Willow Harris (2017-present)
Parents: Russell & Alice Harris (née Lawson, deceased*)
Siblings: Unnamed sister
Occupation: Gym co-manager
Willow first appeared when she arrived at the garage on a motorbike, beat Justin up with her helmet and asked where her money was: Her grandmother Judy Lawson had brought her car in for a service unaware Willow had stashed $30,000 in it. Justin explained he had handed the money over to the police. Willow left him tied up in the garage overnight and took his bank cards but found little in his account. She left quickly when Ash and Ziggy turned up.
However, Willow then kidnapped the Morgans’ dog Buddy and held him to ransom. Justin tracked them down in Mangrove River and found Willow dealing with Boyd Easton, who she had been looking after the money for. Justin scared Boyd off by threatening to phone the police but Willow was unimpressed, although she did let him take Buddy. Justin later found her sleeping in her car to hide from Boyd. When he was threatened, Willow agreed to do a job for Boyd in order to buy another week and keep him out of it. Justin convinced her to stay in the Morgans’ outhouse. He suggested she do up her car, a Triumph, and sell it to raise the money but Willow refused. On her way to meet Boyd, she was pulled over by Constable Murray, since her bike wasn’t roadworthy. Justin paid her fines but they ended up hiding in a car boot while Boyd’s gang trashed the garage, spending the night there. She explained her mother walked out on her when she was young, taking her sister with her, and her father Russell was in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s; they used to go for drives in the Triumph. Willow gave the car to Justin to restore to pay off the insurance excessn for the damage to the garage.
When Boyd pushed Russell down some stairs at the nursing home and he ended up in hospital, Justin let him beat him up in order to report him to the police, convincing Willow to also make a statement about the attack on Russell. Boyd was jailed and Willow decided to move to Summer Bay for a fresh start. She convinced Justin to act as guarantor when she rented a caravan off Alf and applied for a job managing the gym, competing against Mason. After giving them both a trial, John told them to share the role. Willow spent the night with Justin, but kicked him out the next morning. After Mason told her Justin didn’t do casual, Willow agreed to try his way. Their attempt at spending an evening together was derailed by Tori coming home upset so Willow gave them some space.
Justin found a gym client, Mark, sleazing onto Willow and punched him, only for Willow to reveal she’d been paid by Mark’s wife Odette to honey trap him. With Brody planning to buy back Salt, Willow got the new owner, Felicity, to sell at the price she originally paid by uncovering the fact she was falsifying financial records. She and Justin continued to be at odds for a while until she admitted she cared about him and agreed to get out of the honey traps. Soon after, she was reunited with Dean Thompson, an old childhood friend turned ex-boyfriend. Justin asked her to help him smuggle Robbo out of town and she agreed even though Dean was helping Ash search for him. She provided Justin with false plates for a car he had stolen and ended up taking Robbo to a motel to wait for Tori when he ended up in a catatonic state on finding a photo of himself and his family.
While visiting Justin in hospital after he had been in a car accident, she encountered Colby Thorne, another old friend from Mangrove River, and greeted him with a slap: She was resentful that he had disappeared years earlier, leaving her to nurse Dean through months of rehab after he had crashed a stolen car. She was further annoyed when Colby admitted he was the one who had stolen the car and been driving, running off and leaving Dean and another friend, Jay, who died, behind. Colby asked her not to tell anyone he used to be a River Boy. She and Justin returned home from a night out to find Dean in her bed, with Willow quickly throwing him out. Justin returned the Triumph to her but soon after it went missing. They suspected Dean, who Justin had just sacked, but it turned out Russell had taken it in a confused state and Willow agreed to go for a drive with him.
