Brendan came from a working class family in Adelaide. His mother ran a cake shop and his father, a plumber, expected Brendan to join the family business. However, after the death of his twin brother, Sean, from asthma Brendan decided to enter the field of medicine. He trained as a nurse at the Queen Victoria Hospital in Adelaide. It was there that he met Melissa Smithers, a dress designer who was being treated for a broken leg. He took to calling her Molly because Melissa was "such a mouthful".
Molly was a snooty upper-crust young lady from Adelaide but Brendan brought out the softer side of her. After they married, they decided to move to the country and bought a small hobby farm in Wandin Valley. When they bought their farm, they inherited Doris, a pig with a slight drinking problem and ultimately a wide variety of other animals, including chooks and a snake called Jewels who slept in their chimney. Molly's mother was not happy about their frugal living conditions and she always brought the most ridiculous luxury items to them whenever she came to visit...a chandelier ended up hanging in the pig pen. Brendan went to work as a nurse in the hospital and Molly looked after everything on the farm, often with terrible results. They became very close friends with Simon Bowen and Vicky Dean.
Molly and Brendan had a daughter, Chloe, and, very very briefly, a son they named Christopher...Molly fell off a ladder during the later stages of her pregnancy, causing her to go into labour much too early. After a brief fight for life, the baby died and their marriage nearly didn't survive because Brendan blamed Molly for the baby's death. Molly was diagnosed with leukemia when Vicky was pregnant and died at home while Brendan and Chloe were flying a kite -- she was lying on a couch in the yard watching them when death claimed her and the last thing you saw and heard was Brendan running toward her and yelling before the picture faded to black.
After Molly's death, Brendan took to drinking and Matron Sloan was forced to fire him. He met school teacher Sarah Anderson at the hospital during a false fire alarm. Their romance developed on a camping trip but before anything could happen, she found out she was being posted to Albury. He initially let her go without him but his friends eventually convinced him to go after her. In a letter to Shirley, Brendan wrote that they got married.