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Biographical entry Smith, John Wasley (1929 - 2015)

OAM 1994; MB BS Adelaide 1953; FRCS Edin 1960; FRCS 1961; Hon FRACS 1979.

7 October 1929
29 March 2015
General surgeon


John Wasley Smith MB BS Adelaide, FRCS ED, FRCS, FRACS (Hon 1979) and OAM, was born in Adelaide. He attended Adelaide High School where he won a scholarship to Adelaide University, graduating in 1953. After graduating John travelled to the United Kingdom with his wife Joan and their young family of three children to pursue his love of surgery. He gained a fellowship with the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh in 1960 and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1961.

John and Joan returned to Australia in 1962 and after settling in Naracoorte in Southeast SA soon had a family of seven children. He was one of the last true country general surgeons and dedicated his entire working life, to providing the best care possible to Naracoorte and surrounding districts. He was a very humble man who inspired many people who were fortunate to work with him. When he retired he was providing general surgery, orthopedic services, urology services, endoscopy services, plastic surgery, trauma surgery, an occasional emergency caesarian, and finally he embraced laparoscopic surgery.

Throughout his time at Naracoorte he was heavily involved in the Provincial Surgeons Association. He was a longstanding member of Rotary and Probus in Naracoorte and a founding and life member of the Naracoorte Hockey Club.

John was a dedicated family man in his precious time off, outside of his very busy work commitments. He worked 8-12 hours a day and was on call every day for trauma and surgical emergencies during his time at Naracoorte. For his selfless dedication to his work and patients John was awarded an OAM for services to medicine in his community.

John's interests included photography, travelling, camping, caravanning and all things family. He wrote his memoires 'The Lift of Life' which is an inspiring read.

John lost the love of his life and wife of 62 years, Joan three months before he died peacefully at home after a short battle with prostate cancer. John is survived by his seven children, eighteen grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

John Smith jnr

Sources used to compile this entry: [Republished by kind permission of the President and Council of The Royal College of Surgeons from In Memoriam (].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England