TRANSCRIPT - In Memoriam - Uncle Bill Smith
31 August 2021
It's with great sadness that I stand at the dispatch box today. I want to acknowledge that last Sunday we lost a much loved and treasured leader in our community of Newcastle, Uncle Bill Smith, who died aged 83 following a terrible struggle with pancreatic cancer.
Uncle Bill was born in Tamworth, a very proud Anaiwan-Wonnarua-Kamilaroi man whose parents instilled in him an incredible cultural strength and pride. Fortunately for us in Newcastle, he made his way to our region for work, and along with his family, set up the extraordinary Smith General Contracting group, which literally laid thousands of railway tracks transporting people across our region.
He was full of great stories about those days where his company contracted hundreds of Aboriginal workers on the railway. He was very proud of that, and rightly so.
He was also the co-founder of Awabakal Newcastle Aboriginal Cooperative and a foundation member of the National Aboriginal Rugby League Association. He was a representative on the National Aboriginal Conference for five years. There was not a social or political moment in history that he was not part of in our region.
Rest in Peace.