Hazel was one of those characters that just turned up in the prison one day without a formal introduction. Her first appearance was in 1980, that is, sometime during the second year of production. This was just after the prisoners' work release program at the textile factory had ceased and the factory employee Kay White (actress Sandy Gore) had been sent to Wentworth. Kay was very unpopular during her brief stay and Hazel's original function in the series was as one of the only prisoners who would talk to Kay. She follows Kay out of the rec room in (142) wanting more of the drugs that Kay sold to Mouse.
As often happened, the producers recognised potential for further storylines with Hazel and so her role was extended. Basically Hazel was a supporting, semi-regular character. This means that she was not continuously seen in the series but was only brought on when a particular storyline required her presence. Her role was greater than that of a background character however, as Hazel also sometimes had her own storylines.
Hazel was a fairly quiet crim who, while being friendly with Bea Smith and Bea's gang (signifying that Hazel was a 'good' prisoner), she mostly kept to herself. She was a bit sad and downtrodden most of the time. Hazel was married with two children and was devoted to her family. She was desperate to get out and return to them.
Early on she had secondary functions in big storylines such as the Tunnel escape storyline of November 1980 and Marie Winter's riot of November 1981.
A bitter blow came when Hazel's bloke took up with another woman after divorcing his wife - something he had never agreed to do to marry Hazel. As he had legally adopted Hazel's children, he was able to apply for - and win - custody. Hazel went crazy and attacked Officer Bailey: she was sedated and sent to solitary, then transferred to D block (268).
In early 1983 Hazel returned to the series (330) having previously been released from Wentworth and not seen for several months. During this stint she stayed at the first Driscoll House, sharing a room with newcomer Jean Carter. Hazel soon discovered a big bag of loot in Jean's belongings, and stole some of it. Meanwhile Jean was arrested with a stolen credit cards and sent to Wentworth, although she somehow managed to avoid being fingerprinted. When Hazel tried to spend some of the stolen money the police arrested her and traced the money to a recent armed robbery. The investigating detective was eager to wrap up the case and altered Hazel's statement to make it look like a confession to the armed robbery, leading to Hazel being sent to Wentworth as well (336). Both Hazel and Jean wound up in H Block and there were several tense moments between them - Hazel being innocent but charged with a crime actually committed by Jean. Eventually Jean bragged to the others about what really happened. Then another prisoner broke the no-lagging rule to get Hazel off the hook. Paddy Lawson (actress Anna Hruby) told the Governor that Jean had actually committed the robbery.
This directly results in "Jean's" real identity being discovered: she is Nola McKenzie, an escapee from Western Australia, and already a double murderess. Both Hazel and Paddy are threatened by Nola, but fortunately for Hazel she is found guilty and given a sentence of two weeks, which she had already served, so she walked free from the court (338). She refuses to go back to halfway house and decides to make her own way ...
Hazel turns up again when Judy and Meg find her drunk in a bar and take her to the second Driscoll House (343). She finds an abandoned baby on the back step and tries to claim the baby is her own. Eventually the child is revealed to belong to Judy's daughter Lori and Hazel is last seen at the halfway house drunkenly lecturing Lori's husband Geoff on the sanctity of marriage (346), and then disappearing without explanation.
Hazel reappeared again later in 1983. She again turned up at the halfway house (393), this time suffering from a terminal brain tumour. She was not an alcoholic but during this illness she drank heavily to cope with all the pain she was in. Hazel had really gone down hill since her previous appearance in the series and she had been living in a rented caravan. Soon after she returned to the halfway house, Hazel convinced a distraught Judy Bryant to help her to end the pain - help her to commit suicide. Judy did this and the next morning when Hazel's body was discovered, Judy could not hide the truth. The suicide was by an overdose of Hazel's pain-killers and all Judy did was pass the handful of pills to Hazel. Judy was straight back in Wentworth on remand. The trial went badly for Judy as well - and she returned to Wentworth as a prisoner yet again.
Hazel is last seen in (399), but last credited in (400) as part of the previous episode is used in voice over.
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