In Memoriam of Ron Smith

Ron Smith was born in Paddington, an inner city suburb of Sydney on the 9th. March 1941.

He passed away on the 14th. October 2006 after a few days in hospital.

He could be found at different collector’s fairs & had a great many interests, he was an avid collector of stamps, phonecards,  [when they were popular he would get up very early each morning & do the rounds of all the phoneboxes in the area looking for the discarded used phonecards], matchbox cars, used train tickets [yes, there are collectors of used train tickets, which his friends found out when they cleaned out his flat after his death, he had train tickets from every station in the Sydney rail network], cigarette packets, cigarette cards, big event memorabilia  & the very popular collector cards, he collected the various sets of Elvis, Beatles, Rugby League, Cricket, US basketball & was still in the process of collecting the Kinkara tea “Birds Of Australia” series that started in the 1960’s which in total has 5 books & holds the 480 cards.

He was well known in the matchbox collectors club, & was putting out the club magazine whilst working on what he thought would be the definitive catalogue, he bequeathed all his collection [matchboxes & matchbooks], which filled 4 large garbage bags to the matchbox club.

Ron’s working life was operating a cigarette manufacturing machine at WD & HO Wills for about 30 years,

In the 70’s he was living in a flat opposite the factory in Todman Ave. Kensington which was an area that had a very good public transport bus service which enabled him to get around Sydney.

He worked the afternoon shift so he was free to pursue his passion of looking for records at the local opportunity shops & second-hand record shops, with the then legendary Ashwood’s being one of his regular haunts.

When WD & HO Wills moved to their new factory at Pagewood, Ron went with them, he also moved to a new flat in Kensington Road a kilometre or so from his old unit. Ron was such a heavy smoker by this time that the walls & ceiling became discoloured & the flat reeked of cigarette smoke.

When the machines with which he was working were moved across the Tasman to New Zealand, Ron took the offered redundancy package.

That was his last full-time job.

Ron saw all the legendary Rock’n’Roll Sydney Stadium shows during the 50’s & early 60’s.

He enjoyed most Rock’n’Roll but had quite a liking for the instrumentals, the more obscure the better.

One of Ron’s favourite singers was Johnny Cash, Ron waited outside the hotel in Sydney where Johnny Cash & June Carter were staying on their last visit to Australia, he managed to get them to autograph a record album.

It was in the early 70’s he started to work on what he really enjoyed doing, which was trying to form a catalogue of all the Australian record label EP’s. & singles of the 50’s & 60’s. Typical of Ron was that he could not stop some labels & catalogued Festival & RCA into the 90’s. He worked with many collectors throughout Australia doing these labels.

Ron could be seen at all the record fairs with his blue bag, pen & book going from stall to stall writing down any records that he did not think he had listed.

His last major achievement was the “Australian EP Discography / Price Guide” compiled by Brett Leslie, Peter Bambini & Ron.

Ron got to spend a few days in Festival Record’s Archives in 1999 chasing down all the unissued & cancelled EP’s & singles. This has helped to complete some of these listings.

Missed by his friends.