Marguerite Astoni (2017-present)
Date of Birth: 8th March 1979
Maggie was first seen arriving at her home in the city after her younger daughter Coco was suspended from school. She spoke to her husband Ben about the difficulties they’d been having with their two daughters, both of whom had been going off the rails, and convinced him they needed to go and see her mother Diana, even though Diana seemed to believe Maggie had married beneath herself. However, a short stop in Summer Bay resulted in the car breaking down and them having to stay at the caravan park while it was fixed. Maggie noticed Leah eyeing up Ben at the Diner and cheerily explained he was her husband; however, the embarrassment caused tension between the two of them.
A series of calamities involving Ziggy stealing a wallet and Ben damaging a water tank saw them having to stay in town another week, with Maggie reluctantly to go on to Diana’s without Ben. She tried to convince Ziggy and Coco to look around town and booked them on John and Marilyn’s bus tour. Although an encounter with a snake and the discovery that John had recently spent time in prison for arson brought things to an abrupt halt, Maggie was enchanted with the farm house, which was up for sale, telling Ben it was the sort of place she’d always dreamed of owning, although they quickly noted the girls would never agree to moving. However, after Ziggy had made an aborted attempt to run back to the city, the family decided to stay in Summer Bay for the rest of the school holidays.
On learning that the principal’s job at Summer Bay High was available and that the pier was also up for sale, she made plans with Ben to buy both the pier and the farm. Their bid on the pier was accepted but they had a hard time convincing Coco and Ziggy to agree. When she learned that Brody had had drug problems, she agreed with Ben that they should keep him away from Ziggy. She attended a lunch with new tenants Alf, Irene and Leah who immediately objected to her and Ben’s plan to redevelop the pier. She struggled as principal, having difficulty relating to the students, and quickly made an enemy of Jennifer Dutton. After Leah offered her some advice, she tried to help her son VJ, who was repeating Year 12, only for Ben to clash with him when he saw him getting close to Coco. Maggie forced Ben to apologise and share news of the development with the tenants. She had Irene, Leah and Marilyn round to show them the plans but they were upset to discover it included taking space away from the Diner and building a restaurant. She asked Ben to cancel the development but eventually decided to support him.
She asked Roo to be a teacher’s aide and confided in Leah that she had post-natal depression with Ziggy and had never bonded with her. After Ziggy responded to a falling out by getting a part-time job, Maggie agreed to treat her more like an adult. She had to suspend Coco and Jennifer when they got into a fight, which resulted in her clashing with Jennifer’s dad Nick and him blocking the pier development plans by applying to give it listed heritage status. When Roo managed to upset Raffy by suggesting she go up a year, Maggie suggested teaching might not be for her.
When she saw how upset Ben was about the loss of the development, Maggie asked Alf and Leah to help her set up a surf shop for him. VJ and Hunter told her Roo had helped them with their HSC trials, prompting her to change her stance and offer her a permanent position on qualifying. She then received news that Coco had fainted. When she and Ben found a used condom wrapper, they wondered if Coco was sleeping with VJ and Maggie asked Leah to talk to him, before interrogating Coco. She then realised it was Brody and Ziggy but an attempt by her and Ben to talk to Ziggy ended in an argument and resulted in Ziggy briefly moving out until Brody broke up with her. When Ziggy ran away from an attempt by Coco to get everyone to air their feelings, Maggie suspected she was hiding something big. She was touched when Ben gave her the first surfboard he made, even though they both knew she’d never use it.
Worried about the lack of bond between herself and Ziggy, she tried to organise a family dinner but had to cancel to deal with a spat between Raffy and Jennifer. When someone threw a rock through a window while she was working late and she saw a hooded figure, she began having flashbacks to an incident years earlier when she had been knocked down by intruders at the school and suffered a head injury. However, the present day intruder turned out to be Raffy, who summoned her family. Coco then collapsed again and Leah admitted she had bulimia, while Ziggy ran away from home. Maggie accepted Ben’s belief that they should concentrate on Coco. When Ziggy finally turned up, she admitted she was one of the vandals in the incident where Maggie had been injured. She was touched when Ziggy bought her an olive tree as an apology, on the grounds she’d need plenty of branches, and they planted it together. She unknowingly took Mick Jennings back to the house when he helped her change a tyre.
Maggie had to pay $5000 bail when Ben was charged for assaulting Brody, saying she took out a loan. When Diana turned up in town, she had to admit it was her that she’d borrowed the money from. Despite being irritated by Diana’s presence, she was unimpressed when Ben lost his temper with her. She told him to be honest with Diana and afterwards the pair teamed up to surprise Maggie with an impromptu vow renewal on the beach to mark their 20th anniversary. She found Coco about to binge after being rejected by Ryder and attended her glow day, partnering John in the obstacle course. Afterwards, she and Ben discussed ways to get Diana to leave but Ben ended up inviting her to stay longer when they received news that Maggie’s father Richard was remarrying. Maggie tried to find her a hobby but Diana then announced she was moving to the Bay. Maggie quickly arranged for Diana to instead go and stay with her sister Kate in London, with Coco going to stay with her until then.
