Newsletter for the Rotary Club of Nedlands - Issue No.: 648 Issue Date: 5 Jul, 2020

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An insight into Past President, Arthur J Smith, 1930 -2008

Arthur Smith was a bit of an enigma.  Those who worked with him, speak only words of praise.   Type his name into Google and you won’t find a lot more except there is chapel named after him.    

Who knew for example, that he had spent some 24 years at Fremantle Hospital rising to the position of Administrator?   And who knew he spent five years as Administrator at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital?   Logically perhaps, he then went to the Health Department of WA where he was Executive Officer, External Care Services.
What strikes you is how much Arthur packed into his life. Consider…
He was born in the family home at Belmont WA principally he said ‘because his mother happened to be there at the time’. His family later moved to Swanborne where Arthur spent his youth, went to the local primary school and later attended the Femantle Boys High School, Perth Technical College and then the University of New South Wales.     
He married Beryl Clark in 1952 and enjoyed 42 years of happy married life before Beryl succumbed to the effects of a long illness. He married again in 2000 to Jeanette.
His formal qualifications note that he was an Accountant, Chartered Secretary and Hospital Administrator but it is his informal qualifications that begin to reveal the man he was.
What stands out is Arthur’s involvement in not just Rotary International where he was a member of the Rotary Club of Fremantle and a Past President of the Rotary Club of Nedlands, but so many other organisations here in Perth.   A list of his appointments included:
  • Life Member and former National and State President of the Australian College of Health Service Executives
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Life Member Hospital Salaried Officers Union
  • Past Grand Master Grand Lodge of WA Freemasons
  • Lay Preacher Uniting Church
  • Former Chairman Fremantle Wesley Mission
  • Former Chairman Rowethorpe Retirement Village
  • Former Chairman Howard Solomon Hostel & Nursing Home Management Committee
  • Past President Fremantle Probus Club
  • Former Board Member and Life Member of the Independent Living Centre
  • Former Member and Life Member of the Arthritis Foundation, WA
  • Awarded Medal of the Order of Australia (O.A.M) for services to the Health industry and a range of Health, Welfare and Church Organisations.
  • When moves were made to form the Arthritis Foundation in WA in 1972, he was invited to become a member of the Steering Committee working towards that objective. The Committee had done their research – Arthur’s first wife Beryl was living a pain filled life caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis. Arthur’s mentor at Royal Perth Hospital urged him to join the Committee and with other members of the Board he accepted the position and got down to work to establish branches both in the city and in country districts.   Later, after the Arthritis Foundation of Australia was formed, he represented WA on that Board for several years, later to be appointed a Life Member of that organisation.
    Other organisations also sought his expertise and witnessed the long list of appointments he filled over the years. The chapel that carries his name was typically Arthur.
    An active Freemason since 1954, having held the highest post attainable in WA and also being Chairman of the Howard Solomon Masonic Hostel Nursing Home Committee for many years, Arthur was deeply moved to learn of the decision to name the new chapel the Arthur J Smith Chapel.
    Arthur joined the Rotary Club of Nedlands in 1976 but had been previously in the Rotary Club of Fremantle when he worked in Health Administration at Fremantle Hospital.   He was President in 1997-1998 when the theme was "Show Rotary Cares, for Your Community, for Our World, for its People." - a theme which was the epitome of Arthur's work in the community.   He was honoured with a Paul Harris Pin and was Bulletin editor for eight years from 1992 to 2000. In fact in 1995-1996, the Rotary Club of Nedlands was judged to have the best Bulletin in the District.   He became an Honorary Member of the club in 2007. 
    Arthur died in hospital on 13th July following major surgery. He will be remembered in many ways as an active serving Rotarian and will be missed indeed by family and friends.     
    Excerpts from Arthritis Today, Autumn 2008 by H.L Sanders 

    Author: Neville Blesing

    Published: 26 July, 2008


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