Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Link to Pioneering Past Severed; OBITUARY

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Link to Pioneering Past Severed; OBITUARY

Article excerpt

A LINK with the Mackay district's historical past has been lost following the death of cane grower, cattleman and writer Graham Smith.

Ivan Graham Smith was born on June 28, 1917, in the old Hamilton Station homestead on the banks of the Pioneer River about a kilometre upstream from Mirani; he was delivered by his maternal grandmother Mary Augusta McClure.

At the time, Hamilton belonged to Graham's paternal grandparents, J. R. and Ellen Blanche Smith. The homestead was later destroyed by the 1918 cyclone.

He was the second son born to Cecil Victor "Tom" Smith and his wife Margaret Jane (formerly McClure). His older brother was named Cecil Victor and a few years later a younger brother, David John Keith, was born.

For the first few years of their lives, Victor and Graham lived on St Helens cattle station near Calen, which their father managed for his father, J. R. Smith. As the time to start school approached, C.V. Smith (Senior) purchased Hamilton from his parents and the family moved in to the present homestead, built about 1919, so the boys could attend Mirani State School. Victor did not like school and used to return home after being taken there, so Graham had to go to school, too, at the age of four-and-a-half.

While at school he played football and cricket and in his teens was one of the best schoolboy batsmen in the Mackay district. He was a good scholar especially at mathematics, English and history.

Unfortunately, Graham contracted rheumatic fever at the age of six and again at 16, which prevented him from competing the Junior Public Examination. There were no antibiotics in those days. He was rejected for army service because of heart damage caused by the illness.

He did, however, take up rifle shooting and was Marian club champion for many years and district champion on numerous occasions. He won a number of Queen's Prize badges and came second in the Townsville Queens Prize Shoot. He was made a life member of North Queensland Rifle Association and Marian Rifle Club.

All his life, beginning in his boyhood years, he helped his parents in their cattle business - fencing, mustering, dipping and all the other jobs around a family property. …

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