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Character Profiles > Hilary Robinson Anne Scott Pendlebury

Hilary Robinson 1987, 1988-1990, 2015
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.

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

519-523, 661-663, 861-1148, 4773, 7068-7069

Magic Moments
Episode 1148: Hilary's Departure

Biography by Moe