Norman Coburn

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Norman Coburn
Born (1937-03-06) 6 March 1937 (age 84)
EducationAustralian Elizabethan Theatre Trust
Years active1955–2008, 2019

Norman Coburn (born 6 March 1937) is an Australian former actor best known for his television serial and soap opera roles, he started his early career in theatre, film and television in the United Kingdom in the late 1950s, although he also worked in theatre in Australia, after quitting acting for some years, he a vineyard in Cornwall and working as a restaurateur in London.

He returned to Australia in the late seventies and became a staple of theatre and the small screen starting from the early 1980s.

He became famous as High School headmaster Donald Fisher in the early years of soap opera Home and Away, as one of 16 original cast members, he appeared from the pilot episode in 1988 until 2003, and reprised the character making brief sporadic returns between 2005 and 2008. Norman retired in 2008 (except for a rare TV series appearance in 2019 (see below entry in filmography) with H&A co-star Debra Lawrence),and he lives a quiet life on Bruny Island, Tasmania, Australia.

Coburn has had numerous roles in theatre, including in Shakespeare, with tour's of Twelfth Night and Hamlet, as well as Death of a Salesman and The Diary of Anne Frank as well as worked as a playwright with production Married Together.[1]


Coburn trained with the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust in North Sydney, Australia, before travelling to Britain in the 1950s to pursue an acting career. He appeared briefly in iconic British TV shows such as Dixon of Dock Green and Coronation Street.[2] He quit acting for a time and worked as a restaurateur in London and owned a vineyard in Cornwall in the 1970s.[3] However, he returned to acting and to Australia in the early 1980s

Coburn is best known for his portrayal of Donald Fisher, the principal of Summer Bay High School, in the Australian soap opera Home and Away. He appeared from the show's pilot episode in 1988 until 2003.[4] Coburn was featured in the Guinness World Records as the longest serving actor in an Australian serial, along with co-stars Ray Meagher and Kate Ritchie.[5] Since his departure from Home and Away, he has returned in consecutive guest appearances, the last being in 2007.[2]

He has also appeared briefly in guest roles in soap opera including The Young Doctors, A Country Practice, Sons and Daughters, Special Squad, The Hollowmen and Rosehaven

Coburn originally resided in Perth, and later Brisbane, Queensland. He currently resides on Bruny Island, located off the south-eastern coast of Tasmania, Australia.

In 2014, 11 years after leaving Home and Away, he was featured in a photo shoot for New Idea, in a reunion with former cast members Nicolle Dickson who played his daughter Bobby, Ross Newton (Greg) and Ryan Clark who played his grandson.


Year Title Role Notes
1960 Circle of Deception Carter
1961 On the Fiddle Uncredited
1965 Tomorrow at Ten Desk Man
Year Title Role Notes
1958 Dixon of Dock Green Jimmy 1 episode: A Whiff of Garlic
1962 The Ghost of Sonata Coffin Bearer Television film
Suspense Ambulenceman 1 episode: The Man in My Shoes
The Andromeda Breakthrough Crowd Extra Uncredited; 1 episode: Gale Warning
1981 A Step in the Right Direction Television film
1982 A Country Practice Neville Roebuck 2 episodes: Golden Fleece: Parts 1 & 2
Sons and Daughters Fred Sykes
1915 English P.O.W. Mini-series
1983 Five Mile Creek Stage Coach Passenger 1 episode: Making Tracks
1984 Special Squad 1 episode: Counterfeit Lady
1988–2007 Home and Away Donald Fisher Main role (1988–2003), guest star (2004, 2005 & 2007)
2008 The Hollowmen Jeff 1 episode: A Quiet January
2019 Rosehaven Gareth 1 episode : S3 episode 2


  1. ^ "Norman Coburn".
  2. ^ a b O'Leary, Abigail (4 May 2016). "What happened to the stars of Home and Away? From major Hollywood success to devastating tragedy". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Wine hopes for UK". The Canberra Times. 21 July 1970. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  4. ^ Bellman, Annmaree (27 February 2003). "Preview". The Age. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  5. ^ Barnier, Linda (17 January 2003). "Channel surfing – The TV week". Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 2 August 2017.

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