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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 6 Hansard (25 May) . . Page.. 1930 ..

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.


Motion (by Mr Humphries ) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Death of Mr Kenneth James Smyth

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education) (12.38 am): Mr Speaker, a couple of weeks ago a man who contributed greatly to ACT education died at the age of 91. He was the foundation principal of Narrabundah High School, which became Narrabundah College. Kenneth James Smyth, or Jim Smyth as he was known, was a longstanding Canberra resident after he came to Narrabundah in 1961. Sadly, some two days after he died his wife, Kath, also died. He is survived by a number of family, including Peter Smyth, who is a well-known solicitor in Canberra.

Jim Smyth grew up in northern New South Wales. He went through the Catholic school system and was particularly impressed by a teacher, a nun, who steered him into teaching. He went into the government system and became principal of Wagga High School before he came to Narrabundah. He established the school from nothing. He was a very firm, fair and friendly headmaster who had a big influence on that school, which he left in 1967 to go to Campbell High School.

He then became an educator in Papua New Guinea, establishing schools there and doing a lot of work along with his wife. He went to the Catholic education system after that and was largely responsible for establishing St Francis Xavier College at Florey and also Padua. He continued to be active right up until his death. He was diagnosed with cancer about two months before he died.

Last year, when he was 90, he was still known to walk from Chapman to Woden Plaza. He was quite a remarkable man, a man who had a very significant influence on education, especially in the territory. He came here as principal of Narrabundah, then went to Campbell and later to the Catholic Education Office. Many teachers who taught under him still serve in both our systems. He will be very sadly missed.

I would like to formally pass on my condolences to the family on Jim's death and the death of his wife, Kathleen, who was a very fine actress in her own right. She and Jim met in Wagga and married there. She was an excellent singer and actress and continued to be involved in many charities and theatrical productions in the territory when both of them lived here.

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