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Department of Premier and Cabinet

William Herbert Smith

William Herbert Smith

15 May 1919 - 28 October 2005

Member 1990

Tasmania has produced many outstanding boxers but Bill Smith stands alone as the state's leading amateur in the years preceding the second World War.

He first came to prominence in 1930 when he won a schoolboy championship and over the next seven years built up an impressive sequence of wins that finally led him to his first Australian championship in 1937. Chosen to represent his country at the 1938 Empire Games in Sydney in the Welterweight division, Bill won his four fights and earned a place in the final. In that final he defeated A.J. Heeney of New Zealand.

Bill was the only Australian to win a boxing gold medal at the Games and the first Tasmanian to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth (Empire) or Olympic Games. He was just 18 years of age.

He was subsequently selected for the 1940 Tokyo Olympic Games, but these were abandoned because of the War. He turned professional and won each of his nine fights before he retired from the sport in 1941. His excellent record spanning a career of 11 years saw him compete in 63 fights for only 5 defeats and these losses were during his formative years.

Smith's major assets were his speed and reach. He was regarded as a clever fighter with a splendid variety of punches but his left hand was the major weapon that brought him success.