Monday, July 18, 2011

My Brother

A long time ago in a town in the centre of Australia, a baby boy was born. He was a little premature, but when he was strong enough to leave the hospital, instead of going home to his mother he was sent to Melbourne, to be adopted into a different family.

Instead of the six older siblings he was born with, he now had just two older sisters. Here they are introducing him to one of his new grandmothers:

He learnt to walk:

Went on family holidays (this one on a Sydney ferry):

And was pretty good at cricket:

But his teenage years were difficult. Through him, I saw a side of Australia that was not pleasant. Once he was stopped by police three times while walking home from a mate's place, and questioned as to what he was doing, where he was going. I was angry on his behalf, but he just shrugged it off. "They do that all the time, Sis." Do they? I'd never had it happen to me then, and all these years later it has still never happened once.  As the only kid in the suburb who was anything other than the whitest white, he stood out. He was not known by his name, but by various racial epithets, some less than polite. As many teenagers do, he took up drinking and smoking, habits his parents found unacceptable.

When he was about 16, he said he wanted to find his birth family. I was working in the city, so during my lunch breaks I went and searched the electoral rolls of South Australia and the Northern Territory for people with his birth surname. We didn't have the internet for finding information in those olden days! Dad helped him write to every possible relative, and about 12 months later an answer was received. One of his older sisters had found the letter at her uncle's home. She was overjoyed, as she knew her youngest brother existed, and had been trying for years to find out where he was.

Some time later he decided to move to Adelaide to live with that sister "for a while". We saw him off on a train at Spencer Street station one night nearly 30 years ago, and never saw him again.

Until last week.

I'm glad for my parents that they have seen him again. I'm glad I got to see him again. But what can you say to someone after such a long time? So many questions remain unasked and unanswered. My brother has a life I know nothing about, surrounded by a large extended family I don't know. He lives in the town he where was born; the place he belongs.


  1. What an amazing story. What can you say, how about "hello" and take it from there. It is great that your parents got to see him again, especially at the age they are now. Treasure the fun times you had together growing up. Things like this take time. Where he lives now, "he has returned home".

  2. It brought tears to my eyes! I wish you all a happy ending.

    Dee from Dewdrops & Dragonflies.

  3. This is a story of loss in reverse, the other side of the "stolen gen". So much heartache for everyone back then and still today. He seems to have found himself tho.
    Sending you a hug and sorry i missed this post earlier.