Richard Harold Smith
Australia Crest

Aviator, publisher and businessman born on 18th March, 1944.

As a youngster, Dick had trouble pronouncing his name and when asked, would say - "Dick Miff". Not then exactly the clever Dick he was to turn out to be!

Dick Smith
Dick Smith

Smith studied electrical engineering at Sydney University and at a technical college but failed to finish either course. He began working on radios in the workshop of his grandfather, the celebrated photographer Harold Cazneaux, and by 1961 was repairing and installing taxi cab radios.


In 1968 Smith established an electronics store empire, Dick Smith Electronics, before selling out to Woolworths in 1982 to pursue his other interests.

He then pursued his interests in flying and exploration, making his first solo helicopter flight around the world in 1983.

In 1986 Smith then founded Australian Geographic magazine and sold out again in 1995 to Fairfax for $41 million.

In April,1987, he made the first helicopter flight to the North Pole, battling the severe elements of the Arctic Circle, and in 1988 he made the first round-the-world flight via both Poles.

In 1987 he was named Australian of the Year.

In 1990 he was appointed chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority.

With John Wallington, in 1993, they flew on the first manned balloon to cross the Australian continent.

In 1994 Smith set the trans-Australia crossing record of 8.5 days for a solar-powered car.

In 1998 he was appointed chairman of Civil Aviation Safety Authority, a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don't job. He quit at the end of March, '99, saying "I have become a target for some sections of the aviation industry and this has stalled the reform process."

In 1999, Dick was made AO - Officer in the General Division for services to charity, business and aviation.

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