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10 Years of BTTB!

Dan F

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Well, it’s hard to believe but as of today, 14th January 2014, ‘Back to the Bay’ is 10 years old!

There’s an article on the main site detailing some of the history of the site, as well as some pics of days gone by, but I thought I’d give a personal perspective in this thread. Whilst it’s a bit of an old cringeworthy cliché to say it’s been a “life changing experience”, my own involvement with the site has certainly had a huge effect on mine.

In 2003 I came across Jeremai’s ‘Home and Away Source’ website, it stood out as one of only a couple of sites that actually provided original content rather than copying and pasting stuff from the official site (the latter of which is a practice that still continues to this day sadly!). As I’d spent a week in Los Angeles with a few H&A cast members a year earlier, I contacted him to see if he’d be interested in some pics and a report of the trip.

Jeremai’s H&A site merged with Chris’ existing Aussiesoap site & forum in September 2003. The forum later turned into EverySoap, which as the name suggested had a subforum for soaps from the UK, Oz and also the US. The main BacktotheBay site was created on 14th January 2004 alongside a long-gone Neighbours site. The Everysoap forum continued until September 2004 when that was finally rebranded as BTTB, with all accounts and H&A related forums moved over. Whilst it’s quite a struggle remembering the forum that far back, I do remember a rather bizarre Games Arcade built into the board software which got rather competitive.

I’d only got around to re-registering to the Everysoap forum on 12th January 2004, and I slowly got involved in helping out with features for BTTB, alongside Ryan. In June 2004, a day I remember due to it being the day of my college graduation ball, we were both asked to join the staff - Ryan as a Contributor and myself as a Moderator. Only a couple of months later I made my first month long trip to Palm Beach, and from that came our very first location photographs, alongside a small behind-the-scenes feature and video.

2005 brought about another interesting year with having the pleasure of conducting two phone interviews with former cast members - one of whom kindly invited me along to the H&A cast party in London’s Leicester Square, and who remains a mate to this very day. At Christmas 2005 after a couple of ‘guest stints’ whilst Chris was away, I was made an Admin permanently.

In 2007 I headed back to Palm Beach for a longer stay and spent 6 weeks stalking a very welcoming H&A crew, and travelling around NSW taking hundreds of location photos (a task now undertaken by QA until my return!). Whilst some other planned activities never came to fruition due to internal politics at Seven, I did have the pleasure of meeting with Bevan Lee and discussing some of the outstanding storylines that were going to feature in H&A’s 20th year, as well as receiving genuine gratitude for all the support that both BTTB and its members had provided the show with. The previous year we had also run a story on behalf of North Palm Beach Surf Lifesaving Club advertising their upcoming open day, after which they were able to increase their number of members by over 70%. As a result, on my arrival in Palm Beach I was graciously given a bag full of merchandise and an honorary membership to the club.

The Surf Club were also kind enough to donate more goodies for our Scriptwriting Competitions in the years following. The competitions were head-judged by former H&A Script Producer Coral Drouyn, who had herself been an active member of the forum in previous years. In its final year, the competition was held in honour of one of our forum moderators Frankie (also chief whip of the previous competitions), who had passed away six months earlier.

The past few years we've concentrated on trying to build up BTTB as a one stop reference site for the show, something which I hope will continue long into the future. I know updates have been a bit far and few between in recent months, but I've had plans for some major revamps for some time now - I'm just lacking the technical ability so have to wait until Chris is available to help.

I know I’m not the only one for who the forum has had a big effect - whilst I won’t name names I know there’s been friendships formed; fledgling writers at the start of their careers testing the water in the Fanfiction forum & scriptwriting competitions; discussions on the forum that have later manifested themselves into the show; and even a bit of real life romance between members!

Sadly we did lose the first year of posts after a forum crash in early 2005 and a few other glitches, with some gems such as the first ‘BTTB Big Brother’ and an infamous discussion about cabbages being forever lost. Our last statistical milestone came in July 2012 when we reached both 900,000 posts and 19,000 members on the same day.

So once again, a big thanks to all the staff who have contributed to BTTB over the past decade (which are listed on the main site but also copied in below), and most of all to all the members who have helped create such a thriving H&A community! Thousands have come and gone, but there are still a small amount of people who have been with us since the first years of BTTB’s existence – so an extra thanks to you ‘Golden Oldies’ (remember that back in the day?) for sticking around!

