Cloverdale woman reunited with brother after nearly 70 years apart


Barbara Crick and her brother Bruce Stubblety (at back) with family members Darren Crick, Angela Johns, Sandie Drysdale, Annette Crick and Deborah Warren. Picture: Bruce
Barbara Crick and her brother Bruce Stubblety (at back) with family members Darren Crick, Angela Johns, Sandie Drysdale, Annette Crick and Deborah Warren. Picture: Bruce

A BROTHER and sister met for the first time since they were parted nearly 70 years ago.

Cloverdale resident Barbara Crick (72) embraced her brother Bruce Stubblety (69) in front of a crowd snapping pictures at Perth Airport.

The pair had not met since 1947 when, as the family story goes, their mother gave Mr Stubblety up to a passing couple who stopped to admire the two-month-old on a Richmond street.

“She said, ‘Do you want him?’ And since (my adoptive parents) couldn’t have a baby of their own, they said yes and within a day or two they went to Richmond Town Hall to sign the papers, it was that simple,” Mr Stubblety said.

“It was a different time,” he said.

“1947, the depression years and you had a hard time getting anything, even food – my (adoptive) mother, she used to go to garage sales to buy our clothes.”

Mrs Crick remained with their birth parents.

The eldest of eight, she cared for three of her siblings while three more were given away.

“I don’t understand my mother,” Mrs Crick said.

“Why she kept some of us and not others.”

She said she thought about seeking them out.

“I decided to leave them alone; maybe they didn’t know they were adopted?”

Mr Stubblety said he had a terrific upbringing with his parents and brother Gary, until the younger boy drowned when he was 15.

He knew he was adopted but never sought out his birth family.

It was Mrs Crick’s granddaughter Angela Johns – helped by the Department of Human Services – who found her great uncle when researching the family tree in 2015.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Mrs Crick said.

The extended family gathered for a picnic to welcome their newest member.

“I said I was an only child and now there’s about 4500 people in my family,” Mr Stubblety said.

Despite calling NSW home, he plans to attend a special family gathering in November.

“It’s his 70th birthday,” said Mrs Crick.

The siblings’ mother and at least four of their brothers and sisters died of Huntington’s disease.

Children of afflicted parents have a 50-50 chance of inheriting the disorder.

Mrs Crick said she believed it passed down from their grandmother to her mother.

“It’s affected about 75 per cent of my family,” she said.

Mr Stubblety was unaware he could have had the disease, or potentially passed it on to his children, until he made contact with his extended family.

Huntington’s normally develops between 30 to 50 years of age and does not skip generations.