as she left after lunch, to put his arguments to the Pensioners' Association.

Unfortunately, Paul's involvement in Freestyle proved to be his undoing, and he found himself losing everything, and facing police questions over bribing Councillor Sue Parker to rush through the development. Determined to get back on his feet as quickly as possible, Paul hit upon the idea of starting a gazebo business with Amy, and sought out potential investors, including Hilary. She was quick to point out that his name was now ruined in the local area, and explained that she had just booked a 12-day cruise around Tasmania, but offered him $50, saying that Amy didn't deserve to have her name dragged through the mud along with his. Paul's gazebo business quickly failed, and Hilary returned a few weeks later to get her $50 back, explaining that she'd taken advice from law student Imogen Willis. Paul pointed out that the $50 was an investment, and she'd lost it when the business folded, but she was determined to get it back. Daniel, grabbing the opportunity to go head-to-head with ex-girlfriend Imogen, used the contract to prove that Hilary wasn't entitled to a refund, but she refused to back down, so Daniel offered to treat her to a night out instead. Though Imogen still felt that it wasn't good enough, Hilary was delighted to accept. A few weeks later, whilst returning from one of her days out with Daniel, Hilary was introduced to Doug Willis and his family at Harold's Cafe. Doug was suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, and his condition was worsening, so his loved ones felt that it was time to start looking at putting him into a home. As Hilary told them about the home where she was living, Doug grew increasingly irritated, and as his grandson Josh then started to reel off some of the home's extra activities, Doug finally snapped and told Hilary what he thought of her. When Doug's son Brad then tried to call Hilary to apologise and arrange a visit, he was told that Doug had been blacklisted - something that Josh had been plotting all along, as he knew that his grandfather hated the idea of going into a home and was only going along with it as he didn't want to become a burden.

A couple of weeks later, Hilary turned up at the home of Sonya Rebecchi - Erinsborough's new Mayor - to point out that the council had given too much money to the Pensioners' Association. Already being pestered by school principal Susan Kennedy to put more money into the high school, as they needed a new classroom assistant programme, Sonya diverted the funds to the school, giving Susan the news during the council meeting that afternoon. Susan was delighted - until she was told that Hilary was being put in charge of the programme. A couple of weeks later, Hilary was one of many Erinsborough residents present at Lassiter's Hotel for the Erinsborough Citizen of the Year Award, when the boiler exploded, causing death and destruction. Though unharmed, Hilary was badly shaken by what happened and had to be helped by both Tyler Brennan and Ned Willis as she made her way to safety.

It was more than 18 months before Hilary was interfering in Paul's life again. Having spent some time in Adelaide with Matt 'sorting out his problems', she came back to find Paul now part-owner of Lassiters again, and engaged to a much younger woman named Courtney Grixti. As well as this, Paul had found out that he was the father to two more children, twins Leo and David, the result of a brief fling with Kim Taylor in the 1980s. With Courtney attempting to impress Paul with her business skills, she had arranged a silent disco to bring in new customers to the complex, but it proved to be a dud - until Paul got in touch with Hilary and arranged for her to bring along some of the residents from the retirement village. The plan proved to be a success, but Hilary was more interested in pestering Susan's niece Elly Conway, wanting to know why her job at the high school hadn't been kept open in her absence. A few weeks later, Amy used Hilary to prove a point to Paul, who was continuing to flash his wealth around town, planning a new housing development named Robinson Heights. Amy was unimpressed when Paul announced to the press that she was heading up the project, knowing that she was undecided about it. As Paul had also moved Leo and David into the penthouse without consulting them, his kids decided to teach him a lesson. After Paul was unfazed when they told him that they were getting some kittens for the penthouse, Amy then brought in Hilary and her suitcases, explaining that, as family was so important to Paul, she'd be coming to live with them. Quickly realising what Amy, Leo and David were up to, Paul went along with it, barely flinching when they said that Hilary would be taking over Paul's master bedroom. However, the final straw came for Paul when it looked like Leo had started organising his life for him, cancelling his meetings for the next 48 hours. Amy explained to her furious father that he might now understand the way he sometimes made his kids feel powerless, and Paul accepted that he'd gone too far.

With Robinson Heights underway, Paul found himself in trouble when it came out that the people who'd been developing the land before him had treated the elderly residents very badly when buying up their properties. Paul had attempted to stop the matter from becoming public, agreeing with Amy's suggestion to offer them a cut of the profits from Robinson Heights, to make up for the amount they'd been underpaid. Paul agreed to this, but it wasn't long before the truth was leaked to the press, thanks to Rafael Humphreys, a mysterious Englishman who'd arrived in town and grown close to David, who was actually looking for revenge on Paul, blaming him for the death of his mother in a factory fire in Brazil years earlier. As Paul and Leo attempted to try and stop the bad publicity from destroying Robinson Heights, they put on a press conference with Hilary as spokesperson, in which she explained that the housing development would now include a club house at its heart, and that the elderly residents who'd been conned could become shareholders and make some money from it. The idea seemed to go down well, and Paul thanked Hilary for her help, though she told him that she'd only agreed in return for gold key access to the new club house.

A few years later, Paul decided that Hilary would be the perfect person, when his ex-wife Terese needed advice on building a new retirement experience in Erinsborough. Paul collected Hilary and brought her to The Waterhole, where, following some initial disappointment about the lack of cake, she listened to Terese’s ideas. Things seemed to be going well, until Erinsborough High principal Jane walked into the bar and told Hilary that Terese was planning to build on the site of the school, which was being threatened with closure. Hilary, a former employee of the school, was horrified to hear this, immediately telling Terese that she wanted Paul to come and take her home.

Several months later, the decision had been made to keep the school open, but for it to be downsized and to share the grounds with Terese's project, Eirini Rising. Hilary then decided to buy one of the final apartments and visited with Paul, where he was confronted by Terese. She'd grown tired of him trying to win her back and finding excuses to spend time with her and angrily suggested that he was using Hilary - his 'poor relative' - to get close to her. Paul then pointed out that Hilary had taken the decision herself and he'd only found out that morning and Terese was forced to apologise to both of them for any offence caused. When Eirini Rising's grand opening took place the following day, Hilary was again offended as she was the only resident who hadn't been given a complimentary bottle of Pinot Noir from Leo's vineyard. She explained that she had no intention of drinking it, but was going to re-gift it to her son.

However, it turned out that Hilary was lucky not to receive her wine, as a mysterious person had injected poison into it at the vineyard and young Dex Varga-Murphy, who'd taken the bottle and drunk some himself, ended up seriously ill in hospital. Hilary's first few weeks at Eirini Rising didn't improve much, as she constantly found problems, leaving sticky notes for Terese and operations manager Susan in their office. When items, including five of Hilary's left shoes, started being stolen from residents, she was left further annoyed and decided that she was going to run for the role of residents' representative as a means of bridging the gap between the senior citizens and management.

Trivia Notes
• Anne Scott-Pendlebury returned to Neighbours in 1996 (in voice only) as Leslie Cornwall, the mother of Karl Kennedy's recently deceased patient, Kate
• In 2005, Hilary made a cameo appearance in Annalise's 20th Anniversary Documentary
• Initially a guest character, Hilary Robinson became a regular presence on Ramsay Street between 1988 and 1989, returning for guest appearances in the 20th anniversary documentary in 2005, and again for the 30th anniversary episodes in 2015. She then continued to make appearances as a recurring character between 2015 and 2018, returning again in 2023

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Magic Moments
Episode 1148: Hilary's Departure

Biography by Moe