Chris Jenkins, Dan Foster
Forum Moderators
Dean, -Karen-, Nick (Foxy), Jen, John (john003au) and Meredith (Mez83)
Barbara, Red Ranger 1 and Ryan
Quiet Achiever
Former BTTB staff members:

Anaya, Andy, Bttb-rox!, Cal, Cat, Cerise, Claire, Edward Skylover, Eli, Emmasi, Frankie, Jackieleanne, JameyMaria, Jeremai, JosieTash, -Kirst-, Lisa P, Liz, MarMar, Melmarshall858, Nicom, NuttyNeighbour, Scandal-01, Si-Co, Skykat, Theresa and Valli.

Please feel free to share with us any of your own memories from over the years, whether you're a long term member or a relatively new one!

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CONGRATULATIONS !!!!!!!! for 10 sublime years !!!!!!!!!

I remember it like it was almost yesterday when a friend suggested that I should join this site, in 2004, to read/comment on her Kane/Kirsty fic.

Since then, I’ve REALLY enjoyed not only reading various fics here, but posting several of my own …….and posting daily Oz ep summaries for a number of years there as well!!! ………….

…..AND scoping out the various forums on here and the participating in thing like the Most Popular Character Poll !!!!!

MANY MANY thanks to all the creators, moderators, contributors and the like for this OUTSTANDING site!!!!!

………especially since I’ve gained a number of some AWESOME friends because of it!!!!!!

Here’s to ANOTHER 10 years ……..and MANY more!!!!!

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Great to read your own experiences of this great site Dan!

I've only been a part of the BTTB forum for just under two years now but I've known about the website for about eight or nine years now since the Summer Bay stalker storyline occurred back in 2005. My first experience with the website was when I was searching for clues and ideas as to who the identity of the Summer Bay Stalker was. I was really caught up with the storyline at the time and I wanted to figure out who was the identity of the Stalker. For a while I actually thought it was Sarah Lewis even though she was dead but in the end it turned out to be 'Zoe' which was a big shock initially. After stumbling upon Back to the Bay during this time I would usually visit the website every so often to see now updates and I was tempted to join the forum but I was too busy with other commitments. But as my commitments eased throughout the years I finally took the leap to join the BTTB forum in April 2012 and I don't regret it at all!

The forum experience has been loads of fun and it's fantastic to discuss a show you live and breathe with others who are just as fanatical and passionate about the show as well. There's many great posters who provide a positive contribution to the site and while you may not always agree with them on everything it's the fact that we can discuss things that involve the show that makes this forum fantastic in the first place. I feel that we have a diverse range of posters and regardless of how old you are or what your current situation is in your life the fact that people can come together because of this one common show is fantastic.

To the moderators, I must say you guys do an outstanding job to maintain the peace and harmony on the forum. You guys are fair and reasonable and for that you must be commended for your efforts.

To those that contribute to the forum by writing up episode summaries or character profiles or provide location shots you guys are the reason why the forum is so popular in the first place in my opinion. Whenever I want to search for a particular episode or look up a particular character this is the first resource I refer to find the information I want and it's because of you guys that the well-detailed and well-written information is available to us.

Now to the most important people in the administrators consisting of Chris and Dan. I just have to simply say thank you for making all of this possible in the first place. I wouldn't be here posting this if it wasn't for you guys and the fact that you've consistently maintained this website to a high standard and improved it within this ten year timeframe must be applauded and commended. I can't say thank you enough. You are legends!

Now to the website itself it's been a fantastic ten years as evidently showed by Dan and may this site continue to grow and prosper for years to come. I hope I can continue contributing on this forum and enjoy discussing the show that we all love!

Thanks for everything! :)

Edited by Jezz
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Time flies doesn't it!! Happy Anniversary to the site.

I came on Board with BTTB in September 04 and although my memory is hazy ( I am an ageing geriatric :blush: ) I think I migrated over from another site which closed. I started watching the show when I was teaching. I had a group of semi- illiterate students who had no interest at all in reading and writing. I did find in conversation with them that they all watched some show on TV called Home and Away and were animated in their discussion of it in class each morning. It provided me with an opportunity to encourage them to begin writing episode notes and later summaries. Some even graduated to Fan Fiction.

After I retired in late 1999 I continued to watch the show and eventually went looking for a website to chat with other watchers. I joined the predecessor site I can't recall and eventually found my way to BTTB.

I was approached to be a judge in the Script Writing Competitions along side Coral Drouyn whose work I had always admired. At that point I discovered that, hidden in the dark musty back of the site, there was a staffroom. A world I had never suspected. :o I loved the Script Competition and it is one of my great laments that circumstances have meant that they had to be discontinued.

