"KEN SMITH, OAM"
( PPPG Member No. 1148 )


We were delighted to learn that one of our members, Kenneth Hayden Smith, PPPG Member No. 1148, of Dundas, New South Wales, was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the 2010 New Years Honors. The award was for service to the community through the Parramatta and District Historical Society and through Museums and Galleries New South Wales. Upon request, Ken very kindly sent us some more details of his involvement with local and family history, which follow : -

Ken is a retired professional electrical engineer who has held executive management positions in the public and private sectors, particularly in electricity and coal industries. Since retirement, he has been involved with the Parramatta & District Historical Society and its 1824 Macarthur-built historic house museum, Hambledon Cottage. From 2001, he has developed and introduced policies and procedures to ensure the Society operated on a good and defined footing not just as a learned society, but as a small not-for-profit business with appropriate governance. These policies included strategic planning, financial budgeting, collection management, significance assessment, interpretation planning, and occupational health & safety.

He has held various offices within the Society, including Secretary & Treasurer, and was President 2001 - 2004 & 2009 - 2010. Currently as President and Archivist, he is leading a group of Society volunteers to complete documenting and digitally cataloguing its paper & photographic collection, and to seek funds for further restoration of this house museum.

The Society / Hambledon Cottage successfully completed the Museums & Galleries NSW (MGnsw) Standards Program in 2004. Following this project, he was invated in late 2004 to join MGnsw's Volunteer Reference Committee & is its current Chairman. He is still actively involved in this activity.

In addition, he assisted Museum & Gallery Services Queensland for three years ( 2005-2008 ) on a similar basis in reviewing some of their volunteer museums. Ken's museum-related interests are in museum and collection management utilising volunteer resources.

In 2007, he was elected a Fellow of the Parramatta & District Historical Society (FPDHS) and in 2004 received a Certificate of Achievement from the Royal Australian Historical Society. This year, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the community through the Parramatta and District Historical Society and Museums and Galleries NSW.

His interests include family & local history, travel, museums, Probus, his family & grandchildren.

Involvement through PPPG in his research into his great great grandparents, Godfrey & Miriam (Levy) Alexander. They were married in Geelong's first Jewish wedding ceremony in May 1850 by Asher Hyment Hart. Godfrey had arrived in Melbourne in 1837 as a free settler to join his older brother, Raphael. They moved to Portland and opened the "London Mart", the first drapery store in the district. A few years later, they moved to Geelong & and began a number of drapery & clothing stores, the main store ("Beehive") being on Market Square at the south side of Malop Street. Godfrey & Miriam lived at Marrabool Street, Geelong. He was one of 3 trustees granted land in 1849 by Governor Fitzroy for use as a Jewish burial ground and in 1851 for erection of a synagogue. Godfrey became Warden (head of the synagogue committee). The original synagogue at the corner of Yarra & McKillop Streets was replaced by a stone building in 1861.

Godfrey sold his properties & moved to Melbourne in the late 1850s & to Sydney by 1863, where he became Sydney's first chiropodist & became involved in Sydney's Jewish community. Godfrey & Miriam brought up a family of 11 children and lived in prosperous, middle class localities. Godfrey died in 1900, aged 80 years, & Miriam in 1911 on her 77th birthday. They were buried together in the old Hebrew section of Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney, NSW.

Congratulations Ken, from all at the Port Phillip Pioneers Group.


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