The Block: Tree Change: meet the cast
Here are the 5 teams renovating on the massive property in Gisborne South on Nine.
Season 18 of The Block: Tree Change on Nine is set in Gisborne South with five homes each on 10 acres of land. Yes, really.
Executive producer and co-creator Julian Cress had the idea for the Tree Change series after he and his family did exactly that, moving from Melbourne during the COVID lockdowns. He hopes Tree Change will inspire viewers to “think regional”, as well as showcasing an incredible part of Australia.
The houses in Tree Change will have a seven-star energy rating and be built to design specifications that have sustainability and resilience in mind.
Scott Cam will for the first time build his own house to inspire the couples and to create a space for them to come together.
“When I arrived on site for the first time, I thought to myself we had done a lot of big Blocks in the past but nothing like this – it’s massive,” Scott said.
“We are building our own little town, and at times that’s daunting. But we have a terrific bunch of contestants who give it a red-hot crack.”
Co-host, Shelley Craft, added, “With these rolling paddocks and so much space out in the country, this season of The Block is certainly something that Aussies will fall in love with,” Shelley said.
Judges Shaynna Blaze, Neale Whitaker and Darren Palmer also return with foremen duo – Keith Schleiger and Dan Reilly.
The Auction Day winner will take home $100,000 on top of their profits.
Ankur & Sharon
Regulars on Melbourne’s glamorous social scene, Ankur and Sharon are the first to admit that a construction site is something very foreign to them. But every step of the way, despite the challenges, they will stick by each other. They are set to provide lots of colour and movement to The Block, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. Proud Australians of Indian heritage, they want to be positive role models for their community on this series.
It’s safe to say that out of all our couples, Ankur and Sharon have the least experience when it comes to building a house. Sharon will use her time living in South Australia on a rural property to fill in for their lack of renovation experience.
“I grew up on a farm and I’m a fix-it girl – that’s how my dad taught me,” Sharon said.
Ankur, 41, accountant
A likeable accountant, Ankur admits The Block is something so incredibly foreign to him that this is actually part of its appeal. Melbourne’s multiple lockdowns also inspired him to have a crack at The Block.
“This is something so out of my comfort zone,” he said. “With accounting it’s something you fall into, and you do it because it’s a safe and stable income. But after the lockdowns I really wanted to grow and do something different and completely random, and what better way to do that than go on The Block?”
Ankur’s late father, from Adelaide, is his inspiration.
“My whole life he was blind, but he was also fiercely independent. He always said, ‘Never be the victim’ – it doesn’t matter what your disability is, you can achieve whatever you want to.”
Sharon, 35 lawyer/actor
Sharon might already be known to many fans of The Block, as she played the role of Dipi Rebecchi for four years on Neighbours.
Fierce and unafraid to express her opinions, she’ll be no shrinking violet among her new neighbours. Sharon is an advocate for women to freeze their eggs, after having a miscarriage last year.
“I think this is really important to talk about,” she said. “We are happily married, we were trying to have a baby, and it didn’t work out. So as we wanted a bit more time, I froze my eggs.”
Dylan & Jerry
Dylan and Jenny are engaged and hope to tie the knot in March next year. They met years ago while working in the Canadian ski resort town of Whistler. They might always be sweet and smiling, but they are on The Block to take it seriously and are not afraid of hard work.
This couple were building their own home in Palm Beach on the Gold Coast when they got the call to be on The Block. Dylan is a builder and Jenny works with him as an apprentice tradie – a first for The Block. They recently started their own building company called Smooth Sailing Designs. They know what to do when it comes to renovating a house.
“We are building our own dream home in Palm Beach, getting married and now doing this. It’s an amazing time,” Jenny said.
Dylan, 28, builder
For Dylan, building houses has always been in the family.
“My dad is a builder and I have grown up watching him,” he explains. “Now that I’m a builder it felt natural to apply for The Block as it’s something I have always wanted to challenge myself with.”
Dylan is a hard worker who plans to throw everything he can into The Block, as he realises it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Jenny, 25, apprentice chippy
A proud female tradie, Jenny wants to show Australia and young girls that the building industry can be a great career for a woman.
“When I tell people I am doing my apprenticeship they always say you don’t build, you don’t do anything. But I do – I do everything,” she says.
Jenny has worked in childcare, as a dental assistant, and she was a ski instructor in Whistler, before deciding to make it in the construction game. She is looking forward to getting on the tools – the first time The Block has ever featured a female tradie.
Omar & Oz
Best mates Omar and Oz are proud family men wanting to make a difference for their kids. For their first few weeks on The Block, the practising Muslims were observing Ramadan while taking on all the challenges around them. They realise that visibility on television is important for young Muslim Australians.
“We are Muslim and I am Lebanese, but I am Australian Lebanese,” Oz said. “I’m a proud Australian and I want to show what two Muslim Aussies can do.”
While they haven’t renovated houses together, both have been around the construction industry. Omar has worked in demolition and Oz comes from a construction background.
“I have done a lot of building maintenance for schools and offices, and a little bit of carpentry,” Oz said. “Dad is a builder. I’m looking forward to getting involved and working with trades, something I feel comfortable about.”
Omar, 30, former NRL player
Omar was born in Afghanistan and came to New Zealand as a refugee when he was three. He is proud of his Afghan heritage, having represented Afghanistan’s national rugby league team. He was also a professional NRL player with the New Zealand Warriors before moving to Japan and making the switch to rugby union. Omar has now turned his sights to rugby sevens, heading overseas soon to play for Afghanistan. Omar grew up in Auckland before moving to Sydney with his wife, Maz. They have two boys, Quais (4) and Yusha (1), and family is everything to him. It will be tough to be away from them, but Maz realises he’s doing it to build a better future for everyone.
