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Elspeth Ballantyne (born 20 April 1939) is a former Australian actress, who appeared in productions over a career that spanned some 50 years. She is perhaps best known for her soap opera roles as compassionate prison officer Meg Jackson/ Morris in Prisoner (1979–1986) and as coffee shop owner Cathy Alessi in Neighbours (1992–93).

Elspeth Ballantyne
Born (1939-04-20) 20 April 1939 (age 80)
Years active1963–2013
Known forPrisoner as Meg Morris, (nee Jackson)
Neighbours as Cathy Alessi
Dennis Miller
(m. 1968; div. 1977)



Ballantyne was born into a show business family in Adelaide, South Australia, and is the daughter of Colin Sandergrove Ballantyne[1] an Australian actor, playwright and photographer who was head of the South Australian Theatre Company. Having started her career as a laboratory technician with the Royal Adelaide Hospital, she then attended the prestigious drama school, the National Institute for Dramatic Arts. She went on to act as librarian Lori Chandler in the rural soap opera Bellbird, screened on ABC.[2]

Ballantyne subsequently played compassionate prison officer Meg Jackson in the soap opera Prisoner. Ballantyne was the only actor to stay with the series for its entire eight-year run. She later reprised her famous role of Meg in the original stage tour of Prisoner: Cell Block H – The Stage Play, which toured the UK in 1989.

In the early 1990s, she had a stint in Channel Ten soap opera Neighbours, as part of the Italian Alessi family. She later appeared in feature films The Caterpillar Wish as Mrs. Woodbridge, and in Moonlight & Magic as thrift shop owner Desma. In the latter, she was reunited with former Prisoner co-stars Maxine Klibingaitis and Reylene Pearce. Ballantyne also appeared in the drama short film Twenty Five Cents (2007), and as the wheelchair-bound matriarch in the short The Last Tupper (2011). She played Maxine in the Boronia movies Boronia Boys (2009) and Boronia Backpackers (2011) and Paper Giants: Magazine Wars in 2013.

Personal lifeEdit

Ballantyne was married to actor Dennis Miller, to whom she was married from 1968 to 1977. Together they have two sons, Matthew and Tobias.[3] She is the sister of film producer Jane Ballantyne.



  1. ^ Peter Ward (2007). "Ballantyne, Colin Sandergrove (1908-1988)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  2. ^ "Elspeth Ballantyne Biography - Rotten Tomatoes".
  3. ^ "Life as a Single Parent" – TV Week, issue published 7 August 1982, p.13. Article by Paulyne Pogorelske.

External linksEdit