Cornelia Frances

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Cornelia Frances
Cornelia Frances.jpg
Frances at the 2011 Logie Awards
Born Cornelia Frances Zulver
(1941-04-07) 7 April 1941 (age 76)
Liverpool, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Occupation Actress
Years active 1970–present
Notable work Grace Scott in The Young Doctors, Barbara Hamilton in Sons and Daughters, Morag Bellingham in Home And Away
Spouse(s) Michael Eastland (1969–?) (divorced)
Children Lawrence Eastland (b. 1971)

Cornelia Frances (born 7 April 1941) is an English-born Australian actress of stage, television and film, and quiz host and voice artist, best known for her acting career in Australia after emigrating there in 1970, particularly her television soap opera roles with portrayals of nasty characters such as Sister Grace Scott on Nine Network series The Young Doctors, as Barbara Hamilton on Sons and Daughters and her itinerant role of Morag Bellingham in Home and Away since its inception, both on Network Seven, as well as the film version of The Box. She was hostess of the Australian version of game show The Weakest Link.

Early life and personal life[edit]

Born as Cornelia Frances Zulver in Liverpool, England, she was educated at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Her early work was in British-made feature films as an extra and bit-part player. This included bit parts in two films directed by her uncle Michael Powell: Peeping Tom (1960), and The Queen's Guards (1961). Frances has one son, named Lawrence.

Emigration and career in Australia[edit]

Frances' acting career flourished after she had emigrated to Australia. After taking a lead role in the film version of sex-comedy soap opera The Box in 1975 she became known across Australia for her long running role of the strict and acidic Sister Grace Scott in daily soap opera The Young Doctors. After leaving that series to move to Melbourne with her husband who had been transferred there, she worked as a television reporter on "light" stories for a current affairs program hosted by Peter Couchman.

During this period she also made a brief appearance in Prisoner which was taped in the same studio as the Couchman show. Later she acted in guest starring television roles, before taking another well-remembered role, that of Barbara Armstrong (later Hamilton) in Sons and Daughters, a role she played from 1982 until 1986. She also hosted the Australian version of quiz show The Weakest Link (2001–2002) and provided the voice of Tortoise on the Australian/Chinese children's series, Magic Mountain. In the early 2000s Frances worked for a winery in the Hunter Valley when she could not get acting work. Her autobiography And what have you done lately? was published in 2003.

Home and Away[edit]

In 1988, Frances made her first appearance in Home and Away as Morag Bellingham, a judge and sister of Alf Stewart (Ray Meagher). Frances has played the recurring role of Morag for twenty-nine years.[1] She has expressed a desire to play Morag full-time on the show and admitted that she does not like the coming and going as it is "very unsettling."[2]


In 2011, Frances joined the Australian Orangutan Project (AOP) as its first Ambassador in an effort to raise awareness about critically endangered orangutans. Frances travelled to the island of Borneo, Indonesia on Sunday 16 October 2011 to see the first hand effect of the widespread deforestation of orangutan habitat, and how orangutans are being rehabilitated. In June 2016 Cornelia made a sizable donation to the National Health Organisation in order to bring awareness to female reproductive health.


Selected film[edit]


Year Title Role
1970 Dynasty Georgina Clausen
1971–1972 Catwalk Cornelia Heyson
1973 Boney Stella Borredale
1973 Ryan Amelia
1974 Essington Unknown Role
1974 Silent Number Ivy
1974, 1975 Division 4 Angela Ward (1974) and Sandra (1975)
1975 The Last Rites Unknown
1974, 1975 Matlock Police Catherine Upton (1974) and Barbara Anderson (1975)
1976 Murcheson Creek Unknown
1976–1978 The Young Doctors Sister Grace Scott
1976 The Lost Islands Elizabeth Quinn
1974–1976 Homicide Julie Kurnow
1976 King's Men Unknown
1977 All At Sea Miss Swallow
1977 The Outsiders Mrs. Foster
1978 Tickled Pink Joan Jefferson
1979 Skyways Susan Winters
1980 Prisoner Carmel Saunders
1981 Run Rebecca, Run Member for Southdown
1981 Bellamy Aretha
1981 Punishment Cathy Wells
1982 Runaway Island Agatha McLeod
1982 Outbreak of Hostilities Miriam
1980–1982 Kingswood Country Doctor
1982–1986 Sons and Daughters Barbara Hamilton
1987 Future Past Mother
1987 Jackal and Hide Madame Zentha
1988–89, 1993
2001–09, 2011–13
Home and Away Morag Bellingham
1991 Pirates Island Captain Blackheart
1995 The Ferals Teacher
1997–1998 Magic Mountain Tortoise
2001–2002 The Weakest Link Herself/Host
2002–2003 Always Greener Janet Frawley
2006 Milly, Molly Aunt Maude (voice role)


  1. ^ "She came home, now she's gone away again". Herald Sun. The Herald and Weekly Times. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  2. ^ Rainey, Naomi (9 March 2011). "Frances: 'I want Morag to stay in H&A'". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 

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