“My wife is very supportive of me going on The Block,” he said. “She is a very strong woman, very independent as well.”
Oz, 30, building maintenance manager
You could rightly call Oz a superfan of The Block.
“I have always watched the show, especially the reveal episodes, so it’s great for me to be here,” he said.
He and his wife Jasmine have three boys, Malik (7), Zayd (5) and Humza (1). His religion is very important to him and his family, and he says it’s great to see a positive representation of Muslim Australians on television.
“Yes, we pray five times a day, but we feed the poor and we are good to others,” he said. “We respect our neighbours regardless of what nationality or country they are from.”
Tom and Sarah-Jane
Authentic and dynamic are two words that can be used to describe married couple Tom and Sarah-Jane. They have a one-year-old daughter, Cleo, and are doing The Block to give her a better future. Together for seven years and married nearly three, they met at Sarah-Jane’s sister’s wedding
“We were a casual fling that spiralled into getting married and having a kid and now ending up on The Block,” Tom said.
This pair might argue a lot on The Block, but within five minutes they are back to their loud and loving selves.
They own a house in the Melbourne suburb of Gladstone Park and have a caravan at Lake Eildon in regional Victoria. While they haven’t renovated as many houses as some of the stronger couples in Block history, they make up for that with sheer guts and determination. Sarah-Jane will take on the role of stylist and shopper, and while she hasn’t had much experience that won’t bother her one bit.
Tom, 34, plumber
All his life Tom has had an addiction to working hard. He’d be at his happiest if he could do it all day long. This includes his hobby of woodchopping, which he has loved since being a kid.
“I could work 24 hours a day, I love it,” he said. “So that part of The Block is not going to bother me, I’m going to relish it.”
Tom is a successful plumber running his own business and employing subcontractors. With a dry sense of humour, he is set to be very well liked on The Block, and he’s not afraid of showing himself.
“I am totally comfortable with myself,” he said.
Sarah-Jane, 30, social worker
The minute Sarah-Jane walks on to The Block she makes an impact and means business. Loud, outspoken and with a heart of gold, when Sarah-Jane enters a room, you know it.
“People always say that I’m so loud,” she says. “Yes, I’m a lot, and some people don’t like it, but I’m harmless. I just like to have a laugh and a good time.”
She has worked in aged care as a social worker, a job she finds incredibly rewarding.
“I used to work as a carer, then I went on to study further to do more of an advocacy kind of role. Now I do case management with people over the age of 65 who are in vulnerable situations and I love it.”
Rachel & Ryan
Professional renovators, parents from Oyster Bay, NSW
In a first for The Block, Rachel and Ryan arrive on the show late after the sensational walk-off from Joel and Elle. They were in the pub with their kids and family friends when they got the call on a Saturday, and by Monday they were on The Block. With three children, Everleigh (5), Mila (3) and Tommy (1), they had to uproot their lives in a day to make it to the Macedon Ranges. “We really went into chaos mode,” Rachel said.
Over the past year Rachel and Ryan formed their own renovation company, R&R Design Co. It came about when Ryan, who is a trained plumber, started doing bathroom renovations. “Rachel does a lot of the styling part of it while I do the construction side of things,” Ryan said. “We were only doing it for five months before The Block, but it was great training for us leading up to the show.” Rachel and Ryan are set to be real contenders, despite such an unexpected late preparation.
Rachel, 36, makeup artist
Life in Sydney is crazy for Rachel as she juggles motherhood with three kids under six, her career as a makeup artist, and running the new business. As a makeup artist, Rachel has been exposed to the entertainment business, but never before in front of the camera. She believes The Block is harder than anyone can imagine, but she
isn’t forgetting why they are doing it: to have a better future for their children.
Ryan, 36, plumber
An experienced and respected plumber, Ryan has called Sydney’s Sutherland Shire home all his life. He is straight down the line, a hard worker, and generally not an emotional person. But The Block is a whole different kettle of fish. He said: “This whole experience has been very emotional, especially being away from the kids.”
Joel & Elle
Joel and Elle are hardly new to the spotlight, both having high-profile public careers. Joel played over 200 AFL games for the Brisbane Lions and Greater Western Sydney Giants, while Elle was one of Australia’s original influencers and currently has nearly 700,000 followers on Instagram.
Despite making his name in the AFL, Joel has a background in building, coming from a family of tradies in Adelaide. He has renovated two houses in Brisbane.
“One of the houses was a traditional Queenslander and the other was a rebuild of a 1920s cottage,” he said. “I also have three brothers who are tradies and my parents were renovators.”
Elle has a diploma in interior design, and for six years built General Pants stores around the world, so she has that all-important eye for design which is invaluable on The Block.
Joel, 37, ex-AFL player
The winner of two best and fairest awards for Brisbane, Joel is competitive and wants to bring that streak to The Block. He retired from football in 2017 at the age of 32 – something he does not regret.
“I just didn’t want to be that guy who was pushed out the door, or who had a season-ending injury. I wanted to control and leave on my terms, and that’s exactly what I did.”
Since leaving the AFL, Joel has travelled the world with Elle and launched his own vintage T-shirt import business. He also has his own fashion label called Lost Athletes.
Elle, 38, influencer and entrepreneur
While working at General Pants, Elle started a popular fashion blog. But things really took off when she set up her Instagram page.
“I started taking photos of what I was wearing and posting back in 2010,” she said. “I think I was an early adopter, and that’s part of my career success.”
As well as numerous brand ambassadorships, Elle, with the help of Joel, runs her own beauty company called the Elle Effect.
Sunday – Wednesday on Nine.