Story of sisterhood began in war and lasted more than 60 yrs
HAZEL McInnes and Rene Jackson were friends for more than 60 years.
Theirs was a story of sisterhood - they first met at an army camp where families were housed after the Second World War - as both their husband were in the army.
Recounting the day they first met, Hazel said: "As soon as I saw her, I thought, 'here is my sister'.
"We just sort of clicked, I can't explain it. We just found each other and we were so close."
Although Rene has now passed away, the friendship is continuing through her daughter, Elaine Robinson.
Elaine recently visited Hazel at a nursing home in Ballina, where she now lives.
The pair spent their time together reminiscing about the strong connection between their two families, which continues to this day.
"When my husband came back from the Second World War, we got married and he went into the army again and we were sent to Booragul (in NSW, where there was an army base)," Ms McInnes said.
One day, the house next door to the McInnes' home became empty, and the Jackson family moved in.
That was the beginning of the never-ending friendship between Hazel and Rene.
The Jackson family - Rene, her husband George and their children Karl, Tony, David and Elaine - became very close to the McInnes family.
Three years later, the Jackson family moved to Western Australia, but the two women kept in touch and wrote to each other every week.
"Seventeen years later, we went to Perth to see Rene and George, and it was like those 17 years we hadn't seen each other just got erased," Hazel said.
In 1995 the McInnes' decided to move to Western Australia to be close to their friends.
The families were devastated when the McInnes family was forced to relocate to Sydney for Mac's work.
When George died in December 1999, Hazel recalled breaking the news to her husband, Mac: "I went in the bedroom and told Mac and he cried like a baby.
"The only other time I saw Mac cry was when his mother died, and when our son Colin went to war in Vietnam.