Simone McAullay, one of the newest recruits on Australia’s most popular and longest running drama, Blue Heelers, has made herself one of the Blue Heelers family already. Perhaps we should not call her a new recruit, as at the time of writing she has been on the show for more than a year. And in that time her character, Susie Raynor, has become one of Mt Thomas’s most loved cops, and is sure to remain a favourite now and always.
Simone McAullay hails from Western Australia, where she was born on April 14th, 1976. She grew up in the southern suburbs of Perth, attending Shelley Primary School, and as a child studied classical ballet, jazz and calisthensics. As she grew older, the passion for dance left her, and she began learning the cello and playing volleyball for Rossmoyne Senior High School, the highschool she attended. She excelled in volleyball and represented Australia for a number of years in the sport.
Upon the completion of highschool, she enrolled in Curtin University, good marks in year 12 ensuring she easily gained a place there, but she decided to hold off for a year, and explore outside of Western Australia. After brief stints in Adelaide and Byron Bay when she was 18, she explored even further for several years after that, spending time in England, Spain, France and Thailand. She returned to Western Australia for her 21st birthday.
It was after this that the acting bug bit Simone, when she read about The Actors Centre in Sydney, New South Wales. Simone had never acted before, and was therefore very much the novice, but took the risk and moved to Sydney. She was accepted into the course at The Actors Centre and went on to successfully graduate from there in late 2000. Upon graduating, a series of roles of every size were to come Simone’s way. A ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ part in the film ‘Invincible’ with Billy Zane was just one, and Simone began to taste the sweetness of success more intensely as time went on. She appeared in a play with the Belvoir Street Theatre Company in Sydney, scored a small role in an American film, and appeared in many television commercials, including one that is still shown on TV today, for Scott Park Homes in Western Australia.
But it was her role as a backpacker in the pay TV series Crash Palace that really put Simone in the spotlight. In this show she played a daring, vivacious Scottish backpacker named Angie McIntyre, and pay TV audiences loved her. Free to air viewers were not so lucky though, and never got to see the series, thus missing Simone in her first major role.
When the departure of Blue Heelers Caroline Craig was announced in early 2003, the words on everyone’s lips were who would replace her. Several actresses were possibilities, but Simone scored the lucky role in April 2003, and joined the other characters of the station in her first episode just a few weeks after Caroline Craig’s final episode was aired. Simone’s character, Susie Raynor, came to Mt Thomas with her husband, Brad, a paraplegic, in tow, and soon became friends with all in the station. Simone too was welcomed warmly into the well known Blue Heelers family of cast and crew.
Simone’s first episode, ‘The Lowest of the Low’, aired on the 24th of September 2003, and it was clear she made a spectacular debut. By the years end she had lost her on screen husband, played by Matt Passmore, and viewers eagerly awaited the 2004 season opener to see the repercussions of his death. In late 2004 the characters of Susie and Ben became romantically involved, a major frustration for viewers, who had been hanging on for months to see the spark between Susie and Jonesy properly ignite. The fist spot of evidence that there was something between these two characters appeared in the first few months of 2004, and viewers had been waiting ever since. Frustration reigned however, and Susie became involved with Ben, and poor Jonesy was left in the dark. However, viewers hopes were rekindled when, in the 2004 season finale, Jonesy and Susie shared a kiss under the mistletoe. With this in mind, viewers eagerly awaited the start of season 12 in 2005, but were sorely disappointed when 2005 turned out to be the worst year yet for our favourite couple.
After Blue Heelers, Simone appeared in a Berri Juice commercial alongside Ron Moss, which her former castmate, Ditch Davey, narrated.