Shortly after her return, she was thrown to find out about Justin’s daughter Ava when the girl turned up for a surprise visit. She joined Dean and Colby for a bonfire on the beach where Dean suffered a fit from dodgy home brew. She remained unhappy about the fact Colby had let Dean go to jail for something he did and threatened to report him but Dean convinced her to drop it. She offered to look after Ava for Justin and left her to make a snack on her own while she gave Buddy a bath. Justin was furious when he came home and found Ava using sharp knives unsupervised, ordering Willow out. Justin eventually apologised to her. Willow explained that she was self-sufficient when she was Ava’s age but said it was good that Justin looked out for her.
When Dean made a threat against Ava, Willow immediately knew he was bluffing. However, Ava did go missing not long after. When she heard a description of the kidnapper, Willow realised it was Hazel, Boyd’s mother, and learned Boyd was out on parole. She agreed to take the ransom money to Boyd but Justin and Dean insisted on involving the police. Boyd attacked her during the handover but Dean came to her rescue and Boyd was shot dead by Colby. When the incident left Ava’s mother Nina reluctant to let Justin spend time with her, Willow tried to talk to her but instead Nina said Justin wouldn’t see Ava while Willow was in his life. Willow obliged by breaking up with him.
She began gambling to cheer herself up and, with Dean unemployed, started covering his rent at the caravan park. With Justin refusing to accept the break-up, she kissed Dean in front of him and ended up spending the night with him. She was extremely uncomfortable about it the next morning, confiding in Jasmine, but with Justin having washed his hands of her she agreed to keep seeing Dean. She told Tori the truth about the break-up while racking up hundreds of dollars in gambling debts and tried to talk Justin round when he fired Dean after an argument over her. She was sympathetic towards Colby when he was outed as a River Boy and suspended from the police, having been made aware he had been searching for his sister Bella, and explained the situation to Justin. Justin found out the reason she had broken up with him and told her they should have fought it.
Losing another bet and owing rent money, when John asked her to pay a supplier at the surf club, she ended up stealing $200 from the juice bar, only to be seen by Jasmine. She returned the money when John nearly blamed Ryder and Jasmine lent her the money for her rent. However, faced with the next week’s rent and having to pay back Jasmine, she bet both her last $20 and all her pay unsuccessfully, then stole and sold some equipment from the gym. Jasmine again found her out and, when Jasmine told Dean about her and accused her of having a gambling addiction, Willow slapped her in front of several residents. She later apologised and Leah convinced her to own up to John and give him the money, but this resulted in her being sacked.
Willow next stole over $3,000 from Brody and Ziggy’s wedding fund, losing it all on a bet. She confessed to Dean and went to tell the couple the truth but Dean stopped her, explaining that he’d replaced the money. Colby blamed her for reporting him to the police after a burner phone was found in her caravan but Dean defended her. She convinced Dean they should go and see Colby, where they found him in a critical condition after Ebony Harding had injected him with a potentially fatal dose of muscle relaxant and rushed him to hospital. Dean got them kicked out of the caravan park after smashing his van in a rage so, with Colby in hospital and Robbo under arrest on suspicion of murdering Hazel, they ended up squatting in the Diner flat.
With Dean owing money to loan shark Brett Dwyer from paying off her debt, Willow agreed to help him set up a credit card skimmer at Salt, but was disturbed when first Irene was one of the ones who used it and then Dean knocked over and injured Alf while they were retrieving it. She called an ambulance for Alf and binned the skimmer, trying to sell the Triumph. However, Dean stopped her and, when she overheard Irene discussing odd transactions on her credit card, she realised Dean had retrieved and used the skimmer. She tried to raise the money by placing bets and was comforted by Justin. Dean broke up with her and she confided in Justin about her problems. He put her up in a motel but she sneaked away and tried to place a bet online. Justin stopped her and she was furious when her horse came in, telling Justin the addiction started because he broke up with her. She told Tori how she used to hang around the track with her dad and agreed to see a counsellor. She moved in with the Morgans and waited with Jasmine for news when Robbo and Colby went to confront Ebony. Afterwards, Justin told her he loved her, then told her to forget about it. She made things up with Dean, convincing him to stay in town, and they repaired their friendship after she helped him and Colby with a sting to catch Brett robbing Salt.
