H&a ailsa 1988

Judy Nunn as Ailsa in early 1988, then known as Ailsa Hogan, later Stewart

Ailsa Stewart, formerly Hogan (nee O'Rourke) [1] was a character in Home And Away from January 1988 (Pilot Episode) to November 2000 (Ep 2960). She was one of the original matriarchs of the show. She wed Alf Stewart in May 1988 (Ep 86) and they remained married until her sudden death of a heart attack in 2000. Ailsa had given birth to their son Duncan in 1989. Ailsa was played by Judy Nunn, and also by Nancye Hayes from Ep 2848 (7 Jun 2000) to Ep 2868 (5 Jul 2000) as Judy Nunn was in hospital.


Ailsa Stewart
Character Profile
Birthday: 14 September 1950 - 24 November 2000 (age 50)
Birthplace: Australia
Father: Harold O'Rourke
Mother: Mrs O'Rourke
Siblings: Bridget O'Rourke
Tony O'Rourke
Spouse: Alf Stewart (1988-2000)
Children: Duncan Stewart (1989)
Occupation: Shopkeeper
Diner owner
Played By: Judy Nunn (1988-2000)
Nancye Hayes (2000)


Ailsa O'Rourke was born to Harold O'Rourke and his wife, Ailsa being of Irish descent through her father. Ailsa's mother was of Scottish ancestry. She was one of 3 children, a brother Tony O'Rourke and a sister Bridget O'Rourke later Jackson. Ailsa's dad was a heavy drinker and used to beat his wife and children up when drunk. One night in 1968 Harold was attacking his wife with a broken bottle and Ailsa got a carving knife and stabbed him. She was sent to prison for 3 years for manslaughter. She was released in 1971/1972. By then Bridget had left home and had a daughter Emma. Bridget later married a man called Barry Jackson and for years Ailsa was unaware her sister had a daughter.


Ailsa nh

Ailsa in 2000, played by Nancye Hayes.

In January 1988, Ailsa was now 37 and was friendly with Alf Stewart. She was quite feisty and took no nonsense from Alf. Alf's daughter Roo took a dislike to Ailsa and suspected that Ailsa had something to hide about her past. Alf and Ailsa married in May 1988. Ailsa took a dislike to the Macklin family, who were ruthless business people. Brett Macklin and Ailsa crossed swords. In August 1988, Alf and Ailsa had a row and he said he had better watch his back in case he gets a knife in it if he annoys her. Ailsa was deeply offended by this and left Alf, she went to stay in Sydney. Alf and Ailsa soon reconciled but she became close to an old friend Graham Lynch while in Sydney. Ailsa found that she was pregnant and her and Alf had a son Duncan Stewart in January 1989.

In 1989, Ailsa and Alf took in Ailsa's wayward niece Emma Jackson.

In May 1995 (Ep 1699), Ailsa had to see off a difficult customer in The Diner. That night, she was locking up and turned all the lights off when she was pounced upon by the customer who attacked her and emptied the cash till. He then fled, never to be seen again. Alf found Ailsa sat by the counter in sheer shock. Ailsa had a breakdown and spent days at home in a bath robe. Ailsa then took 6 year old anti depressants and started having hallucinations, one was of Bobby coming out of the fridge (Ep 1709 and Ep 1710). Ailsa soon got over her ordeal.

In late 2000 (Ep 2960), Ailsa was helping move boxes after the Diner changed premises and she suffered a massive heart attack and died.

Her funeral took place in January 2001 (Ep 2961). Many Summer Bay residents gathered for her funeral but very few relatives apart from husband Alf, son Duncan and daughter Shauna. However, her brother Tony, sister Bridget and niece Emma did not attend her funeral. Ailsa's ashes were scattered at sea off the coast of Summer Bay.


Memorable infoEdit

Date of birth: 14 September 1950

Died: 24th November 2000 (aged 50) (heart attack, cardio)

Full Name: Ailsa Stewart (Nee O'Rourke)

First Line: "Just practising my routine for the variety night." (to Doris Peters)

Last Line: Yeah (to Alf, after he suggests she takes a relaxing bath after work)

In a continuity error, in 2000, Ailsa said she was in prison 20 (or thereabouts) years ago when she was raped by a prison warder. This makes her pregnancy around 1979/1980 yet in 1988 She said she was sent to prison aged 16 and given 3 years. Ailsa was born in 1950 so would have been in prison from 1968/1969 to 1971/1972. Shauna Bradley was born about 1979 or 1980.

Bevan Lee, H&A scriptwriter and series script editor apparently named Ailsa after Ailsa Piper, his friend, an actress who later starred in, yes, that Ramsay Street soap as Ruth Wilkinson.


Father Harold O'Rourke

Mother Mrs O'Rourke

Siblings Tony O'Rourke, Bridget Jackson

Spouse Alf Stewart (1988-2000)

Children Shauna Bradley (1979), Duncan Stewart (1986)

Nieces/Nephews Emma Jackson

See also Edit