Ben Fitzgerald Noah Sutherland, Sean Berends, Blake O'Leary
Ben Ian Kennedy Fitzgerald (né Kirk) 2001-2004, 2007-2010
Lived: 22, 28, 30,
Ramsay Street, Libby and Drew's flat, Libby and Darren's house
Born: 2001 (later altered to c. 1999)
Parents: Drew Kirk and Libby
Family Tree: Kirk and Kennedy
Occupation: Student, Carpenter's Mechanics Owner
before he was born, little Ben was causing problems for his
parents, Libby and Drew. Libby was never supposed to get pregnant,
as carrying a baby full-term would have put her life in great
danger. Nevertheless, Libby saw her pregnancy as a miracle
and decided to keep her baby, despite advice to the contrary
from everyone around her. When the time came for Libby to
give birth, she was in Oakey for the annual rodeo. Looking
for somewhere to rest and beginning to feel unwell, Libby
found herself locked inside a barn and going into labour.
When she was eventually found, it was too late for her to
have the caesarean that would have made the labour much less
risky, so she was airlifted to Erinsborough hospital, where
she was forced into giving birth naturally.
everyone's surprise and delight, and despite a few serious
problems, both mother and son survived the ordeal. The baby
was kept in the hospital for a few weeks to be monitored due
to the nature of his birth, while Libby was let home. Nonetheless,
she and Drew visited daily, making sure to keep an eye on
their little miracle. Finding a name for the baby proved difficult,
as everyone wanted to give their opinion on this, but it was
eventually decided to name him Ben Kennedy Kirk (no hyphen).
After a few weeks, Ben was finally allowed home, but Libby
and Drew found it difficult to cope, what with having very
little money, a lodger in the form of Stuart
and also very little room in their one-bedroom flat. Having
managed to get rid of Stuart and Drew's second job as a club
bouncer eased some of the problems, but Libby still found
it difficult to cope with a baby.
and Drew decided to have Ben christened. Harold
recommended his friend, Rev. Rosie
Hoyland to conduct the service and it took place in the
same church as Libby and Drew got married in. Libby chose
Lou Carpenter to be Ben's
godfather and also decided to add the name Ian to Ben's middle
names, as a tribute to her newspaper editor, who had just
died. Meanwhile, Libby and Drew were finding it difficult
to get 'close' since the birth of Ben and sought advice from
Joe and Lyn
Scully. However, things began to ease up when Lou moved
in with Harold and offered to rent out Number 22 to Libby,
Drew and Ben.
living there for a few weeks, Drew noticed that the house
was infested with termites, so he called in the exterminators.
While the extermination was taking place, Drew was horrified
to realise that Ben had become locked inside the house, but
luckily neighbour Summer Hoyland
managed to crawl in a back window and rescue the baby in the
nick of time. Stuart found that Ben was a useful tool when
attempting to collect debts from garage customers. Taking
Ben to the door with him left most customers feeling guilty
and they paid on the spot.
short life was later changed forever when his father Drew
was killed after falling off a horse. Ben knew very little
about what was going on, something that was made clear when
some balloons were released in Drew's memory. While Karl
pointed them out to Ben, the child remained completely oblivious
to what was going on. Libby decided to write some memoirs
of Drew, so that Ben would be able to read about his father
when he grew up, rather than simply rely on hazy memories.
Drew's mate Stuart also vowed to stand by Libby and Ben, telling
them that they would not want for anything. As time went on,
Stuart began to spend more and more time around Ben, culminating
in Ben calling him 'Dada'. Stuart kept this to himself, although
when he did it again, this time infront of the Kennedys at
the pub, Libby decided to spend less time around Stuart, realising
that Ben needed a more stable environment.
