Joan Sydney (born 5 September 1938) [1] ​, is a British Australian actress, best known for her work in radio and television serials and soap operas, of the latter best known as Valda Sheergold, in serial Neighbours and previously as Maggie Sloan in A Country Practice


Joan Sydney was born in London, England and has had a long career in all genres of the entertainment industry, including radio, television, mini-series and made for television films, as well as prominent roles in many theatre productions including Cat on a Hot Tin Roof , Talking Heads and the comedy play Dirty Dusters .

After appearing on stage and film in her native Britain, she immigrated to Australia, where she has been a staple of the small screen since 1978. She remains best known for her long-running Logie Award -winning role as Margaret "Maggie" Sloan' , matron of the fictional Wandin Valley Hospital in the Seven Network drama A Country Practice from 1983 until 1990. Sydney won won the Silver Logie Award for Most Popular Actress for her performance in 1989.

In 1993, after twelve seasons on air, it was announced that A Country Practice was being cancelled, but Network Ten picked it up soon afterwards. Production was relocated from ( Pitt Town, NSW) to ( Emerald, Victoria) and, after having spent time in her native England, Sydney returned to reprise her role as Matron Sloan, along with former cast member the late- Joyce Jacobs (Esme Watson). The Network Ten series was not a success however and was abruptly cancelled after 29 episodes.

Joan Sydney went on to another popular soap opera, playing publican Mary Patchett in E Street . Later, she played the role of Valda Sheergold in the long-running serial Neighbours between 2002 and 2008, originally on a semi-regular recurring basis, before becoming a permanent member of the cast for the 2007-2008 season.

In 1987 Joan Sydney starred in a movie-length pilot episode for the subsequently unmade series Sisterly Love . She also had guest roles in many other programs including Mother and Son , All Saints , Something in the Air and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries .

She played the role of Cliff Young’s mother in the 2013 telemovie Cliffy , based on the life of Australian athlete Cliff Young.

Personal life

Sydney's son Tony Braxton-Smith, was the former CEO of Great Southern Rail. [2]