his Life

Welcome to the world, Alan Smith

Born on the 12th December 1939 to Minnie and Charles Smith in Bathurst, NSW, Alan was the treasured first-born child of his generation in the family, and was especially beloved by his Aunties. He was followed by two brothers, Warwick and Ian, and four sisters, Leonie, Raine, Judy and Robbie. Charles passed away when Alan was seven years old, leaving him with the responsibility of being the man of the house. Growing up during during World War 2, his family faced extreme poverty and hardships. Alan's first job was at a rope factory at age 11, where they hired children to thread the materials for the rope into the machine. 

Alan was always into Hot Rods and the mechanical workings of cars. As a 17 or 18 year old he broke one of his legs and eventually lost all his teeth, when he smashed into a wall on a bicycle with no brakes. After this accident, his future mother in-law was much less willing to go for rides on the handlebars of his bicycle!

Becoming a Husband And a Dad

Alan married Deloraes "Del" Callan on 15th November 1958. They had four children together - Mark, Stephen, Leanne, and David. Alan was a devoted dad who loved spending time with his children. He always encouraged them to pursue education and their passions, and he loved attending their sporting events. His workshop was a source of fascination for the children, where he staged the creation and repair of anything he put his mind to including boats, furniture, and cars. His skills of metal turning, woodwork and mechanics especially came to life in his workshop. 

The Next Chapter

In 1981, Alan's daughter Lea and Margaret's daughter Lynda conspired to matchmake their parents who were both now single. After Alan standing Margaret up on the first date (due to a broken car axle), their romance quickly blossomed and they were married on 9th May, 1982. Alan thus inherited four more children - Robbo, Julie, Lynda, and Jamie. 

Alan was just as devoted to his step-children and grandchildren as his own, and was the rock and steady support of his entire extended family throughout his life. He was involved in his grandchildren's lives and lived to see five great-grandchildren. 

Working Life

Alan was a jack of all trades with a multitude of skills. His jobs over the years included being a fitter and turner for B&B Optical, a real estate agent, a telephonist at Telecom, a house builder and renovator, a salesman, a cabinet maker, a handyman, an engineer at a computer company, a mechanic, and a variety of others. 

In 1985 Alan and Margaret bought Gabba Gearboxes, where they lived and worked for the next 17 years. They had wonderful employees who became like family. 

The business had its ups and downs but through it all Gabba was a haven for their kids and grandkids who have wonderful memories there. From the toys in the walk-in wardrobe, to Margaret's craft room, to the mysterious wonders of the workshop downstairs, to Alan's presence in the midst of it all, Gabba was a grandchild's wonderland. 

Sailing

Alan always wanted to sail from a very young age. When he was a child, he constructed a boat out of a bucket from a Ferris Wheel, a broom pole, and his mother's bed sheet and set off into the great blue yonder of Double Bay. Not having the equipment to be able to tack, he ended up having to walk for miles to get back home. 

Alan delighted in taking his children sailing when they were young. He bought an 8ft Sabot named Tom Thumb, and then built Skippy, Snoopy and Moby Dick. All of his children developed a great passion for sailing, and have wonderful memories of sailing with their Dad. 

Alan bought his first yacht named Windsong during his first marriage and enjoyed it for less than a year before it had to be sold. After getting married to Margaret, his desire for a boat reigned supreme and he bought a little Dragon for $3000 named Majorie Ann. He taught Margaret to sail in it, but she wanted more comfortable accommodations and Alan wanted a bigger boat.

Eventually they saw Pathfinder advertised, a 38ft yacht. At the time it seemed like an unattainable dream but where there's a will, there's a way! Alan and Margaret paid Pathfinder off over many years, and in return it repaid them by being the highlight of their life together. They took many trips together, alone and with their children and grandchildren. They were quickly adopted into the sailing community where they developed life-long friends. 

When Alan could no longer maintain Pathfinder, he passed it on to Julie and Jaro, and it remains in the family to this day. We will take his ashes for a final journey on Pathfinder and scatter some of them on the waters where he loved to sail. 

Mapleton

In 2005 Alan and Margaret retired and moved to a house in Mapleton. The house, just like Gabba, became a haven for their kids and grandkids. Alan once again had a workshop where he passed on his many skills to his grandsons. He became one of the founding members of the Mapleton Men's Shed, and loved to invite anyone he met to join. Alan also continued to renovate houses even after retirement. 

After a long and rewarding life, Alan passed away in Margaret's arms at 4:10am on 6th April 2019 at their home in Mapleton. In the weeks leading up to his passing, Alan was surrounded by his family, and was able to stay at home throughout, thanks to his devoted wife Margaret and the constant care of his daughter Lea and his step-daughter Julie. He said his goodbyes and prepared himself well, and we have comfort in knowing that he is now very much at peace. 

Afterword

Please leave your own treasured memories of Alan on this website. His legacy lives on in the lives, stories and memories of his family and friends, and perhaps here we can together capture a small part of that legacy. 

Some of the details recorded here may not be entirely accurate - but as Alan would say, "never let the truth get in the way of a good story!"