Ian Smith

OIA remembers Ian Smith who sadly, passed away on 18 October 2023.

Ian is perhaps best described in the words of his son Andrew Smith shared below. Ian Smith and his son Andrew Smith transitioned the family's apple orchards based in the Huon Valley, Southern Tasmania, to organic production in 2000, and has been a leading organic producer ever since.

Ian was personally known to Peter Hislop Speers (OIA's Chair) who warmly recalls the regular discussions on the apple industry, and opportunities for R&R Smith, over a 20-year period. Peter said, Ian lived an admirable life well spent.

Ian Smith 09.11.41 - 18.10.23

He will leave a massive hole, an absolute force of nature. We were lucky to have him.

It's taken some time to get to writing something for my Dad. Not because I’m overcome with emotion but because I’m overwhelmed with what to talk about.

We could talk about young Ian, racing cars, bringing the first mini coopers into Aus. The fact that Ian’s father died when he was just 21 and he assumed a huge responsibility.

His sailing career, going to the World One Ton Cup in America. Over 20 Sydney to Hobarts, most as skipper of his own boats, where he made lifelong friendships. He was a jackaroo in QLD, had a passion for horses, could both ride and provide advice on every aspect of the sport.

In ‘67, bushfires went through the valley and burnt down our packing shed. He learned to weld and rebuilt the shed himself, the very shed I am writing this.

This was the start of a can-do attitude and life approach to doing everything himself.

The apple industry changed with England joining the EEC and like many, Ian started building his own coolstores and CA stores for fruit. An expert on refrigeration and storage.

He created change, forged forward in a declining industry with a fearless approach. It made him into a strong and stoic business man which at times made for a challenging relationship. Many of us have been told by Ian. Not letting empathy or emotion stop him from arguing a matter of principle.

Ian was officially recognised in everything he ever did, he’s a legend of the Aus fruit industry. I had messages from 3 continents within 24 hrs of his death, this was before we announced it.

Vanessa, Claudette and I have been on a hell of a ride with our father. Ian was a man in control, he didn’t once ask anyone to do anything for him that he couldn’t do himself and didn’t once ask anyone for the money to do it.

We, along with Caroline, are overwhelmed with the level of support. We would like to thank everyone including staff, friends and people that simply knew Ian.

Andrew Smith

Ian Smith interview

Listen to an ABC Country Hour interview with Ian Smith