Alf Stewart from Home and Away: Who is Ray Meagher?

Stone the flamin' crows: Arrests! Resurrected wives! Dungeon memes! A complete guide to the lovable curmudgeon from Summer Bay

Back in January 1988, when Home and Away began, one of the original inhabitants of Summer Bay was self-made businessman Alf Stewart. 

Played by Ray Meagher, he is the only original character still a regular on the long-running soap. And thanks to his grumpy demeanour, colourful use of language and sayings—and a heart of gold—Alf has become an icon across the globe. “I just get out of bed and go to work and the lines just come out of my mouth, but having said that, it is really lovely people have taken to the character,” Meagher said to the Springfield Daily Record.

Who is Alf Stewart?

When we first met Alf, his life had fallen apart after the drowning of his first wife. The show began with him selling the caravan park to the incoming Fletcher family, who planned to foster children. Throughout the years Alf has remarried, flirted, discovered more children and grandchildren, and had many interests, mainly the bait shop, his boat, the surf club—and interfering in everyone’s lives. He’s survived earthquakes, mudslides, heart attacks, PTSD, brain tumours and assaults, just to name a few of his many dramas. 

How old is Alf Stewart?

Back in July 2005, the soap celebrated its 4000 episode with a special 60th birthday party for Alf. So that would give the colourful character an age of 73 now. Making a speech at the party, his grandson Ric (Mark Furze) described him thus: “He loves his beer and his footy and, as we all know, he loves his fishing. He hates bludgers and whingers and … bludgers. He’s not afraid of hard work and he’s the first person to give you a hand when you need help … He loves his friends and family more than words.”

Alf (Ray Meagher) and Marilyn (Emily Symons)
Alf (Ray Meagher) with Marilyn (Emily Symons), who is not his wife

Who is Alf Stewart’s wife? 

Alf’s original wife, Martha, was supposed to have drowned before the show started. Then, early on in the show’s history, he married Ailsa (Judy Nunn, she eventually went off to write bestsellers). They had a tumultuous relationship before eventually reconciling, just before Ailsa died of a heart attack after shifting some moving boxes. She would go on to taunt him posthumously a few years later, when he had visions of her (it turned out the visions were the result of a brain tumour). There have been a few flirtations for Alf since, and Alf’s not-so-dead first wife Martha (Belinda Giblin) turned up this year, but he seems to have been more focussed on the love lives of his children, foster children, and every other member of the town, than on his own.

Alf (Ray Meagher) with Sally (Kate Ritchie)
Alf (Ray Meagher) with Sally (Kate Ritchie), who is not his daughter

Who is Alf Stewart’s daughter? 

As well as playing a pivotal role as the stand-in father figure to so many in the Bay—particularly that other longstanding character, Kate Ritchie’s Sally Fletcher—technically Alf has two daughters. The official one is Roo, offspring of Alf and his first wife Martha. She was originally played by Justine Clarke as a wayward teen, now the character is performed by Georgie Parker. While young, Roo had a baby girl, who she named Martha after her mother, before Roo ran off to the US for many years. When Martha grew up she found her way back to the Bay in the form of actress Jodi Gordon.

Alf also discovered he had a daughter Quinn (played in the 1990s by Danielle Spencer), whose mother he had an affair with while he served in Vietnam. Quinn’s son Ryder (Lukas Radovich) currently lives with his grandfather in the Bay.

Alf also has two sons. Again an official one, Duncan (who has been played by many different actors over the years), with second wife Ailsa, and Owen, the child of a brief encounter and the father of the aforementioned Ric.

Further extending Alf’s family are the many children he has fostered, as well as his bickering sisters Morag (Cornelia Frances), Celia (Fiona Spence), the lesser known Barbara and half-sister Colleen.

Alf Stewart saying T-shirt
Strewth! You’d think you’d want to get Alf off your chest, not on it! (Credit: Home and Away store)

Best Alf Stewart Quotes & Sayings 

Well known for his descriptive turn-of-phrase, Alf has become famous for his Aussieness, and pretty much adding the adjective “Flamin'” to any context.

