The last time Chris and Ioene saw each other was in Yorkshire, England in 1960.
They were firm childhood friends at the ages of about nine and 12, having grown up together in Horbury, a small town outside Leeds, and gone through Brownies and Guides together.
Then Ioene heard the bad news: Chris’ family was emigrating to the other side of the world.
They departed on December 20, 1960, and after five weeks at sea they arrived down under with English overcoats over their arms and summer flies in their faces.
Ioene and her family wound up leaving the UK as well, in 1974, and settled in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Every Christmas “a tome of a letter” was exchanged; then, when Facebook came in, options for correspondence started opening up.
Their 57 years of separation ended on Friday morning, when Ioene stepped off the Overland at Murray Bridge Railway Station and they clutched each other close.
“We haven’t changed much, have we?” Ioene observed with a grin.