Matilda Harriet Jane Hunter (2004-)
Episodes: 3658 – 4689
Parents: Beth Hunter and Jack Hunter (deceased), Rhys Sutherland (stepfather)
Siblings: Scott Hunter, Kit Hunter, Robbie Hunter and Henry Hunter (twin). Dani Sutherland, Kirsty Sutherland and Jade Sutherland (stepsisters)
Matilda, and her twin brother Henry were brought to the bay in early 2004 as their mother took them out of boarding school to save money after she and Rhys had bought the caravan park. Matilda initially spoke French, was inconsiderate towards the Sutherland’s who had just got stuck down a mineshaft and was constantly having a go at Max, along with her brother Henry.
Despite her initial protestations, Matilda had to come to terms that she was going to be staying where she was and that things weren’t going to change. When she was electrocuted by Robbie’s mosquito catcher, she spent a few days in hospital and upon her release, along with Henry, tried to scam people out of their money by pretending that she could tell the future.
She also fell for Kim, who was about six years older than him and whilst trying to impress him at the beach she got caught in a rip. Kim, initially thought that she was just showing off and left her to drown, until the seriousness of the situation was realised and she was eventually saved and had to spend another few days in hospital. Kim told her that he had no feelings for leaving Matilda heartbroken.
Max had began to fall for Matilda, and together with Henry they did their best to keep Rhys and Beth together as their marraigfe began to fall apart. Unfortunately for them and Michael Berkley, they were unsuccessful, and Rhys left the bay and Matilda was left in a suddenly very empty Summer Bay House with just her two brothers and her mum and they decided to sell.
Matilda pestered Barry Hyde to run self-defence classes at the school as a result of recent dramas in the bay and Barry eventually relented. When her sister Kit returned to the bay, Matilda overheard Kim talking to Robbie about liking one of his sister. Matilda began to think that Kim was finally falling for her and was left heartbroken when it was revealed that it was actually Kit that he wanted. Nevertheless, Matilda got to put her self defence classes to good use with an astonishingly bad stunt in the surf club.
In 2005 during the bush fires Matilda and Henry went out bush-walking, where they came across the charred remains of a body, which later turned out to be those of Zoe McAllister’s (that’s the real one and not the fake one). This gave Matilda a real jolt and helped her mature a lot.
She also became very friendly with Henry’s arch-nemesis Ric Dalby and wanted their friendship to go further, but he turned down her advances and eventually ended up going out with Cassie, a newcomer to the bay who Matilda had come to the bay with.
Soon after another new kid came to Summer Bay High named Diesel and Matilda fell for him too. He too spurned her advances, much more interested in Sally Fletcher. Matilda began to feel like no boys wanted her and went on a rebellious phase, sneaking off and drinking at rock concerts and going to wild parties. She was hit by Robbie’s car on one of these occasions and a spent a week in hospital. She then sneaked out and went off to another party where she again lost control of herself and was picked up by stranger and put in a shed. She escaped eventually, shaken and her behaviour began to return to normal.
A month or two later, the new Holden family moved in next door and conveniently the youngest son Lucas was the same age as Matilda. They ended up playing the lead roles in Colleen’s pantomine and whilst rehearsing for this they fell for each other. However whenever they went to kiss one another, fate always got in their way and they shared their first kiss in front of the bay on stage.
Matilda and Lucas then enjoyed a relatively steady relationship, even taking into account they both nearly blinded Amanda with a paint bomb. Matilda then had to cope with the death of grandfather. With Project 56 going ahead, Beth and Tony decided that instead of two houses they would be better off living in just the one and soon Matilda was living with her boyfriend Lucas.
However Lucas didn’t take well to living with women again after years living solely with his father and brother and went off the rails to such an extent that he and Matilda broke up. It didn’t help that Matilda thought that Lucas was seeing Lee Morton behind her back.
Matilda was picked as one of Martha’s bridesmaids, though questions must be asked why. However when Eve blew the reception up, Matilda was one of the worst injured ending up with hideous burns to her neck which she reacted badly to.
She began pigging out on cakes from the diner, before being sick in secret and friends Lucas and Cassie began to suspect that somethign was wrong. It took Matilda to collapse and be taken to hospital for Cassie to tell Beth what was wrong. Rachel suggested that Matilda go to a retreat for people that had the same self image problems that Matilda was suffering from, and Matilda agreed to go.
There she became friends with a guy named Dean who she, over time, started a relationship. Lucas began to suspect that something was up with Dean and his suspicions came true when he spotted Dean hugging Gareth at a secluded spot, again leaving Matilda devastated.
