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Dick Smith, Sydney
, 2000 (printed 2004)

by John Elliott

type C photograph (sheet: 50.6 cm x 60.7 cm, image: 33.0 cm x 50.0 cm)

Dick Smith AO (b. 1944), businessman, aviator, film-maker and explorer, was born in Roseville, North Sydney, and grew up with two absorbing interests: radio and the bush. An avid Boy Scout, but an indifferent school student, he lasted through only one lecture at university before he began work in an electronics factory. In 1968 he established his own business in North Sydney; it would evolve into the giant Dick Smith Electronics chain. In 1983 he made the first solo helicopter flight around the world, landing on container ships at sea to refuel. In 1986 he launched the quarterly magazine Australian Geographic, and was named Australian of the Year. He made the first helicopter flight around the world via the poles in 1989, and the first non-stop balloon crossing of Australia in 1993; that year he founded Dick Smith Foods, a business dedicated to selling foods produced in Australia by Australian-owned companies. A keen bushwalker and a long-term proponent of reforms to Australia's aviation industry, he was named a Living National Treasure in 1997.

Australian of the Year 1986

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of the artist 2005
Accession number: 2005.43