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Unions pay tribute to popular comrade

Friday, 12th April, 2013

Former BIC Secretary Fred Smith, whose funeral will be held today. Former BIC Secretary Fred Smith, whose funeral will be held today.

The Executive and members of the Barrier Industrial Council, Trades Hall Trust and affiliated Unions are saddened by the news of the death of past Secretary, Fred Smith, on April 7.

Fred's involvement as a trade union official began with his election to the executive committee of the AEU.

Shortly afterwards he was elected to the position of Secretary of the AEU and, following the retirement of the late John Fitzpatrick MHR, was elected to the position of Secretary of the Barrier Industrial Council.

Fred held this position from 1969 until his retirement in 1985.

In 1998, in the Broken Hill Trades Hall's 100th Anniversary Souvenir edition of "Boxing Heroes of the Hill", Graham "Bushy" Burke wrote of Fred's involvement in the boxing scene at the Trades Hall Quadrangle, where "Young Freddie", trained by his father Freddie Smith Snr, began his amateur boxing career before turning professional in October 1954.

After hanging up his gloves, Fred continued his association with boxing as a referee.

The Trades Hall Trust is particularly grateful to Fred for having the foresight to rescue items of historical importance, including the door of the boxers' changeroom and 1909 Lockout memorabilia, and returning these items to their rightful home, the Trades Hall. If not for Fred, they would have been discarded and lost forever.

During Fred's term as BIC Secretary, some new employees would be sent, by their workmates, to the Trades Hall on Badge Show Day to "collect" their prize for having the lucky badge. Fred would feel sorry for these young people and hand them a few dollars from his own pocket.

In 2003, as part of the celebration of the BIC's 80th anniversary, it was decided to hold a genuine Lucky Badge draw.

Fred expressed his delight when he was invited to draw the official "Lucky Badge" which was won by Heidi Ogden. Also, in recognition of his contribution to the trade union movement, Fred was featured on the BIC's 4th Quarter badge in 2003.

To those who knew and worked with Fred, he will always be remembered for his fairness and compassion for the workers of Broken Hill in their struggles for their right to a "fair go" when negotiating their respective Industrial Agreements.

We extend our deepest sympathies to Vera, Christine, Karen, Fred and Peter and their families.

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