Eric 'Ric' Dalby is the son of Owen Dalby, and grandchild of Alf Stewart, nephew of Morag Buckton and cousin of Martha Holden (nee MacKenzie). He is the foster son of Sally Fletcher and Flynn Saunders.
He first came to Summer Bay High after headmaster Barry Hyde saw his potential as a swimmer. Despite his poor school record, Barry takes a chance on him. However, his violent temper and incessant bullying do not make him popular amongst the residents of Summer Bay.
It soon becomes clear that he is being physically abused by his father, Owen. One night whilst Owen is drunk and is beating Eric up very badly, he falls down the stairs. Eric spends some time in hospital and begins to let his tough bravado guard down and open up to local doctor, Flynn Saunders. After his Dad dies, Flynn and his wife, Sally decide to foster him thinking that if they don't help him, no one else will.
Around the same time, Alf discovers that he had a son, through his high school sweetheart, Viv. Viv was forced to give up their son for adoption. He then realises that his son is Eric's father, Owen Dalby.
Through the help and support of Sally and Flynn and unexpected friendship with local girl, Matilda Hunter he begins to settle down in Summer Bay.
He has several relationships with some of the girls including Cassie Turner (who later becomes his foster sister), Belle Taylor and Matilda Hunter. He also has a short affair with a woman called Viv who uses him to get herself pregnant.
He is framed for the murder of Rocco Cooper by Rocco's brother, Johnny and ends up in jail sharing a cell with Johnny. His friends Matilda and Lucas manage to concoct a plan to prove Ric is innocent which thankfully works. Johnny vows revenge on Ric and his foster Mum, Sally.
After the death of his foster dad, Flynn, he decides to leave High School and gets a job as an apprentice mechanic. This goes well until the husband of a woman he had a fling with causes him to lose his job and bad mouths him to all the garages in the area.
He supports his foster sister (and ex-girlfriend), Cassie when she discovers that she is pregnant and has HIV after her fiance runs out on her. Cassie and Ric spend some time in Sydney so Cassie can receive counselling and to reduce the risk of Ric being found by Johnny Cooper who has escaped from prison.
Cassie and Ric return to the bay when they find out that Johnny has stabbed Sally, and that family friend and their school counsellor, Dan Baker has been killed in an abseiling accident while in the USA. Ric stays with Matilda at the Tony Holden's house, not realising that Johnny is being kept hidden there by Tony's daughter-in-law, Sam. Johnny takes Matilda hostage, and tries to kill Ric, but is stopped in doing so by Sam.
When his foster mum and foster sisters decide to leave Summer Bay to travel in Thailand, Ric decides to remain in Summer Bay to be near his remaining family and girlfriend, Matilda.
Ric and Matilda break up when Matilda gets accepted to study Law in Western Australia.
He goes into business with his grandfather, Alf to reopen the 'Bait Shop' in Summer Bay. However, Alf realises he is still in love with his ex-girlfriend, Matilda, and tells him that he should forget about their partnership and go be with Matilda in W.A.
He currently lives in Perth with Matilda, and works as an apprentice mechanic.