Ben's life did become a lot more stable as time went on. Living with his
mother and grandparents meant that he was never short of attention. However,
when Libby started dating new doctor Cameron Hodder, Ben proved to be a
problem, as Cameron didn't figure kids in his future. The relationship
quickly ended. Another of Libby's suitors, Taj Coppin, used Ben to get
closer to her as he offered to help teach him to swim. This brief
relationship left Libby out in the cold, as Susan couldn't cope with her
daughter sleeping with a student. As a result, Libby and Ben went to stay
with Grandpa Tom. Upon their return, Libby decided she needed to be more
independent and so Ben had another change of environment, this time to an
When Libby was offered a teaching job in Adelaide, she and Ben made yet another move, down to South Australia. Several months later, they came back to live at number 28 Ramsay Street. It looked like Ben had a new father figure when his mother’s ex-boyfriend, Darren Stark, returned to Erinsborough. Ben formed a close friendship with Darren, but problems from the past reared their head again when Darren was framed for a robbery he hadn’t committed. Darren left town, but a few months later, he got back in touch, asking Libby and Ben to move to Shepparton to live with him. And so, for the fifth time in his short life, Ben packed up his toys and left town with his mum for a fresh start. A few weeks later, Susan thought that Libby and Darren could do with a little time by themselves, so Ben came back to Ramsay Street for a short stay with his grandma. And, since he was staying with her so close to his birthday, she decided to throw him a party.
In 2007, Ben returned with his mum to visit his 'Pop' and 'Nana', complete with a baritone tuba, the musical instrument he'd just started learning. In his three years living in Shepparton, Ben had grown close to Darren, seeing him as a father figure, but knew that something was wrong, having heard his mum arguing with Darren before they left. Ben quickly settled into Ramsay Street, however, befriending neighbour Mickey Gannon, who was a couple of years older. Ben soon started following Mickey everywhere he went, and was delighted when Libby decided to stick around, and enrolled him at Mickey's school. At home, things were more difficult - Susan had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, while Darren had returned and emotions were strained. Though nobody told Ben the details, Libby had found out that Darren had been cheating on her and was refusing to take him back. Ben, however, was determined to spend time with Darren, and the pair went fishing together, with Libby eventually agreeing to give her ex-boyfriend another chance. Plans were made for the three of them to move back to Shepparton together, but it all came to a sudden halt when Libby found out that Darren had once again cheated - this time a kiss with Janae Timmins, the girlfriend of Mickey's dad, Ned. As Darren left town, Ben sadly said goodbye, and promised to take care of his mum, but he did manage to pick up snippets of information from overheard conversations, leading to an argument with Mickey over whether Janae was to blame for Darren leaving. When Janae sat the boys down and explained that she had kissed Darren and it was all her fault, Ben became confused and upset, and Janae realised that perhaps it wasn't always wise to expose children to adult problems.
Over the weeks that followed, Libby grew close to her new teaching
colleague Dan Fitzgerald, and Ben also started to look upon him as a new male role model, and mother and
son moved across the street to share a house with Libby's best friend Steph and her two-year-old son,
Charlie. When Dan was involved in a mineshaft cave-in whilst working with the SES, he was badly injured,
but ultimately led the rescue team to help brothers Steve and Ned Parker.
Ben was impressed, but Libby was keeping her distance from Dan, as his estranged wife Samantha had come to town.
Ben pestered his mum, wanting Dan to come and visit his class and give a talk on his adventure, and even making a 'hero' badge for him, but Libby was adamant that Ben keep away.
He eventually managed to sneak out of the house, and went to see Dan, but Libby dragged him home. Ben then found a new way to emulate his hero, taking Charlie and a pair of
walkie talkies to play outside, he went and hid down a drain, only to get trapped when resident Marco Silvani parked over the drain cover.
As everyone left on a search for the two missing boys, Dan stayed behind, and eventually heard Ben shouting. Sam then returned, and smashed the window of Marco's car,
let off the handbrake and pulled Ben to safety, with Charlie later being found hiding in a cupboard. The whole incident made Libby realise how unfair she was being on her son,
and she allowed him to see Dan whenever he wanted. The next morning, they went over to see Dan to give him his hero badge, but Ben surprised everyone when he gave it to Sam instead,
thanking her for saving his life by pulling him from the drain.
Ultimately, Libby and Dan's feelings for each other were stronger than his marriage to Sam, who suffered a bi-polar relapse and left town to return to New Zealand.