She asked Alf about getting her job back at the gym, only to be taken in for questioning over the surf club break-in when Colby recognised her voice on a recording calling for the ambulance. However, Dean turned up and said he had done the break-in on his own and Willow had called the ambulance when he got home. When she learned Dean had left town and was in danger of missing his bail check-in, she left a voicemail saying if he didn’t turn up she’d turn herself in. He came back as requested but told her to stay out of it. She returned to work at the gym after which she kissed Justin. However, she was reluctant to rush into living with him so decided to visit Russell and then go stay with friends.
She returned, staying on friends’ couches, and, with Robbo having bought the gym, clashed with Jasmine, who thought she should tell Robbo about her stealing. She arranged to move in with Irene, forgetting that Jasmine lived there, and apologised to Jasmine ,who made it clear she had no objections to her moving in. They were soon getting on well but she had more difficulty with Irene, who objected to her mess. She then learned Dean could get ten years and was given a subpoena to testify against him. She admitted to Irene that she had been involved but when Irene tried to get her to face up to it she moved out. However, after visiting Russell, she went to the police and made a full confession, being charged as an accessory. She explained to Dean that she couldn’t let him take all the blame and Irene allowed her to move back in.
On the morning of the court hearing, she found Dean passed out drunk and refused to go to court without him, although it was some straight-talking from Justin that got him to go. They were both given community service but Dean refused to speak to her afterwards, saying what he did from now on was none of her business. She realised he was upset over the fact she had convinced him to cut ties with his mother Karen, who had refused to visit him in prison and threatened him with a knife when he got out. Willow tried to make things up by offering to go to see her with him. Instead, Karen turned up at the Morgan house, having followed Willow there thinking she’d be with Dean. Willow tried to control the situation as Karen became more erratic and ended up crashing her car after trying to run over John. She tried to support Dean during the following events, culminating in her and Chelsea having to rescue him and Karen from a gas-filled caravan as a result of one of Karen’s outbursts and Karen being scheduled. She also pleaded Colby’s case to Chelsea when she found out the truth about the accident Dean had served jail time for.
She consoled Dean after his first meeting with his father Rick Booth and told him not to give up on having a relationship with him, but in the process stood up Justin for a lunch date. Justin told her she had to choose between them so Willow told Dean they couldn’t spend time together anymore. She had as little interaction with Dean as possible during community service, prompting Dean to decide to do his in Yabbie Creek and tell her he was out of her life. She and Justin went away for a bit but she was thrown on her return to find Dean working at the board shop and doing well without her. Chelsea asked her to be matron of honour at her and Colby’s wedding but she turned it down on learning Dean was best man. She admitted to Justin that she was struggling to stay away from Dean but insisted on sticking to the deal, believing their relationship depended on it, only for Justin to have to stop her from gambling.
She tried talking to Dean in secret but he wasn’t interested, then lost her temper with Justin. She felt bad when she learned he had been planning a road trip for them but Ziggy told her she was right to be angry with him. When she spoke to Justin, she told him she’d changed too much to be with him and they should take a step back. She threw herself into work, but when she made a mistake looking after Maggie in a session, she admitted she wasn’t qualified. Robbo arranged for her to take a course at Tafe, even lending her the fees.
She covered with Chelsea when Dean and Colby checked out Colby’s stepfather Ross’ address looking for Bella behind her back and, when Chelsea worked out what was going on, Willow convinced her to let the pair handle it. They then summoned her to help them when they ended up kidnapping Bella on learning she didn’t want to leave Ross. After Bella came round, they celebrated together at the flat and she helped find Bella when she ran away. Having agreed to be Chelsea’s matron of honour after all, she was left helping organise the wedding, roping in Dean. Dean challenged her about the fact that she hadn’t given Justin a definitive answer about whether or not they were together so she met and broke up with him. She attended Colby and Chelsea’s wedding and was meant to look after Bella while they were on a honeymoon. Chelsea offered her and Bella a lift in the wedding limo only for the driver to turn out to be Ross who kidnapped the three of them.