Matilda’s next relationship was with Ric, who she started going out with much against Beth’s wishes feeling that Ric was too old for Matilda. This lead to Matilda lying, so that she was able to spend a night with Ric on the Blaxland. Unfortunately Matilda, Colleen had seen Matilda leaving in the morning and the news soon filtered back to Beth, who was on the warpath.
Matilda’s relationship with Ric continued to go well and she supported him as he was wrongly imprisoned for the murder of Rocco. With the help of Lucas she devised an elaborate plan to trap Johnny which worked and Ric was released from Prison. She and Ric sealed their relationship by sleeping together, Matilda’s first time, not long after.
With Matilda’s mother Beth off travelling the world, Matilda supported her sister Kit through her pregnancy. She was in the hospital with her new nephew just after Kit gave birth, only for Tony to arrive and announce that Beth was dead, the only fatality in a major car crash. The aftermath of Beth’s death was a quiet time for Matilda.
Her relationship with Ric seemed to be stronger than ever but when her sister Kit left town she was left feeling increasingly lonely in Summer Bay. She began spending time with Emma, a girl from school and some boys she had been hanging around with and put distance between herself, Ric and Cassie. She held a party at The Caravan Park House but things got out of hand and Ric asked Matilda’s friends to leave and Matilda took their side.
When her friends returned and trashed the house Mattie decided to leave town with them. Ric and Tony both went after her but failed to convince her to return home. After Ric was missing in a storm Cassie also attempted to bring Matilda home but it took the realisation that Rueben had lied to her before Matilda finally headed back to Summer Bay and reunited with Ric.
They talked briefly about moving in together but when Sally and Brad refused to let her move into The Caravan Park she moved in with Martha. Her and Martha proved to be completely incompatible and after a few months she decided to move back home. Ric was gutted to discover that Matilda had been looking at universities away from home and after a romantic gesture of a scooter, they had a heart to heart and Ric was talked into the idea of going with her.
Matilda began stressing in the run up to exams and almost messed up her mocks by cheating to cover from Emma who was pregnant. When Sally found out her reasons why she was supportive but with Matilda’s grades not even a pass, she was more on edge than ever going into her first real exam. She ran out of the exam and later made the decision to resit the year, leaving Ric, who had his heart set on a new life in the city, gutted.
She began to get suspicious as he received texts from a mysterious woman, revealed to be Viv, a customer from the garage. She was further upset when despite his protests, he continued to spend time with her and help her out with things. She gave him an ultimatum not to see her any more and he agreed but she later saw them kissing on the beach. He arranged for a hotel room in The Sands to apologise to her but when they arrived at the room she saw a card welcoming ‘Mr and Mrs Anderson’ and raced out, furious that Viv had paid for a romantic gesture that she believed, had come from Ric.
With plans in full swing for her formal Matilda and Ric seemed to be back on track but he arrived late and when she realised he’d been with Viv, she dumped him. After a heart to heart the next day they made up but when Viv let it slip that she and Ric had slept together, they broke up again. She agreed to attend a party with Aden’s cousin Simon and Cassie turned up to apologise for not telling her about Ric and Viv.
When Matilda decided she wanted to go home she blackmailed Cassie into driving them, despite the fact she’d been drinking. When Aden waved a joint in Cassie’s face, distracting her, the car crashed and the rest of the boys fled leaving Aden seriously injured and Cassie arrested for drink driving. Matilda continued to spend time with Simon and after a run in with Ric, slept with him. When Simon prepared to give evidence against Cassie at her trial, Matilda managed to talk him out of it and Cassie was let off. At Jack and Sam’s wedding she overheard Ric talking to Lucas about Viv being pregnant.
When Cassie was diagnosed with HIV she and Ric agreed to put aside their differences to support her and Matilda returned to school to repeat Year Twelve. When Dan died it ignited a lot of memories of her mother’s death and she and Ric held hands throughout the memorial before deciding to reunite after it.
However, their joy was short-lived as Johnny Cooper was lurking at the Hunter/Holden house and tied Matilda up before attacking Ric. Luckily Sam saved the day by hitting Johnny over the head with a cricket bat. The experience brought Matilda and Ric closer together and they decided to live together at the Caravan Park house.
Soon after, Matilda’s good friend Cassie left the bay. As a final farewell the two of them set off on a road trip as they both realised that they were going to really miss each other. A few days later Matilda said goodbye to Cassie and flew back to the bay.