Though it was looking like they'd settle down together, more problems arose when Libby instead started seeing Lucas, a newcomer to
town who turned out to be Dan's estranged brother. In the end, Libby once again found herself back in Dan's arms. Though Ben was pleased about having a new father
figure in his life, relations between Dan and Ben were often strained, particularly after a holiday to Bali, from which Libby had returned early. When Ben came back with Dan,
he was upset with his stepfather-to-be, and when Ben then collapsed, suffering from a virus, Libby was appalled and decided that she had to put her son first, as he started
dreaming about Drew and talking about his father in his sleep at the hospital. Dan decided to prove his dedication by proposing and soon wedding plans were being made.
Though the first attempt to get married was derailed when a heavily pregnant Sam returned to town, it was later proved that Dan was not the father of her baby and she left
in shame. The wedding then went ahead, with Ben as a page boy, and on the same day, Libby learnt that she was pregnant. Ben was thrilled to find out that he would soon
have a sister, named Grace by the expectant parents, but tragedy struck soon after when Libby miscarried. Ben was informed of what had happened and managed to deal with
it in an open and honest way, surprising Libby and Dan, who were both guilty of bottling up their emotions.
Ben soon found himself a new gang of mates in the form of Callum Jones, Toadie's adoptive son who live with him, Libby and Dan, aswell as Mickey and Charlie.
The foursome got up to all kinds of mischief, and found themselves a role model when musician Ty Harper agreed to teach them some tunes for the upcoming Easter service at school.
When Ty left town soon after to move to London, the boys serenaded him as he left Ramsay Street.
Meanwhile, Ben wanted to feel like a part of the new family, and since Libby had changed her name to Kennedy-Fitzgerald, Ben started
calling himself Ben Fitzgerald, which worried Dan when he saw what Ben had written on a permission slip for school. Though Libby was
supportive of the idea, Steph was horrified, claiming that they were trying to blot out Drew's memory. Best friends Libby and Steph had a
serious falling out over the issue, and Ben offered not to change his name if it would stop all of the upset, but Steph ultimately realised
that it was none of her business, that she had overreated and Ben went ahead with the change of name. More changes were to come for the family
as, desperate for a baby with Dan, but left unable to carry a child following a life-saving hysterectomy, Libby looked into surrogacy and
Susan offered to carry the baby instead. Although she fell pregnant, Susan ended up miscarrying, and the whole incident put a great deal of
strain on Libby and Dan's marriage. Ben was devastated when they split up and Dan moved away to Sydney, and there was further trauma to come
some months later, when it was revealed that Steph had slept with Dan not long before he left and had fallen pregnant, but was pretending
that Toadie was the father, to avoid Libby finding out.
Ben found a new interest when Kate Ramsay started giving lessons to the younger kids, and decided that he wanted
to become a dancer, but his true academic potential came out when his teacher banned him from giving a speech in the school assembly, believing that
his work was too good and that he'd been cheating. When Libby met with the teacher, Elaine Rushmore, she was
surprised to see how advanced Ben's writing and storytelling had become, and started to wonder if her son was gifted, as he had also complained that
Miss Rushmore's classes weren't interesting enough. After Susan and Karl saw a book of stories that Ben had been writing, they also came around to the
idea, and Libby decided to make Ben do an online entrance test for an arts school in the country, just to prove the point. Libby was thrilled when
Ben scored in the top 95%, but was upset when Ben was offered a place and said that it was too far away, and she wouldn't be able to afford it. When
Ben saw that his mum was upset, he said that he didn't want to go, but after a chat, he admitted that he did and had only turned it down so that
his mum wouldn't be sad. The next week, Ben started at the school, with Libby coming along to make sure that her son was settled in.
• Until his Christening, Ben was credited as "Baby K.", the nickname he was given by family and the hospital staff
• Ben's middle name, Ian, was a tribute to the late Neighbours writer Ian Coughlan. Accordingly, the episode featuring Ben's christening was dedicated to Coughlan's memory. In 2009, following his mum's marriage to Daniel Fitzgerald, Ben requested to change his surname, to feel more like a part of the family
• Sean Berends took over the role for all of his 2004 appearances, while Blake O'Leary then played Ben from his 2007 return onwards
• Blake O'Leary is the younger brother of Fletcher O'Leary, who played Mickey Gannon, and previously appeared earlier in 2007 as the first actor to portray Tyler Smith
• Ben plays the baritone which is a small version of a tuba
3920-4337, 4475-4605, 4620, 5341-6004
Episode 3920: Ben's
Episode 3958: Ben's