I then became a Feature Contributor and worked, with a number of others, on one of the last departure features on the site the Belle Departure Feature.

The site and Forum keep me interested and have become one of my main recreations as I watch Home and Away and other Australian Drama.

I would like to pay tribute to Dan particularly. It is his passionate dedication to the site and the Forum which keep it going. The amount of work he does is monumental.

I hope that the site lasts at least another ten year and that it and its attached Forum continue to give the same pleasure to fans of the show as in the first ten years.

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Time whizzes by when you are spending it with loony tunes and Golden Oldies (& an aging geriatric :P).

But seriously... I can't put into words how much this forum helped me through the years. An old non-H&A forum had gone extremely quiet (then shut down) around the same time that I started watching H&A again. This was back when in real life I was at my worst (didn't venture outside for weeks, depression etc...). The forum was like the Holy Grail to me because I got to discuss the show and forget about my troubles. And even though I wander off sometimes I always end up back here because it feels like home :blush:.

I started out a lil immature (shut it Dan :P) but as the forum grew I think I did as well. I've met some wonderful people on here through the years, with a special mention to our sadly departed Frankie. And I've met some truly interesting people... most good but some not (naming no names).

So thank you Dan F & Chris.

(When do I get paid for my glowing tribute then?)

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:o Ten years!?! Yowsers!! I've been a member on here for 9 of them and whilst,unlike others :blush:, I can't remember how I found my way here , I've never been more grateful that I have. I still think of this site as being more "official" that the official site and always find my way here if I ever need to reference any info about H&A. It's certainly been more up to date than the official one! :P The team who work on this site, in particular Dan F and I have to say Barbara both of whom have and still do put up with me when they really don't need to, are a fantastic,dedicated and brilliant bunch of people. I was one for - ooh about five seconds before I realised how rubbish I was - but, even seeing the hidden world of the staff room was astounding to have a glimpse at the work that goes in. However that five seconds was a dream come true for me.

MovingOn! :P - well it wouldn't be the same if I didn't! ^_^

Personally speaking - BttB has given and still continues to - a reason when really not much else does - that began mid 2005,I won't say why because I have more than enough before - I was also blessed to be able to contribute to a very special departure feature on here(though I'm sure they involve an awful lot of time and work,I do miss them!) - when episodes were able to be posted on here,I did that and loved it and through that I got to know one of my best (online) friends in all the world - if she ever reads this she'll know who she is,I'd hope! I then got the courage to venture into the episode section and with the inspiration of the posting style of another member (emmasi , who I did thank at the time) I found my courage and own way of posting on the threads every day/week - it still gets me through and allows me to debrief after an episode and interact with others on the board too.

Yes through that,I've had cross words with staff and members but never,ever have I felt unable to ask for help/support from staff, who have dealt brilliantly with me and the problem.

Overall, I have SO much to thank BttB, it's staff and members for personally. May BttB continue to go from strength to strength and here's to the next ten years - atleast!!

Edited by JackWilkins
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I joined BackToTheBay in 2006 when I was 17 years old. I actually found out about this website when I was discussing it to a friend at college. But when I signed up, I was mainly lurking in this forum for several years until I decided to get involved in discussions etc. I am very proud of this website because the admins/moderators have worked very hard to update the website, give us interviews, write episode summaries, etc. I use this website for my research on Home and Away and the information have always been spot on! I remembered my university tutor wanted to do some research on Aussie soaps and I directed him to this site. My University tutor actually referenced BackToTheBay when he was using characters' profiles as part of his research.

I hope this website will continue at least another 10 years. Thank you Dan F, Chris, the moderators and the fans for everything you have done in here. I am a bit disappointed that Seven have stopped BTTB interviewing cast members because their interviews in the past have been brilliant. But I know BTTB will continue to be successful for many years to come.

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I have been a member of this site for about 8 years now, time flies. I joined this site at a time when I was depressed, this site had so many and still does have nice people to talk to, to relax with and became like second home. Funnily enough it was also this site that introduced me to one of my best friends as well. I remember posting a few times on and off for a while before I became a 'regular.' Big Brother was one of the good times.

The staff on this site had to put up with me as well but I appreciate it more now. I love this site, still slightly attached to the old layout but the site and the background of it is fantastic. I miss some elements of the site such as the scriptwriting competition, the first year I was going to take part, it didn't happen but despite that I have written countless fan fictions and developed my writing.

I can thank everyone and be here for hours and hours but honestly this site used to be a safe haven for me and now its a place to post my stories, to read spoilers and post/comment on artwork.

Here is to another 10 years of BTTB!

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