Here, some samples of his most-quoted bon mots:


Flamin’ mongrel

Stone the flamin’ crows

Yer flamin’ great galah

Give me strength!

Strike me roan!

Don’t come the raw prawn!

(For some translations, see here)

In fact Alf has has his own tab on the Home and Away store where you can buy t-shirts, mugs and keyrings with his signature Alfisms.

The expressions are stolen from genuine knockabout bushies or eccentric characters in the back of rugby sheds” Meagher has said. “Lines like ‘Stone the flamin’ crows’ are straight from the outback.

Was Alf Stewart on a snickers ad? 

Yes, indeedy. “Out of my way, you goose,” he yells before smashing into a ditch. “Who the flamin’ heck put that there?” he growls, as well as “Don’t dude me you long haired yahoo.” He is then told to eat a Snickers, “Because you’re a cranky old man when you’re hungry.”

Why are there so many parodies of Alf?

Because everything is better with a good dose of Alf. Or his alter ego Ray Meagher.

Here Meagher shows off his comedy chops in ads for Optus and helps out the poor Irish folk with a few Aussie soap acting tips.

And now, he is a sauce entrepreneur, having created his Flamin’ Hot Sauce with the help of website builder GoDaddy. “The incredible thing about this sauce is that every single cent from this has gone to a charity very dear to me called Cure Cancer Australia,” he told Now to Love. “They’re hoping to find a new cure for the disease, so it really is just so important.  GoDaddy have been wonderful – it’s not just the profits that are going to the charity, every single dime.”

Has Alf Stewart ever been arrested? 

Yes, yes, yes! Alf was always quick-tempered but his brushes with the law seem to have been more due to random circumstances. He was arrested in the late 1990s when he tried to cover for foster son Curtis and again a few years later for allegedly embezzling surf club money after he was set up by Josh West. For that, he was sent to prison for nine months but his conviction was overturned when it was discovered the judge was corrupt. Then he was arrested for the murder of Penn, the son of a jilted ex of Alf’s who overdosed after he broke up with her. Penn had been stalking Alf and causing him grief, as he blamed him for his mother’s death. After spending time in jail on remand, Alf was released on bail, and then cleared of the crime when Will admitted to Penn’s murder.

What are the most famous Alf Stewart memes?

Bizarrely there is a Facebook page devoted to Alf Stewart Memes which has 90,000 followers. It redubs Home and Away scenes of Alf depicting him as having a “rape dungeon” and captions photos of him with crude remarks but most of them are too obscene to publish.

Was Alf Stewart in the Guinness Book of Records? 

In the early naughties, the three longest serving members of Home and Away—Norman Coburn, Kate Ritchie and Meagher—were awarded a Guinness World Record for longest serving actors on an Australian series. Meagher is still on the show, nearly two decades later.

Is Alf Stewart leaving Home and Away?

There have been rumours in the last few months that Alf—say it ain’t so!—was set to bid farewell to Summer Bay, but it seems they were based on Meagher taking a break to perform in a stage production of Priscilla, Queen of the Deesert. “To my knowledge, he will be back in seven weeks’ time,” Home and Away co-star Lynne McGranger, told an Irish radio program. “Now, unless I’m in the dark about it, which I don’t think I am because … I’m sure he would have told me – he’s not retiring at all.”

In fact, Meagher informed the Brisbane Times in September that he’d just signed another three-year contract. “I probably won’t do another 30, I don’t think the good Lord would be that kind to me,” he told the Daily Telegraph earlier this year.

Ray Meagher (Alf) with his onscreen Home and Away sister Cornelia Frances (Morag) and wife Judy Nunn (Ailsa)
A thorn between two roses? Ray Meagher (Alf) with his on-air sister Cornelia Frances (Morag, left) and on-air second wife Judy Nunn (Ailsa). (Credit: Getty Images)

Everything you need to know about Ray Meagher, the man behind Alf Stewart

How old is Ray Meagher?