Willow was knocked out during an escape attempt and left tied up in the car while Ross marched Chelsea and Bella into the bush. She was freed by Colby and Dean but ended up being shot when Bella jogged Ross as he fired at Colby. She was rushed to hospital and spent several days lying unconscious, also having emergency surgery to drain fluid around her heart, before coming round. She was confused to learn Chelsea had broken up with Colby and left town until Dean explained that he had seen Colby kill Ross and Chelsea knew. She also learned Robbo had broken up with Jasmine after she kept quiet about Tori getting pregnant by IVF without his agreement and filled in Mason. She told Colby to keep an eye on Dean and arranged for Karen to visit him. She had to wake him when he overslept and he instinctively kissed her. He explained he had been taking sleeping pills. She was left running the gym with Mason when Robbo disappeared.
She wasn’t sure Dean was up to looking after Bella and ended up having to stop him dragging her off to see Ross’ body while sleepwalking. Dean admitted the sleeping pills had been home-made ones he’d got from a River Boy and Willow agreed to look after Bella while Colby helped him go cold turkey. She ended up having to help out when Dean needed rehydrating, leaving Bella with Irene. Colby then told her he was going to turn himself in. Desperate to stop him, she first tried to enlist Dean, then took Bella out of school to try and take her away but was stopped by Jasmine. She warned Bella not to romanticise Ross and Bella convinced Colby to change his mind.
She escorted Ziggy home after she’d got drunk with Dean and assumed the pair had slept together, only to learn from Ziggy that Dean had turned her down and worried it was because he liked her. When a group went out clubbing, partly to celebrate Willow qualifying as a personal trainer, Willow told Dean she wanted to be with him but he was annoyed that it was only because of him and Ziggy, telling her they were a mess together. Jealous again when she learned Ziggy had spent the night in Dean’s caravan, she waited for Dean in his bed but he rejected her. He later assured her that whether they were together or not she’d have a special place in his life. Despite this, Willow didn’t feel able to go and see Dean when he was beaten up and Ziggy looked after him.
She was further thrown when she learned Justin was now dating Leah, feeling everyone was getting on with their lives except her. She convinced Robbo to accompany Jasmine to a counselling session and put aside her personal feelings to help Ziggy and Dean get ready for a car rally together, making a point of telling Dean she wanted him to be happy before he left. She dodged Irene’s house rules to get drunk with Jasmine, where Jasmine explained her father had abandoned her after her mother died and Willow compared it to her mother dying and father getting Alzheimer’s. Shortly after Dean and Ziggy’s return, she overheard that they were now a couple. She attempted to reassure Colby over Bella going off the rails, which resulted in Bella going to live with her and Irene. Willow took Bella to task for breaking Irene’s plates to end an impasse over doing the dishes and got her to apologise.
She convinced Dean not to quit his job with Ben over Ben being suspicious of the money he had from Rick and was the first person he confided in about Mackenzie being his half-sister. Suspicious, she gatecrashed Robbo and Jasmine’s dinner at Salt to spy on Mackenzie and confront her. She offered to look after Bella while Irene went to Olivia’s fashion show in London and, when she learned Bella had changed her mind about moving back in with Colby, quizzed her and Raffy about it.
She acted as Colby’s confidante when he considered starting a relationship with Mackenzie and joined Mason in pulling a drunken prank on Robbo by balancing a bucket full of paper on his office door. She escorted Jasmine to her wedding and was shocked when her friend ended up under police protection, despite being able to take over her room. She was frustrated to find Colby and Mackenzie were a couple but still tried to defend them to Dean and encouraged him to get to know Mackenzie. She was aware that Bella had been assaulted and Irene was facing charges for striking her attacker, so took it upon herself to help Bella. Her initial attempt was unsuccessful but with help from Ziggy she managed to reassure Bella, and confided that her first kiss had been with Colby to get Dean’s attention. Seeing that Colby was miserable without Mackenzie and that she and Dean were now getting on better, she encouraged him to pursue her again. She also got Dean to admit he liked working with Mackenzie.
