After being torn apart through tragedy as kidskids, these Aussie brothers are making up for lost time
Listening to the banter fly between Terry Gall and Barry Sutherland, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’d been thick as thieves their entire lives. But the brothers spent more than half a century searching for each other before their emotionally charged reunion in Toowoomba last month.
“As soon as we saw each other we hugged for the longest time,” Terry, 61, tells Woman’s Day. “We were so close before we were separated. Now, it’s like we were never apart. We talk every day now. We’ll be sticking together for the rest of our lives.”
Terry, then seven, and Barry, eight, were getting excited for Christmas in 1965 when their 26-year-old mother suddenly died of a heart attack, turning their entire world upside down.
Their father was a soldier so the pair were taken to an orphanage that day and sent out to various foster homes over the years before they were adopted out to separate families. “We used to call each other every week. Then Barry was going to be sent back to the orphanage so he called asking me to run away with him,” Terry recalls.
“I couldn’t do it as I was young and my family were committed to me. That was the last time we spoke until now.”
Raising five children and working as a minister across Australia, Terry says he never gave up hope of finding Barry, 63, often reaching out to his congregation for help.
But any leads turned into dead ends until his son Matthew, 25, began researching their family history for health reasons on ancestry.com.au this year.
After working through a long chain of family contacts, Barry surprised his brother with a phone call three months ago before making the trip from his hometown of Dubbo, NSW, to reconnect with Terry at his home in Toowoomba, Qld.
In an incredible coincidence, they have since discovered they were only metres from each other just last year. “I was driving through Dubbo on the way home from Canberra when this emu riding a bike on display in someone’s front yard caught my eye so I took a photo,” Terry recalls.
“I couldn’t believe it when I showed Barry and he told me it was his house – of all the houses in Dubbo. We were only metres away from each other. I still get goosebumps when I think about it.”
‘It’s like we were never apart. We talk every day now’
Barry (left) and Terry have vowed to never lose touch with each other again!
The boys with their late mother.