Elizabeth Ann Hunter/Sutherland (2003-2007)
Parents: Graham Walters (deceased)
Step Parents: Amanda Vale (former)
Step Siblings: Belle Taylor (deceased) & Ryan Baker (both former)
Marital Status: Jack Hunter (deceased); Rhys Sutherland (2004, divorced)
Children: Scott, Kit, Robbie, Henry & Matilda Hunter
Step Children: Dani, Kirsty & Jade Sutherland (former)
Occupation: School Secretary; Caravan Park Manager; part owner of Noah’s Bar.
Beth’s first appearance was when her son Scott took her as his date to the fund raising dance for Scott’s boatshed. This was the first time that she had met Rhys, who Dani had taken along as her date. She talked about how she had left university when she was younger to marry her late husband Jack and to look after the kids.
She was understandably taken aback when Alf announced Scott and Dani’s engagement. However Colleen and Alf had simply got their wires crossed and the situation blew over. Rhys and Beth got friendly and soon enjoyed a dance together, only to have it interrupted by Angie crashing the dance, where she then ripped into Rhys.
After that point, Beth did not appear for a few weeks until she came around looking for Scott. As she did so, she asked Rhys if he wanted to grab a coffee. In the Beachside Diner, they talked about the dinner dance and Rhys brought up the fact that he had asked Beth out on a date. A few days later, Rhys kept his promise and took her out for dinner, but on the way they were lucky to avoid hitting a motorcyclist. When they rushed over to see who the motorcyclist was, they found it to be Kit, Beth’s daughter, who had stolen Noah’s bike.
Kit, struggling with alcoholism at that point in time and Beth, along with Scott, Noah and Maureen, a social worker, (and Colleens daughter), decided that she should go on a course of tough love in an attempt to wean her off the alcohol. After numerous setbacks, Kit was sent away to a camp in attempt to get her off alcohol.
During this period of time Rhys and Beth began to become closer and eventually they started a relationship. When Rhys needed to head off to the city for Dylan’s trial for the murder of Angela Russell, Beth was left to look after the kids and when he returned it was decided that she should stay permanently, with Max being incredibly fond of his new “aunt”.
Beth’s relationship with Rhys was vastly different from that which he had had with Shelley. Beth was a much warmer and more intuitive character who supported Rhys rather than criticise him when things got tough. When crises arose Beth was the voice of reason that helped steer Rhys through. Rhys was a bit of a hot head who did not always think things through but Beth was able to help him do this, and to mend fences between Rhys and his children.
Beth was instrumental in ensuring that Kirsty’s voice was heard and was extremely supportive of Kirsty and Kane. Along with Irene and Alf, Beth could see the Kane loved Kirsty and that there was more to Kane than one dark deed.
Beth’s relationship with her own children was a troubled one at times. Kit had reacted badly to the death of her father and turned to drink. Although Beth was always there for her, Kit needed Rhys and others not so close, to help her through. This was hard for Beth to accept as she could be an over protective Mum at times.
Beth and Rhys sprung a surprise wedding upon the rest of the family. They took them all out for a family picnic on a boat; Beth disappeared below deck and the reappeared in a wedding dress. Kirsty and Kane missed the big day and were exchanging their own wedding vows at exactly the same time.
Scott was targeted, as Dani’s boyfriend by the psychotic Felix and Sarah. Sarah dressed as a policewoman arrived to tell Dani that Scott has been drowned. Beth’s anguish was palpable. It turned out though that Scott was not dead and Beth and the family were overjoyed.
For some time Beth and Rhys were really happy. Rhys became a much calmer and more likeable character under Beth’s tutelage and we saw more to him than the huffing and puffing that had been his trade mark prior to this. However, when Kirsty needed a kidney transplant Shelley reappeared in their lives and things went pear shaped.
Rhys slowly realised he would always love Shelley more and found himself torn. The couple attended counselling. He told Beth he loved her and would honour their wedding vows but when pushed admitted his love for Shelley. Beth said she was willing to be his wife but not his jailor. The break up of their marriage was painful to watch. Two people who cared for each other but who could no longer be together. Rhys left the Bay to be with Shelley.
Their marital home was sold to Sally, and Beth and her brood bought Sally’s house. Beth told the world she was now Beth Hunter, and no longer Beth Sutherland.
Beth had to cope with quite a lot in the way of her kids being disturbed, believed missing or dead. Kit passed out unconscious on the grog; Robbie believing he could have contracted AIDs from a dirty needle in the bush; Scott being missing at sea; Matilda being abducted by a passing stranger; Matilda’s burns; Robbie and Kit being lost in the chopper crash, and of course Matilda’s eating disorder.
After her divorce Beth bought into Noah’s bar and went into business with Alf.
When Dan’s devious ex-wife Amanda Vale arrived in town and started a relationship with Beth’s son Scott, she and Beth instantly locked horns. They clashed over everything and anything and when Scott began to fall back in love with his ex-girlfriend Hayley, Beth was quick to encourage him. When Amanda said she was pregnant Beth agreed to back down as Scott agreed to support Amanda but when she was later revealed to be a liar, Beth was delighted to see Scott ditch Amanda and return to his true love Hayley.