She began to suspect Brody and Ziggy were more than friends but started to approve of them when Brody cooked dinner for the family, offering to help bring Ben round to the idea. However, her first idea, getting Brody to help Ben fix the gazebo, just led to arguments. They then learned Jarrod was in town but Ziggy promised she wasn’t going to get back with him. Coco returned and Maggie was shocked to find a newspaper report about her being arrested at a protest, trying to stop her harassing the locals with her newfound environmentalist ideals. After attending the party to re-open Salt, she collapsed on the beach.
She was found by Ben and Coco and rushed to hospital where she was found to have a high white cell count. She was sent home with a suspected virus but Ben brought her back in when she felt faint and scans showed a mass in her abdomen that could be cancerous. The biopsy results would take a week so she threw herself into work to take her mind off it but had a panic attack after ignoring calls from the hospital. Tori then visited her at home and told her she had cancer. She was reluctant to tell the girls but eventually decided to have a day on the beach together and then tell them. However, she went home while Ben and the girls were in the sea, unable to face it, only for the girls to guess anyway. She was told the cancer was fast-growing so elected to immediately start chemotherapy but collapsed after her first session.
While clearing Kat’s things out of the Diner flat, Maggie was forced to accept she might die. Ben refused to listen and sent her home to recover but she asked the girls to be honest with her. Ben admitted to her that he was scared. He had to move out for a bit when he had a cold while Maggie’s white cell count was low, meaning he missed Maggie’s birthday, although she spoke to him via Skype and Ziggy, Coco and Brody organised breakfast for her. She went to the hospital to have scans done and had Ben turn up late after appearing in court on the assault charge.
After overseeing construction work at the school, she decided to reopen while it was going on. However, her first day was plagued with problems including two teachers being off sick and she got confused in class. Ben convinced her to stop teaching and concentrate on being a principal. She prepared a surprise party for Ziggy’s 20th, but during the preparations she found evidence her cancer had spread. She put on a brave face during the evening but made a point of having a photo taken of the whole family. Next morning, she told Ben they needed to go to the hospital. She was told her best chance was a stem cell transplant, but the most likely donor was Ziggy, who she was reluctant to ask. Ben convinced her to let Ziggy make the choice and she agreed to be tested. When she became ill while having injections prior to the donation, Maggie became convinced it was because of them and tried to cancel the procedure but was talked into going ahead with it.
When she learned Coco was skipping school, she suggested she go to a camp for the children of cancer sufferers. She was thrown when she started losing her hair but Irene and Marilyn visited her with headscarves. She made a special meal for Ben after his first day at work as a labourer only for him to stay out drinking with new workmates. Brody and Ziggy made up for it by making them dinner the next day. When Ben joined the construction work at the school, Maggie felt the need to step in when his boss Barry Johnson criticised him but Ben asked her not to. She began losing more hair and Coco suggested shaving it off. Although initially uncomfortable with the idea, Maggie eventually agreed and asked her family to help her. However, after the initial empowerment, she was worried it made it obvious she had cancer. Ben helped her feel less self-conscious by taking her for a private breakfast on the balcony at Salt.
On her return to school, she let the students question her about her cancer before getting down to class. However, soon after she had to go home sick, then collapsed and was found to have a chest infection. It was also discovered the stem cell transplant had had no effect and, once Maggie recovered from pneumonia, she was put on the transplant register. On returning home, she asked Ben to give her some space before breaking down with Roo. She began writing letters to her family in case she died and convinced Ben to go away with her for the night to a beach cottage. However, shortly after their return, Ziggy found the letters. Maggie had a hard time explaining it but told them they could all read the letters if they wanted.
She was initially pleased when Ziggy and Brody were engaged until she suspected Ziggy only did it because of her letter, in which she talked about how she’d regret not being at her wedding. She worried she would look like she had cancer on the wedding photos but let Leah and Roo help her pick out a wig to wear and also took part in Leah’s vlog. She tried to help Ziggy organise the wedding only to find Ziggy agreed with everything she suggested, including doves and horses, prompting her to back off and let her make the decisions. She was upset that she wasn’t well enough to deal with the arrangements but Roo, Leah and Marilyn rallied round to help her.
On being told that her cancer had spread despite the chemotherapy, Maggie was advised to have a different chemo combined with immunotherapy. Instead, she decided to give up treatment, feeling it had achieved nothing and she just wanted to enjoy the wedding and whatever other time she had left. Ben and Ziggy reluctantly went along with it. She helped Ben learn to waltz for the wedding and dealt with Ziggy’s doubts about going through with it. She attended the wedding but immediately after waving the couple off she collapsed.