Vale: Ernie Bourne

By David Knox on January 21, 2009 / Filed Under News 15

Character actor Ernie Bourne, best known as ‘Fester Fumble’ in the ABC children’s show Adventure Island, has died, aged 82.

Bourne was an all-round performer appearing in television, stage and film.

Television audiences saw him appear in Blue Heelers, Thunderstone, and Good Guys, Bad Guys. He played the ongoing role of Mervin Pringle in Prisoner (pictured), and played the role of Rob Lewis in Neighbours. His CV includes a string of classic Australian shows including Homicide, Matlock Police, Division 4, Cash & Company, Bluey, Cop Shop and Carson’s Law.

In 1967 Mr Bourne appeared in the first ever sitcom produced by ATV0 Melbourne, Hey You as conman claiming to be an ex-army sergeant.

His film credits included Gallipoli, Quigley Down Under, The True Story of Eskimo Nell, The Picture Show Man, Squizzy Taylor and Libido.

He also appeared in many stage musicals, playing Mordichai in Fiddler On The Roof opposite Topol, and he created the role of Maurice in the Australian production of Disney’s Beauty And The Beast and the role of Sir Jasper Tring in Me And My Girl. He has also had roles in the musicals They’re Playing Our Song, Mame, Mack And Mabel and Anything Goes. He also played the role of Sancho Panza in Man Of La Mancha and was highly acclaimed for his performance as Nicely Johnson in Guys And Dolls.

Mr Bourne appeared in many plays and performed with both the Melbourne & Sydney Theatre Companies and at St Martins Theatre in Melbourne. He was nominated for an Erik Award for his performance in the Tom Stoppard play, Enter A Free Man.

Daughter Sally Bourne, who was Australia’s original Annie in the 1970’s hit stage musical, follows in her father’s showbiz footsteps, currently appearing in Shane Warne: The Musical.

NB: TV Tonight is advised birthdate as listed in IMDb is incorrect.


  1. Danny April 23, 2010 at 11:58 pm -

    I first saw Mr Bourne as Fester Fumble in 1972 when i was 3 years old. I then saw the familiar face of Mr Bourne some time later in Neighbours and immidiately recognised him as Fester Fumble. It is now 2010 and i just googled Fester Fumble to see if this character actually existed. Thank god for the internet. I am saddened to find he has passed on. Rest in Peace Fester Fumble your face is unique and etched in my mind for as long as i can remember my self….I loved that show.

  2. Rose Calic January 21, 2010 at 1:23 pm -

    Treasured memories of a Precious Soul, “Ernie Bourne”! (21/01/2010)
    Never to be forgotten as a perfect Host, outstanding performer aTrue Gentleman.
    Attending your last performance ‘Dirty Dancing’, with your gorgeous daughter
    Elise, a highlight.

  3. melanie james May 19, 2009 at 10:56 pm -

    I loved fester fumble -when i was a child and follow ernie’s films and tv show he was the best – where the penny weathers – is a classic of ernie’s – he was a tresure and I was so sorry to hear he had passed a way — He will be sadly missed he now has charles bud tingwell as a back up – with him in heaven !! he was a pleasure to watch act and proform on film and on tv !! and stage too Im sure — may god bless you ernie and keep you happy and safe and well – and may your proform to millions every night in heaven and get all the holidays of you want – keep them laughing and entertained in heaven and leave em smiling as you did Here In australia – god bless you rip – vale ernie bourne !! and many thank you for all the joy you brought me ! thank you melanie xoxox

  4. Ian McLean January 23, 2009 at 11:53 am -

    I have a Sir Jasper Crookly pic (“Magic Circle Club”) on my blog.

    Vale Sir Jasper!

  5. Jimmy January 23, 2009 at 8:44 am -

    thanks scott for actually answering my question!

  6. Steven Hannam January 22, 2009 at 11:35 pm -

    I loved Ernie in those commercials with that young guy Bryce Flannery in the sportsmart commercials..

  7. Scott January 22, 2009 at 9:25 pm -

    Loved Ernie on Neighbours … taught Charlene everything she knew about mechanics.

    PS: Jimmy, vale means farewell

  8. michael January 22, 2009 at 4:14 pm -

    funnily enough I am watching Erine playing Mervyn Pringle at the moment in Prisoner on DVD

  9. fizzin January 22, 2009 at 1:52 pm -

    Imdeed: Vale: Ernie Bourne, a champion

  10. paul January 22, 2009 at 12:39 pm -

    I had the honor of working with ernie on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast for 2 1/2 years….
    An amazing talent, comedian,and soul who will be sadly missed..

  11. Mark January 22, 2009 at 5:01 am -

    RIP Ernie, a real gentleman. Thanks for the laughs!

  12. Paul January 21, 2009 at 11:28 pm -

    Gutted to learn of the passing of the man who portrayed the wonderfully legend-based Rob Lewis during Neighbours’ golden era.

    RIP Ernie.

  13. Jimmy January 21, 2009 at 10:52 pm -

    man what a january… RIP. btw, I keep forgetting to ask, but what does Vale mean?

  14. stevie g January 21, 2009 at 9:29 pm -

    Adventure Island was my first tv love as a wee lad in the early 70s. I remember Ernie as Fester Fumble and also as Rob Lewis in Neighbours.

  15. Berrie January 21, 2009 at 7:50 pm -

    Vale Ernie Bourne – a talented man and a beautiful spirit who will be sadly missed. Now Headlining at the Heavenly Footlighters Club.

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