Riley Parker Sweeney Young
Riley Parker 2007-2008
Lived: 26 Ramsay Street
Born: c. 1985
Parents: Steve and Miranda Parker (adoptive); Joanna Hale (biological)
Siblings: Bridget, Josie and Clara
Family Tree: Parker
Occupation: Student, Trainee Journalist, Erinsborough Veterinary Clinic Employee
Laidback surfer Riley spent much of his youth in foster homes before being adopted at the age of 12, along with his 6-year-old sister, Bridget (Didge for short), by vet Steve Parker and his wife, Miranda. Though grateful that his new parents had kept him and his sister together, Riley couldn’t help feeling that he wasn’t really wanted and that Steve and Miranda had only taken him on because they felt obligated after adopting Bridget. Over the years, Riley struggled to open up to his adoptive parents, simply bottling up his emotions. As he neared the end of a veterinary sciences course at university, with Steve delighted that his son was following in his footsteps, Riley realised that he needed to get away for a while and, at the age of 22, he took some time out from uni and his family to go travelling around Australia, only keeping in touch with Didge.
Whilst Riley was away, the remaining Parkers relocated from Sydney to Erinsborough, a Melbourne suburb, where Steve’s brother Ned lived, and where he planned to open up his new veterinary clinic. Miranda, meanwhile, was growing deeply upset with Riley’s lack of contact, and convinced Bridget to tell her where he was. Having found out that he was spending some time surfing in and around the coastal town of Eden, Miranda and Bridget headed up there to pay him a surprise visit. Riley was shocked to see them, and broke the news to Miranda that he had dropped out of his uni course, with no intention of returning. But after a little begging, and some emotional blackmail, from Didge, Riley did at least agree to go back with them and spend a few days in Erinsborough, following them home in his beat-up yellow van.
In Erinsborough, where the Parkers were now living with Ned, his girlfriend Janae Timmins and Ned’s young son, Mickey, Steve was delighted to see Riley back, but stunned by the news that he’d given up on his studies so close to completing them. Feeling that he was once again a disappointment, Riley started making plans to leave, but Didge caught up with him and explained that Steve and Miranda had sacrificed a lot to pay for him to go to university and, after setting up the new clinic, they were now broke. Miranda also convinced Steve to make an effort, and father and son had a chat, during which Riley admitted that he’d been writing for the uni newspaper and his plan was now to try and get into journalism. Though not convinced that this was Riley’s true vocation, particularly after he helped to treat a stray dog that was run over, Steve agreed to support his son in whatever he wanted to do.
Though happy to have Riley back home with them, Steve, and particularly Miranda, couldn’t help noticing that he was still very distant and he finally opened up about the feelings of rejection he’d been living with since he was 12. Steve and Miranda assured him that the only reason they had hesitated was because they were only expecting a six-year-old girl and hadn’t planned on adopting a young man, but their doubts had only lasted for seconds and they had never once regretted it since. Riley wasn’t convinced, however, and ended up spending the evening in Charlie’s Bar, chatting to Elle Robinson as she drowned her sorrows over her father’s new girlfriend leaving her feeling pushed out at home. She also succeeded in making Riley realise that perhaps he was being a little harsh on Steve and Miranda, so he returned to Ramsay Street and apologised to them, agreeing to stick around and try to make things work.
Despite agreeing to stay in Erinsborough, Riley made it clear that he still valued his independence and would be following his own path. He decided to start looking for his own flat, whilst also applying for a cadetship with the Erinsborough News. After impressing editor Brad Jordan, Riley was taken on as a reporter and found himself helping Elle when her dad, Paul confessed to a murder committed at Lassiter's three years earlier. Because he'd recently undergone neurosurgery, the police were unwilling to accept his confession, but Brad soon got word from the police that someone had confessed and printed a story. Worried that it wouldn't be long before her dad was in prison, Elle and Riley wrote their own story, talking about how a high percentage of murder confessions were false.
It was then Elle's turn to support Riley through a family crisis, when Bridget was involved in a hit-and-run accident. At the hospital, Riley, Steve and Miranda waited for news as Didge was taken in for emergency surgery to relieve bleeding on her brain. The delicate operation was a success, but Bridget remained unconcsious and Declan Napier was immediately blamed for the accident, his car having been spotted driving away by young Mickey. But everyone was taken by surprise when Susan Kinski, the Parkers' neighbour and Miranda's close friend, explained that she had been driving, as her husband Karl had borrowed the car for a test drive, and had blacked out, then driven off without realising she'd hit anyone. The disbelieving Parkers refused to listen to any excuses and angrily warned her that they'd make sure she was prosecuted for what she'd done. Riley decided that the best way to hurt Susan was by ruining her reputation and he printed a story about the hit-and-run, using a photo of Susan carrying a bottle of wine, amongst other groceries, in from the car, and implying that she had been drinking and driving. The story led to a brick being thrown through Susan's window, which hit her stepdaughter, Rachel. At the hospital, Rachel was treated for concussion and Riley began to see that maybe his course of action hadn't been the right one. Elle agreed, and told him about her brother Cameron who'd been knocked down and killed, leading her to take terrible revenge on Max Hoyland, who'd been driving, though it had left her feeling worse than before.
Riley then wrote a retraction, and the family were relieved when, after days of sitting by Didge's bed, reading the sports results and even sneaking in her pet kangaroo Pouch, she finally started to wake up. Though it seemed that her brain functions had returned to normal, the doctor was still worried that Didge had no feeling in the left side of her body and admitted that this might not simply be a temporary problem. Steve and Miranda allowed Didge to believe that she would recover quickly, but it was left to Riley to tell her the truth, and she threw herself into her physiotherapy, making it clear that she wasn't going to let her disability hold her back for long. Meanwhile, Riley found himself defending Elle when her ex-boyfriend Oliver started asking for tips on how to decorate the nursery for the baby he was expecting with Carmella. Riley reminded Oliver how insensitive he was being, since it was Carmella's pregnancy that had forced Oliver and Elle apart. The rivalry between the two men worsened during the Erinsborough fun run, when Riley tripped over, not far from the finishing line, just as Oliver was passing, and a fight quickly broke out, with Elle left to warn them both that she's wasn't a prize for them to brawl over.
• Sweeney Young previously appeared in 2004 as Braydden Tuffnell
• Although Riley made his final appearance in episode 5460, his voice appeared in the following episode as Nicola read his farewell letter
Episode 5280: Riley's Arrival
Biography by Steve