John Palmer
Occupation Councelor, Lifeguard, Bus Driver
Residence 33 Saxon Avenue
Gender Male
Relationships Jenena Palmer (ex-wife, -2009)
Gina Austin (wife, deceased, 2010-13)
Marilyn Chambers (wife, 2014- )
Family Shandi Palmer (daughter)
Xavier Austin (stepson)
Hugo Austin (stepson)
Brendan Austin (stepson)
Jett Palmer (adoptive son)
Skye Peters (foster daughter)
Jordan Walsh (foster son)
First Appearance 27 March 2009
Portrayed by Shane Withington
Rex Palazzi (young)

John Palmer is the son of George Palmer and Enid Palmer. He's the ex-husband of Jenena Palmer. He's also the husband of Gina Austin and Marilyn Chambers.

He's the stepfather to Gina's sons, Hugo Austin, Brendan Austin, Xavier Austin and Jenena's son, Trey Palmer. He's also the father of Shandi Palmer and the adoptive father of his foster son, Jett James.


John married Jenena and he became stepfather to Trey. When Trey is institutionalized after suffering a breakdown, John and Jenena's marriage breaks down and they both leave town. John returns and he is elected to the local council and he buys the gym.

When John insults Romeo Smith one day, Mink Carpenter punches him. A few weeks later Romeo's mother, Jill Carpenter (Josephine Mitchell), arrives in town and she and John have a brief relationship.

John begins a relationship with Gina Austin, which makes her son, Xavier unhappy. Things between John and Xavier become tense, but they eventually start to get on. John proposes to Gina, but, to his shock, he is rejected.

Shandi Ayres (Samantha Tolj) comes to the Bay and tells John that she is his daughter. When Bianca Scott runs out of her wedding to Vittorio Seca, Gina whispers in John's ear to say there will be a wedding between John and herself.

They marry and John runs out of the chapel with Gina in his arms. John later discovers Shandi is actually a con woman called Daria Hennesy. His real daughter, Shandi Palmer turns up and they meet.

John organises the surf carnival and becomes competitive against the Mangrove River team. However the event ends in his competitor's captain, Gary collapsing from a heart attack. John supports Gina through her many problems with Xavier when he wants attend festivals and moves to the countryside.

John is present during a fight which erupts in the surf club involving the River Boys. He is punched to the ground and kicked in the face. While recovering at home a storm crosses Summer Bay. John is left home alone when his spleen ruptures as a result of the attack. He tries to call for help but passes out. Sasha Bezmel enters the Austin house for shelter, finding John unconscious on the floor. She calls him an ambulance and after surgery he is sent home to recover.

John begins a feud with Harvey Ryan (Marcus Graham) when they both enter the local election. John is angry when Harvey tries to get him fired from his bus driving job. Harvey wins the election. John invests money in the resort for Dennis Harling. Harvey later ruins the plans for the resort. John asks for his money from Dennis, but he flees without paying him back. Gina is angry that John did not feel he could tell her about the investment.

John and Gina begin arguing and John briefly moves in with Alf Stewart. Marilyn Chambers and Roo Stewart get annoyed with his laziness and they convince Gina to take him back. John encounters Jett James when he steals from people on the beach. Jett later steals from Marilyn and John reports him to the police. Gina invites Jett to stay when his mother dies and he starts to bond with the family. Xavier decides to move away to be closer to the police academy.

John then takes Jett under his wing and he and Gina decide to foster him. Jett meets his father, Richard Bozic, who initially rejects him. John starts to train Jett for the swim carnival, leading Gina to think that he is trying to take Jett's mind off his father. Gina tricks John and Jett into talking to school counsellor, Natalie Davison. John becomes annoyed with Gina, but they eventually reconcile.

John and Gina plan to adopt Jett, but Richard gets in touch and states that he wants his son. Gina and John say goodbye to Jett, but a couple of weeks later, Richard allows him to return. John thinks that Gina and Jett are leaving him out of their celebrations. He confides in Marilyn and they get drunk. He lies to Gina and says that he got drunk in a meeting, but Marilyn accidentally reveals the truth. Gina confronts John over being dishonest and she later accuses Marilyn of having an affair with John. He moves out but Gina asks him to return when he injures himself doing maintenance on the house.

Gina and John decide to adopt Jett. Richard flies in and tells them that he does not want to give up on his son. This angers Jett and he accuses Richard of not wanting anyone else to have him. Richard relents and the adoption goes ahead. However, on the drive to the court to finalize the adoption, Gina begins suffering from a headache and hallucinations of herself. Gina suddenly stops the car, falls unconscious and dies from an aneurysm. After Gina's death John begins a relationship with Marilyn. Marilyn and John start up there own tourist bus business which transports people all over Summer Bay showing them the sites.

In 2016, John suffered a head injury which he ignores and started setting fires, starting with Evelyn's fundraiser, Brody Morgan's car, the garage and eventually, the festival that Evelyn had set up which caused a giant bushfire. The bushfire smoke gave pregnant Billie Ashford breathing probless and following Luc's birth had started coughing blood.

After VJ and Billie married before the latter died from the effects, John told Raffy Morgan off for leaving a water bottle behind, tried to set another fire, but was scared off by Alf, leaving his lighter with his fingerprints on it. Later at home, he had a seizure and was told by Nate Cooper that he has a brain tumour as a result of the ignored head injury. Following the operation to remove it, Kat Chapman charged John for the fire and Billie's murder. At his trial, despite Morag's support, Nate's findings and VJ's testimony, he was found guilty and got 15 years.


  • John's portrayer, Shane Withington previously starred on Home and Away as Colin Page in 2006.