She offered new doctor Alex Neilson a free gym session to try and get her to go easy on Jasmine and advised Bella over testifying at Irene’s trial. When she learned Irene might have to sell the house if found guilty and sued, she realised how little security she had and confided in Alex about it. She was reunited with Jasmine after the latter had been kidnapped and was then kissed by Alex. After making a failed attempt to talk to Colby about it, she confided in Jasmine and Mason, before she and Alex decided to just be friends. With Dean, she stopped Bella from setting fire to Salt and unsuccessfully tried to convince her to stay friends with Mackenzie despite her and Colby’s break-up. She also ended up running the gym alone when Mason got a job at the hospital and was left to hire help herself. Alex gave her advice on interviewing techniques and Willow invited her out for a drink to thank her then drunkenly kissed her. However, Alex pulled away and Willow was mortified to realise Irene had seen. She spent the night in Dean’s caravan to avoid her, then told Alex she couldn’t remember anything, but eventually admitted she liked her and they agreed to keep seeing each other. They had dinner together at Salt but Alex backed off when Willow asked to go back to hers. Willow confronted Alex the next day and Alex admitted she was worried she was just an experiment. Willow convinced her to take a leap of faith on her.
Willow went to the hospital on hearing Bella had tetanus, although she was uncomfortable with Bella’s attitude towards Mackenzie. She dragged Alex skinnydipping, then invited her back to her place where they slept together for the first time. Irene, Colby and Bella turned up while Alex was still in her bed and they were caught by Bella, who ran interference until Willow could usher Alex out. Willow initially refused to discuss it with her but, when Alex asked if she was ashamed of her, eventually confided in Bella that she liked Alex and resolved to tell Colby and Dean. However, she had difficulty getting a word in as they worried about their own problems, although she did tell Irene. She was delighted when Robbo made her sole gym manager when he planned to move away and invited Dean, Colby, Ziggy, Bella and Alex to celebratory drinks at Salt. However, the evening was awkward with Dean and Colby not really understanding why Alex was there. Colby then saw them kissing but, after questioning her, was fine with it. Willow broke the news to Dean who got annoyed about people keeping things from him, although they made up the next day.
When Tori recovered from her coma, Willow was shocked to realise that meant Alex’s job at the hospital would soon end. She considered ending the relationship before it got too serious but instead decided they should go away for a bit. She realised that Mackenzie and Bella had gone missing after going to the hospital and went there with Dean to find the place under siege. She was left waiting outside with Ziggy.
She was reunited with Alex in the aftermath and was present at the hospital when Robbo died from injuries sustained in a car crash, trying to console Jasmine. She and Alex were among the few who travelled from town for Mason’s funeral. She wondered about the fate of the gym with Robbo dead, then Alex revealed she had been offered a job in Queensland and asked Willow to come with her. Despite Dean disapproving, Willow agreed. However, she was thrown when Alex talked about them buying a place together. Although she wasn’t sure she was ready for that level of commitment, she decided to risk it but Alex decided to leave without her. Willow was forced to admit they wanted different things. She avoided Alex until she was about to leave town, at which point she turned up wanting to go with her. However, Alex quickly realised nothing had changed. Willow convinced her to stay one more night but woke up the next morning to find Alex gone, leaving only a note.
