The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - AM­BER MACPHER­SON

South­east Queens­land is the place that Con­rad Coleby calls home. For his char­ac­ter Matthew on Fox­tel pe­riod drama se­ries A Place To Call Home, it’s a fic­tional ru­ral coun­try town in New South Wales called In­ver­ness.

While Con­rad is al­ways wel­come at his par­ents’ Talle­budgera Val­ley house, not far from his child­hood city of Bris­bane, it’s a dif­fer­ent, dis­turb­ing story on screen.

With sea­son six pre­mier­ing last Sun­day, this chap­ter delves into life after the death of one of the main char­ac­ters, Dou­glas God­dard, and his es­tranged, only sur­viv­ing son (played by Con­rad) ap­pear­ing in the trou­bled coun­try town.

Play­ing the role of son Matthew God­dard was made even more real by the fact it was his real-life dad Robert Coleby play­ing Dou­glas.

“We learned there’s been a dis­agree­ment with my char­ac­ter and my fa­ther’s char­ac­ter,” Con­rad says.

“In a mo­ment of anger, he said that he thought the wrong son died, and Matt takes it to heart, and they never speak again.

“It made it quite easy to act some of those mo­ments where I’d lost my fa­ther – it’s not hard to imag­ine how aw­ful that would be.

“(But) it’s com­pletely dif­fer­ent to our re­la­tion­ship in real life. I ab­so­lutely love my fa­ther to death.

“It def­i­nitely made me think about that as a con­cept (my fa­ther dy­ing). I didn’t want to wade into that too deeply.”

A Place To Call Home is set in post-war Aus­tralia of the 1950s, where do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, al­co­holism, re­li­gious in­tol­er­ance and ho­mo­sex­ual bash­ings were com­mon­place.

When Con­rad’s char­ac­ter Matthew ar­rives, his au­then­tic­ity is al­most a breath of fresh air in a com­mu­nity of ma­nip­u­la­tors and bro­ken souls.

“He’s got a very strong moral code,” Con­rad says.

“You have to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for your mis­takes and my char­ac­ter looks down very strongly on peo­ple who don’t.

“We see a lot of that come out in sea­son six and we saw more about his back­story about why he is that way.”

As it’s the fi­nal sea­son, Con­rad says some char­ac­ters fi­nally face their demons, while oth­ers re­ceive some lon­gawaited re­lief.

“All of the char­ac­ters, their chick­ens come home to roost for them,” he says. “Things that have been in play in their sto­ry­lines, we see clo­sure, and the neg­a­tive things come back to haunt them.”

Con­rad says it was a joy to work on set with Noni Ha­zle­hurst, who plays the wife of the late Dou­glas.

“She’s fab­u­lous. She’s like Aus­tralia’s earth mother,” he says.

“Noni is so across sto­ries, she can even get one-ups on the writ­ers some­times. She’s an ab­so­lute master of story and char­ac­ter.

“She gives so much, I can in­stantly find a re­al­ity in those mo­ments straight away.”

While he only had a short stint on A Place To Call Home – sea­son six and half of sea­son five – Con­rad says he’s happy with his time on the show, and knows all good things must come to an end.

“I’m def­i­nitely wish­ing it could con­tinue,” he says.

“I’m more so sad for the show as a whole com­ing to an end. Es­pe­cially see­ing this first episode of the sixth sea­son – it’s a great piece of Aus­tralian drama.”

Be­sides, when you have fam­ily in the Gold Coast hin­ter­land, do you need any other place to call home?

“My par­ents still live here, so I come up here when­ever it suits for a pro­duc­tion,” Con­rad says. “I just love com­ing back. “As soon as you get up here, you feel the warmth and peo­ple say good morn­ing to each other.”

A Place To Call Home airs ev­ery Sun­day at 8.30pm on Fox­tel’s Show­case


Con­rad Coleby stars in the fi­nal sea­son of Fox­tel pe­riod drama se­ries A Place to Call Home.

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