When Tony Holden moved into the house next door to Beth it became obvious pretty quickly that these two were going to get together and after a few false starts they eventually sealed their new relationship with a kiss before agreeing to take things slow.
A few months down the line when as part of Project 56 Mayor Josh West issued eviction orders on both Tony and Beth, they decided to join forces and rather than buy separate places, buy one house and move their families in together. When Project 56 collapsed they decided to still go ahead with their plan and Tony and Lucas moved in with The Hunters.
A surprise was in store for Beth when her father Graham arrived in town announcing he had sold his farm. Almost immediately he hooked up with Beth’s arch nemesis Amanda, much to the disgust of Beth who rightfully believed Amanda only wanted him for his money. With Beth and Amanda locking horns it wasn’t long before the strain and that of his younger wife became too much for Graham and he suffered a heart attack. In hospital he awoke briefly to make up with Beth and tell her that he did not want to be kept alive if he were to arrest again. Soon enough he suffered another heart attack and was pronounced brain dead. Determined to honour his last wishes Beth agreed to turn his life support machine off but was thwarted by Amanda, technically his next of kin, who needed to keep him alive in order for her pre-nuptial agreement to be invalid and to gain his cash.
Beth and her family took Amanda to court to challenge her right to keep Graham alive but thanks to Josh’s intervention in bribing the judge the case was dismissed and Graham remained alive. It was too much for one member of his family though as someone took matters into their own hands and switched the machine off. The Police began investigating a murder and though the person responsible was revealed to have been Robbie, the Police had no evidence and dropped the case. The Hunter’s luck did not hold out though as it was revealed that the pre-nup had expired before Graham’s life support machine was turned off, meaning that Amanda inherited everything. A devastated Beth pleased with Amanda that she did not care about the money but that she desperately wanted her father’s war medals. Although initially refusing Amanda later changed her mind and the medals were left at The Hunter house for Beth.
With her relationship with Tony running fairly smoothly and Amanda no longer a part of her life, the majority of Beth’s storylines revolved around her and Tony’s children. With the revelation that Baby Noah was in fact Scott’s, Beth was delighted to have her first grandchild before Scott and Hayley decided to leave Summer Bay and to head to Paris. Lucas went off the rails, unable to cope with a new mother figure but thanks to Beth’s insight went back on them after he and Beth had a talk. She supported Robbie through his issues over nearly losing Tasha to the Believers and was delighted when Tasha was revealed to be pregnant after being rescued from their clutches. She was a suspect when Josh West was murdered along with two of her children and was horrified when Robbie confessed to shooting him. It was later revealed that he was covering for Tasha who had shot at Josh but missed and that the fatal shot had actually been fired by Barry.
Jack and Martha’s wedding and the subsequent explosion, saw Matilda left with horrific burns and then the helicopter crash which saw both Robbie and Kit missing in the bush. Despite the lack of hope, Beth never gave up on Robbie and Kit being alive and her faith was rewarded when they were found alive. Matilda’s burns as a result of the explosion, took their time to heal and she suffered insecurity issues as a result and developed an eating disorder. She was sent to a retreat to heal and fortunately made a full recovery. With her second grandchild born to Robbie and Tasha and Baby Ella saved once again from The Believers Beth was devastated when the police announced that new evidence placed Robbie as the person who had turned off Graham’s life support machine. Accepting that he did it for the best Beth was in court was he was found guilty but delighted when the Judge agreed he need not serve a sentence. She then said goodbye to the last of her sons left in The Bay as he and Tasha headed to America to live with her Aunt Josie.
Things seemed to be ticking along for Beth. She reacted badly to Matilda’s new, older boyfriend Ric before eventually coming to trust him. She was there for Kit when she revealed she was pregnant as a result of a one night stand in the bush with Kim and things with Tony continued to go well. Underneath though Beth was starting to feel trapped and announced to Tony that she quite fancied doing a bit of travelling. Devastated that Tony was settled and not up for it, Beth forgot about her dreams before eventually being persuaded by Kit to tell Tony the truth. With Tony on her side Beth left for a trip to Europe to see Scott and Hayley in Paris and then to America to stay with Robbie and Tasha.
Whilst away from the Bay she was talked about often with Tony, Kit and Matilda all missing her and phoning her regularly. On the day she was due home Kit started to go into labour and Kim decided to drive her to hospital while Tony waited at home for Beth. When after a few hours, she failed to arrive; Tony left Irene to wait in the house for her and headed to the hospital only to be stopped by Jack at the scene of a major road traffic accident. With an obviously distraught Jack trying to break it to him, Tony saw Beth’s hand hanging out from under a plastic sheet on a trolley and broke down with the realisation that Beth was dead. It was left to Tony to break the news to her daughters and after her funeral service took place out of the bay in Adelaide, the Summer Bay residents, her two daughters and Tony said their goodbyes in a memorial service in her honour.