Barry with his neck brace

#86 Barry was hanging upside down from his seat belt and the ute was on its roof

Date published

11 Apr 2024
barry at a birthday party in his 'collar'

Barry Hewes knows all too well just how lucky he is to be alive. 

Sitting in the passenger seat of a ute as it lost control on a remote stretch of dirt road between Mt Isa and the tiny Qld mining settlement of Gun Powder, Barry remembers the vehicle flipping – over and over again.

barry pictured with his second grandson Damon

Then he simply saw stars. Like a spectacular firework display. 

But when he dropped onto his head, after hanging upside down from his car seat, the pain quickly became excruciating. Barry had broken his neck, sustaining a Jefferson fracture of his C1 vertebrae.

As Barry waited for his rescuers to arrive, he sat propped up again the ute in the dirt, literally holding his own head in his hands. 

When he saw the RFDS plane approaching, Barry says he felt like he was in an episode of the Flying Doctor TV series.

barry and davina hewes at a recent Merimbula International womens day event

Today, Barry and his remarkable wife and best friend, Davina, are enjoying a happy and active retirement in Merimbula on the NSW south coast. 

But the story of Barry’s accident in such a remote outback location, and the extraordinary process of healing his broken neck using a combination of a non-surgical halo and Philadelphia collar, is a period of their lives they will never forget.

Listen to the story which will keep you at the edge of your seats!