The man who has played Alf for over 30 years since the age of 43 was born on July 4, 1944, in Roma, Queensland, and raised on a sheep and cattle station. His first performance? At age 11, as the wicked witch in a play of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. A keen sportsman, he even represented his home state in rugby.

Perhaps the 74-year-old’s staying power comes from his farming background, not being afraid of hard work. “I have never had a day off sick in my life. I have never missed a call time. I have never turned up not knowing my lines,” he tells the Queensland Times. “I don’t think that’s saintly; that’s a requirement of doing your job.”

Is Ray Meagher married?

Yes, he married his long-term partner, Gilly, in 2010.

“We got hitched in secret, mainly because no one would really care,” he tells the UK Mirror. “We invited the couple who introduced us down for the weekend, but didn’t tell them we were getting married – we just said it was for a dinner and to bring smart-casual gear. Gilly said, ‘I’ll do flowers and catering,’ and produced a single rose and a cheese platter. What a day!”

Does Ray Meagher have any kids?

Not of his own. “When I was younger as a freelance actor, I wondered whether I’d be able to feed myself let alone anybody else,” Meagher told The Daily Telegraph of why he doesn’t have children. “It’s a funny old profession, it’s very precarious, it’s a pretty dodgy old profession employment-wise.”

But he is stepdad to Gilly’s grown children, including daughter Rebecca. “I talk to her at least once a week and see her for brekkie or brunch whenever the Home And Away schedule permits, which is maybe once a fortnight, and I love that.”

Has Ray Meagher been on any other shows or movies?

Although being in Home and Away has been pretty much a full time job since he debuted on the show’s pilot back in Jan. 1998, Meagher had previously appeared on Australian classics like Breaker Morant and The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith and in guest roles on TV favourites Prisoner and A Country Practice. He thought H&A would be a short-lived gig:“We filmed the pilot in a couple of weeks and then they said they were going to make it a series. I thought ‘that’s good, might be three months work,’ ” he told the Daily Telegraph. “That was 30 years ago. And I’m still here.”

Ray Meagher in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
(Credit: Getty Images)

In breaks from filming the soap, Meagher has done stage work, notably in UK pantomimes and is currently appearing as the mechanic in the musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.  “I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d ever do a big musical like Priscilla,” Meagher tells New Idea. “Because singing and dancing are not my forte, but I just love it!”

As for his first professional role, it was playing the back end of a horse in a kids pantomime in the early 1970s. “I had great aspirations to be the front end the next time around, so I went back for more”, he says.

Ray Meagher (Alf from Home and Away) with Logie
Ray Meagher with his Logie (Credit: Getty Images)

Has Ray Meagher won a gold Logie? 

Yes! As well as winning the 2018 Silver Logie for most popular actor for his role in Home and Away, Meagher also scored the top prize, the Gold Logie, for most popular personality, in 2010. On Australia Day 2017, Ray also won a medal for the Order of Australia. “What would I like to do next, what do I have to conquer? Honestly not much. I’m pretty happy and content,” Meagher tells Now to Love.

What is Ray Meagher’s net worth? [What is Ray Meagher salary? ]

Back in 2009, the Adelaide Advertiser listed Meagher as the third highest paid celebrity on TV, behind Edie McGuire and Rove, suggesting he earned $500,000 a year. The Idol Net Worth website lists his current net worth at $6 million, whereas Net Worth Roll puts it at $42.9 million. He has lived with his wife in a flat overlooking the harbour in Sydney’s exclusive North Shore suburb of Kirribilli for the last 20 years and has a weekender at Sunshine Beach.

Alf (Ray Meagher) with resurrected first wife, Martha (Belinda Goblin), and their daughter Roo (Georgie Parker, who took on the role originally played by Justine Clarke)

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