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Guest Character Profiles > Barbara Young Rona McLeod, Diana Greentree

Barbara Young 1986, 1987, 1989
Marital Status: David Young
Children: Mike
Family Tree: Young

The battered wife of David Young, and mother to Mike, Barbara Young always justified her husband’s violent mood swings by claiming that she or Mike were at fault. The situation only got worse as Mike found a new job and began camping out at the Coffee Shop to avoid going home. One day, Barbara turned up at the shop and warned Daphne Lawrence that she was in the wrong by encouraging a young man to stay away from his parents. However, when Mike went home, another violent argument broke out, and Mike pushed his father to the ground, before walking out, thinking he’d killed him. The next day, Barbara and David visited Mike at 22 Ramsay Street, where he’d stayed with Daphne and her housemate Clive Gibbons. Barbara continued to stick up for her husband, and left with him when Mike announced that he wouldn’t return home. Later that day, Barbara returned with Mike’s things, and told him that if he didn’t go home with her now, he would never be welcome again. Mike refused to go with her, and Barbara cut off contact completely.

However, some weeks later, it was revealed that fortnightly cheques to help pay for Mike’s board had been coming from Barbara, without the knowledge of her husband. When Clive contacted David Young to find out why the cheques had stopped, Barbara’s secret was uncovered and he forced her to stop sending money. This meant that Mike would have to drop out of school and get a full-time job, until his girlfriend Nikki Dennison pointed out that he was eligible for an Austudy grant. This would mean that Mike’s father would have to sign a letter to say that he refused to support his son. Mike was shocked when his father said that he wouldn’t send such a letter, so Nikki went to see Barbara to plead with her. That same day, Barbara turned up in Ramsay Street with the letter and said that she hoped this would bring an end to the whole affair.

A year later, another argument led to David dying suddenly at home in the kitchen. Barbara was in a state of shock, and Mike visited her. She told him that she wasn’t sure how she’d cope with no money and a house to run. Mike agreed to move back in, and defer uni to get a job and help her out. Things got off to a bad start when Barbara refused to allow Mike’s dog Bouncer into the house, and he had to return to stay with the Clarkes. However, when David’s will revealed that he’d left a large sum of money, Barbara’s tune changed completely. She announced that she’d be leasing the house and going on a trip around the world. Mike returned to stay with the Clarkes, aware that his mother had only wanted him around when he was useful to her.

In 1989, Barbara returned to Ramsay Street, after Des contacted her to remind her that Mike's 21st birthday was coming up. Mike was thrilled to see her again, but it wasn't long before Des realised why she'd really cut short her world travels - she'd run out of money and, since Mike was turning 21 and no longer needed it, she wanted the money from his trust fund. When Mike told his mum that he'd used the money to help pay the medical bills of a former girlfriend, Jenny Owens, who'd been crippled in a bike accident, Barbara was horrified and lashed out at her son. He asked her to leave, the night before his birthday, and, despite Barbara's claims that she had wanted to use the money on a flat for her to share with her son, he sent her packing and she left to stay with her sister, Jean.

A few months later, Mike received the shocking news that Barbara had been injured in a light plane crash over the Kimberleys in Western Australia, and, despite all their problems, he left Ramsay Street to look after her.

Notes: Rona McLeod returned to the series four years later to play Felicity Brent. Diana Greentree took over the role of Barbara when the character returned to the series in 1987. Diana had previously played Emily Slater in 1985, and returned in 1998 as Rose Kirk, mother of Drew.

Biography by Steve