18 Aug 2022

Sir David Smith featured image
Sir David Smith

The Churchill Trust was saddened by the news of the death of Sir David Iser Smith, Life Member of the Trust.

Sir David was a Director of the Trust and ACT Selection Committee Chair from 1 January 1999 to 31 December 2013. Sir David was made a Life Member of the Trust in 2014. 

Sir David Iser Smith KCVO, AO

Sir David Smith was born in 1933. His parents were Polish immigrants. He served as Official Secretary to the Governor General of Australia from 1973 until 1990, serving Sir Paul Hasluck, Sir John Kerr, Sir Zelman Cowen, Sir Ninian Stephen and Bill Hayden.

Smith gained a Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University and joined the Australian Public Service in 1953. Appointed Private Secretary to the Minister for Interior and Works from 1958 to 1963, he then went on to become Secretary to the Federal Executive Council and head of the Government Branch of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet from 1971 to 1973.

He was the inaugural Secretary of the Order of Australia after its establishment in 1975. After Sir Paul Hasluck retired Smith served Sir John Kerr and at the constitutional crisis of 1975, he read the proclamation of the dissolution of Parliament on the steps of old Parliament House in Canberra on 11 November of that year.

Sir David Smith’s honours make a long list. In 1977 he was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) for his continuing services as Official Secretary; in 1986 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for “service to the Crown, as Official Secretary to the Governor General and as Secretary of the Order of Australia”; in 1990 he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) at a private investiture at Balmoral Castle; in 1991 he was appointed a Knight of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem (KStJ); and in 2001 he was awarded the Centenary Medal for “services to Australian society through the Office of Governor General”. He was also awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal.

On his retirement from Government House he was invited to join the Churchill Trust’s ACT Selection Committee by Professor Noel Dunbar. He was Chair of the ACT Selection Committee and a Director of Trust’s Board from 1 January 1999 to 31 December 2013. Smith left the Trust Board with some regret, as the Trust was like family to him, as he told Board members and guests at the 2014 Churchill Trust Board dinner, ‘and one of the most rewarding experiences in a life of many rewarding experiences.’

Sir David Smith and his wife Lady June have three sons. He has been the Patron of Schizophrenia Australia Foundation since 1993, he is a volunteer guide at Parliament House, and has been Patron of the ACT Alzheimer’s Association since 1997.  He was appointed a life member of the Churchill Trust in 2014.


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