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Character Profiles > Tom Kennedy Bob Hornery

Tom Kennedy 1996, 1999, 2006, 2007
Marital Status: Molly (died)
Children: Karl (adoptive)
Family Tree: Kennedy
Occupation: Communist, Farmer

Staunch socialist farmer, Tom Kennedy and his wife, Molly longed for a child and after trying unsuccessfully to conceive, it became obvious that Tom was infertile. One night, Molly came home and admitted to Tom that she had been having an affair with family friend, Ronald Davies-Smythe in order to become pregnant. Understanding his wifeís reasoning, Tom agreed to stand by her and raise the baby as his own. A few months later in July 1955, Tom & Molly welcomed baby Karl into the world.

Each night before Karl went to bed, the father and son would play chess. As Karl grew older, he and Tom would often clash, mainly due to their differing political beliefs and Karlís constant searching for a life beyond the countryside. Karl eventually went to university to study medicine and in his first year began a relationship with Susan Smith, whom he soon brought home to meet his parents. Tom immediately took a shine to Susan, considering her a good woman with a beautiful mane, not to mention a gem in the kitchen.

Much to Tomís delight, by the time Karl was 22, he had married Susan and she had given birth to a son, Malcolm who was soon followed by a daughter, Libby and another son, Billy. The apple of Tomís eye, Libby aligned herself with her grandfather's Communist beliefs, much to the dislike of Karl, and the closeness between Libby and her Grandpa Tom often caused contention for Karl given his difficult relationship with his father. Over the years, Karl & his family regularly visited the farm and Tom would mark the ever changing heights of his grandchildren on one of the fenceposts. Sadly however, Molly did not live to see her grandchildren grow up, dying before Malcolm had turned 17, leaving Tom heartbroken. However, Tom had enough to occupy himself between running the farm, looking after the animals, including his beloved dog, Gough (named after Gough Whitlam) and horse, Castro (named after Fidel Castro). He also enjoyed his familyís visits and making visits to Greendale himself, where Karl & his family were now living.

In 1994, Karl decided to follow his dream of life beyond the country, moving Susan and their now teenage children moved from their home of Greendale to Erinsborough. As Karl & Susan decided to spend a few days in the country, they arranged for Tom to come to Erinsborough to keep an eye on the kids whilst they were away, much to their surprise. Tom soon impressed his grandchildren by letting them go ahead with the party they had been planning in their parentsí absence. As Karl & Susan returned, Tom decided to spend a few more days in Erinsborough in order to give him chance to talk to his son regarding the true story of his conception. Although Karl initially felt contempt towards his parents for lying to him, he eventually made peace with him before he returned home to the farm, assuring Tom that he would always consider him as his father.

Over the years, Tom often found himself as Libbyís confidante, with her often using his farm as an escape from her problems, she would turn up on his doorstep, heíd talk some sense into her and sheíd eventually head home. One day, having broken up with university lecturer, Mike Healy, Libby once again headed off to Tomís, this time closely followed by good friend, Drew Kirk. Tom immediately took a shine to Drew, especially after learning that he had hit Mike for hurting Libby and seeing his affinity to the animals, having grown up in the country himself was soon suggesting that Drew would make a good bloke for Libby.

As Libby eventually decided to return to Ramsay Street, Tom decided to go with her for a visit and within hours found himself and grandson, Billy being brought home from the pub by the police having caused some trouble by singing The Red Flag. Having managed to convince Libby to go to the Oakey Rodeo with Drew, Tom headed back to the farm, pleased that his granddaughter had finally found a good man.

A few months later, Tom was thrilled to hear the news of Libby & Drewís engagement, however soon rocked the boat by refusing to attend if the wedding was held in a church. However, the wedding soon came to a halt when Libby was involved in a motorcycle accident with best friend, Stephanie Scully. Having been left with little chance of carrying a baby to full term as a result of her injuries, Libby grew distant from Drew and soon turned up on Tomís doorstep yet again. Eventually, Libby returned to Ramsay Street but soon after returned to the farm, this time with Drew whom she had reconciled with and having stopped to look at the stars, Drew gave her back her engagement ring, this time for good.

Soon after the wedding, Libby made yet another visit to Tomís farm, this time having learned that she was pregnant in order to escape the worries for her health if she went ahead with the pregnancy. Several months later, Tom became a great-grandfather to Ben and over the years that followed, Libby took time to visit her grandfather and follow the family tradition by marking Benís height on the old fencepost.

In 2006, Tom began calling Karl at odd hours and rambling about events and people from long ago. As Tomís neighbours contacted Karl, concerned about his state of mind, having shot at their dog, Karl decided to head up to the farm to see Tom for himself, and he was shocked by what he found. The farm had run into an awful state of disrepair and Tom seemed to be showing signs of dementia. Karlís now ex-wife, Susan soon joined him for support, helping him to tidy up the farm. Tom was thrilled to see Susan, although a little shocked by the loss of her mane and seemed to show some lucidity, mentioning his dislike for Karlís previous girlfriend, Izzy and berating his son for throwing away what he had with Susan.