When Noel Anderson wanted Ric to fight for big money, Matilda urged him to reject the offer. Despite this, it was too tempting for Ric and he decided to go ahead with the fight telling Matilda he was going to the city to see Drew. However, Ric couldn’t hide the truth for long and Matilda found out. They agreed to be truthful from that point onwards so they decided to deal with the Noel situation together. Ric talked Matilda into letting him have one more fight to get Noel off his back. Matilda insisted on going too and asked Jazz along for company. On the night of the fight Ric was very ill so the fight didn’t last long before he collapsed. Jazz and Matilda took him to hospital and after that they agreed no more fights. However, later that night a pregnant Viv turned up looking for Ric. It seemed there were complications with the baby. Matilda decided to support Ric, Viv and the baby which earned praise from Alf and Martha about putting up with everything that Ric had done.
Soon after it was the one year anniversary of Beth’s death so Matilda marked the occasion by going to the memorial site with Ric, Tony and Rachel to remember Beth. Tony told her she was strong like Beth and can get through anything but she said she is not feeling very strong. Later Matilda gave Tony and Rachel’s relationship her blessing, which Tony is very relieved about.
Noel used the baby to blackmail Ric into fighting again so Matilda agreed to the fight as long as they told the police to bust Noel and his gang once and for all. On the night of the fight Matilda was terrified something would happen to Ric and it seemed that her fears were realised when the raid was cancelled. Despite this, Jack and Fitzy arrived in time and everything worked out fine and Noel was arrested. Viv continued to have problems with the baby but Ric and Matilda resolved to support her and save the baby’s life. They also agreed to have Viv stay with them but Viv soon disappeared, leaving note saying it was for the best.
Matilda received a letter from the West Australian university that she was looking to get into last year saying they wanted to interview her in the next few days. However, before Matilda could tell Ric the news, Viv came back to tell Ric that their baby had died. Matilda came up with the idea of holding a memorial service for the unborn child and they threw rose petals from the wharf, after Matilda read out a moving verse.
When Jai moved into the caravan park house, Matilda was the first one he bonded with and despite an argument about Jai’s pier stunt, Jai continued to try and be friends with Matilda. However, he accidentally let slip about the Perth Uni offer to Ric. He wasn’t happy that she had kept it a secret but she decided to go to the interview anyway.
Jai then asked Matilda to tutor him, as he said his marks were down, but this was just an attempt to spend more time with her. Ric, still reeling from the robbery and being held at gunpoint, was not happy about the time they were spending together and snapped at Jai. However, other people began to suspect that Jai had a crush on Matilda and when Ric caught him going through Matilda’s things he was very angry. In the end it turned out that Jai was interested in Matilda because she reminded him of his mum and he really missed her.
Matilda continued to support Ric through the aftermath of the robbery and when he started having panic attacks she urged him to get help.
Ric was then offered a partnership in the bait shop, but at the same time Matilda was offered a place at Uni in Perth to study Law. Matilda wanted Ric to go with her to Perth but Ric wanted to stay and make a go of the business. The couple were torn about what to do and neither was prepared to give up their dream. Matilda eventually lost her temper with Ric and told him it was always about what he wanted and that she was going to Perth with or without him.
They tried to look at every scenario, but nothing seemed workable, so they decided on a clean break and Matilda moved out. Despite a brief reconciliation, that they decided shouldn’t have happened, they continued to go their separate ways.
At Matilda’s leaving party she spent time saying goodbye to her nearest and dearest; Belle, Irene, Tony and Alf. But there was one absentee from the party, Ric, who was locked in the bait shop. When he escaped he discovered that Matilda had already left for the station with Belle.
In Perth Matilda seemed to be getting on with her life and was making new friends like Daisy, her roommate, and Nathan, the student Residential Advisor. However she couldn’t get Ric out of her mind and, when he called to talk to her, they both admitted they missed each other.
Meanwhile back in Summer Bay, Alf decided to do something about the situation so fired Ric and bought him a plane ticket to Perth. Ric then arrived at Matilda’s door in Perth but was shocked to find Nathan in her bed. Despite her protests of innocence, Ric left.
Daisy then tried to get the pair back together by talking to Ric and telling Matilda that he was there for good and not a holiday. Matilda then set out to find Ric so called his mobile. They soon realised that they were not too far away from each other and continued their conversation in the middle of the Uni grounds. They both admitted that they had tried to live without each other and it didn’t work so they had to be together no matter what. They sealed their reunion with a kiss.
Later, in Matilda and Ric’s final scene, we saw them run in to Matilda’s room to get out of the rain, turn the lights off and kiss before closing the curtains on this chapter of their lives.