She was upset that after everything she’d gone through the relationship had still failed but rallied to support Colby when his divorce came through. The news Jasmine, who had inherited the gym, was pregnant left her even more unsatisfied with her lot and Dean took her away to cheer her up. She was annoyed to learn Stella had missed a shift in her absence and left Jasmine to open up so sacked her, although she was left struggling to find cover. Bella asked her about when you should have sex and Willow gave her a few pointers. She was left feeling guilty however when Bella ended up self-harming after panicking during an attempt to sleep with Nikau. She and Colby accompanied Bella when she was sent to an equine therapy centre and she convinced Colby he needed to leave her there. She went along to Colby’s divorce party and ended up having to escort a drunk Jasmine, who had learned her pregnancy was a phantom one, home before giving Colby a pep-talk. She learnt Jasmine was depressed and considering leaving town after Colby cut ties with her so convinced Colby to talk to her. However, this resulted in Jasmine laying into Willow for going behind her back. When Colby tried to play peacemaker, Jasmine fired Willow and forced her to move out, resulting in her going to Colby’s flat. Colby brought Jasmine over and they made up, with Willow returning to the house and gym next morning. She accompanied Dean in collecting Bella from the centre and tried to get her to do something for her birthday, although this ultimately translated to simply hanging out on the beach together.
She helped Jasmine take photos of Grace for a mother and baby yoga class they were arranging at the gym and learned she had signed up to a mothers’ forum, seeing her with Melissa, one of the other members. On seeing Jasmine’s posts criticising Tori, she tried to get her to channel her anger with writing. However, when she realised Jasmine’s behaviour was getting out of control and that she hadn’t had permission to take the photos, she showed the forum to Colby.
She was reunited with Amber Simmons, an old friend from Mangrove River, and took the fact Amber had once slept with Dean in her stride. Amber was initially less forgiving about the fact Willow was friends with Colby, who she blamed for her brother Jai’s death, but soon took her out drinking. When Jasmine returned and considered selling the gym, Willow got fed up and began spending most of her time getting drunk with Amber. However, she soon found herself supporting Colby and Dean after Ross’ body was discovered, leading to her and Jasmine clearing the air. She was one of the first to learn that Amber had had Dean’s son, Jai, and tried to get Amber to involve Dean in his life. She was also Bella’s confidante after she lost her virginity with Nikau.
She was horrified at Colby spending time with Taylor Rosetta, wife of detective Angelo, to get information on the investigation. She tried to put the police off the scent by ringing in with a false sighting of Ross two months after his death, only to be left frustrated when Colby kept on seeing Taylor. She tried to plead Dean’s case to Ziggy after he told her about Ross’ death and took Dean away for a while to try and straighten him out. Shortly after her return, she again ended up as the go-between for Dean and Amber when Amber disappeared for the night leaving Dean to cope with Jai having an ear infection. She was increasingly frustrated with Colby’s erratic behaviour during the investigation but encouraged him to look into Angelo’s past, and again pleaded Dean’s case to Amber when she insisted Karen couldn’t see Jai.
She helped Colby track Dean down when he disappeared with Jai and was asked by Ziggy for help getting rid of a van full of stolen goods that Tane had left at the farm, which she delivered to the River Boys to get rid of. She realised Amber was lying about taking Jai to school but too late to stop her disappearing with him. Around this time, she told the police about Colby as he refused to give up his increasingly risky attempts to disrupt the investigation, resulting in his arrest. She enlisted Ziggy to stop Dean turning himself in and, the day before the trial, managed to get a recording of Colby saying he killed Ross. Having found a pretext to stay out of court before giving evidence, she told the court that Colby had confessed to her that he killed Ross, saying he had dropped Dean off beforehand. The testimony and the recording caused Colby to change his plea to guilty and he was jailed. Although she insisted she’s acted to stop Colby dragging the rest of them down with him, Dean and Bella refused to forgive her. Willow decided to leave town and was waved off by Irene, Jasmine and a confused John.
*In several early appearances, including her first episode, the character was mistakenly credited as Willow Ranger. The character’s name was originally planned to be Amber Ranger.
*The status of Willow’s mother is unclear. In 2017, Willow had said that her mother walked out on the family when she was ten years old, taking Willow’s sister with her. However in 2019, Willow stated that her mother had died when she was very young.