It soon became clear that Tomís state of mind was deteriorating rapidly, as he started rambling about Libby still being a little girl and couldn't remember who Ben was, before trying to light a fire in the middle of the living room. Realising that Tom was going senile and would need round the clock care, Karl arranged a place for Tom at the local nursing home the following day.

As Tomís dementia progressed, he couldnít remember Karlís visits to the nursing home or that he didnít have the farm anymore and so at the suggestion of Susan, who Karl had now remarried, Tom went to stay with them in Ramsay Street. Tomís condition had deteriorated to the point where he his wife, Molly was still alive and that Zeke was Karl, with moments of lucidity rare. Not long after his arrival, Tom left the house, leaving Karl & Susan desperately wondering where he was. Eventually Zeke found him next door at Number 30, sitting in on a wedding planning session with Rosetta Cammeniti and her aunts.

One day, having shared a nice afternoon with Rachel, reminiscing about his late wife and her love of dancing, he convinced her to go and see boyfriend, Ringo to discuss the problems in their relationship. Unfortunately, Tom quickly lost his clarity and nearly burnt down the house, having put the electric kettle on the gas hob. Realising that they couldnít offer Tom the full time care and attention that he required, despite the help of neighbours, Harold & Lou who spent time playing chess with him, Karl visited Tomís nursing home to arrange for his return.

Appalled at the state of the nursing home outside of visiting hours, Karl managed to get Tom on the top of the waiting list for the Carole Harvey Memorial Nursing Home in nearby Eden Hills. Until a place became available though, Karl hired nurse, Ian Phillips to help them out. Tom and Zeke, who he had become close to didnít trust Ian and it soon became clear that their instincts were right as he ignored Tom and stole his food for lunch, leaving him to eat a bowl of baked beans. When Susan arrived home with the kids, Tom complained about Ianís treatment of him but Susan brushed it off, even giving Ian $100 when he lied that Tom had stolen money from his wallet. The only person to listen to Tom was Zeke, who remained convinced that Tomís family were the best people to look after him.

The next day, Zeke placed a video camera in one of the drawers, hoping to catch Ianís poor treatment of Tom. And, only moments after Susan, Rachel and Zeke left the house, Ian spotted Susanís rings by the sink, with her having forgot to put them back on after washing up and pocketed them. Tom spotted him and confronted him over his actions, but Ian said that theyíd just blame it on Tomís since heíd been taking the neighboursí newspapers and mail all week. However, when the family arrived home and Susan couldnít find her rings, Zeke produced the incriminating footage, vindicating Tom. Ian quickly grabbed his bag and ran out the door, but Tom simply smiled and took the nurseís car keys from his pocket, as Rachel phoned the police and Susan apologised to both Tom and Zeke for not having believed them.

As a space became available in the nursing home, Tom helped organise a surprise birthday party for Karl, having already told him about it in an earlier moment of confusion. As Karl arrived home, Susan & Rachel hid to surprise him, however always the joker, Tom opened the door telling a shocked Karl that they donít want what heís selling before slamming the door in his sonís face. As Susan & Rachel began to worry, Tom opened the door again and wished his son happy birthday before laughing, along with his relieved family.

At the party, Tom shared memories of Karl having helped his mother organise his own surprise 16th birthday party, however he was upset to realise that Karl was attempting to secretly record his voice. Saddened to see the hurt that he was causing his son, he told Karl that no matter what state his mind was in, Karl was always on it and he loved him, even if it didnít always seem like it. Tom then told Rachel to fetch her video camera, so he can record some more stories and his shocking good looks as well as his voice for prosperity.

Having shared many stories for the camera, Tomís illness began to show through again as whilst sharing the history of the communist party he suddenly believed that Karl is Asian and the enemy. Upon becoming more lucid, Tom asked to see the recording. Upset by what he saw, he asked Karl to take him to the new nursing home for all of their sakes and to edit the recording.

Tom enjoyed his new home, getting on well with a lady named Violet, whom in his cloudy moments he mistook to be his late wife, Molly and enjoying looking after the homeís cow, Bessie, reminding him of his farm. Upon visiting, his family were relieved to see that in the most part, he seemed quite lucid and whilst Zeke initially was upset to see his new friend in the home, he realised what a fool heíd been as Tom asked him about his school project and football training.

Trivia Notes
ē Tom prefers to play chess with the white pieces
ē He successfully gave up smoking after many years
ē Tom is a good cook
ē Favourite songs include Lily of Laguna and The Red Flag

Biography by Callum