Out Among the People
His Life Has Been Filled With Good Deeds
HO'W even and brightly the thread of some men's lives runs through the social
fabric ! It is conspicuously ap parent in a quiet, refined pattern that can be applied to Mr. Stow Smith. He was 89 a month ago, and some of his friends assembled to wish him at least 11 more happy returns. They suggested to me that his life history is one of out standing service in com merce and to his church, and that I should talk to him about it. And so I went to his home at 15 Cross road, Kingswood, on Saturday. He had just returned from Parafield whence his daughter, Mrs. Arthur Matters, had left for Melbourne to see her sister Edna, Mrs. H. B. Piper, and brother-in-law. Mr. Piper has been in St. Andrew's Hospital, East Melbourne, until last Thurs day, when he returned to their Toorak home. His resignation because of ill health as Chief Judge of the Arbitration Court and now from the BHP Company board has been much re gretted on all sides. Always On High Level We had a pleasant, rest ful hour together, and Mr.
Stow Smith told me he, the youngest of Mr. and Mrs. James Smith's fa mily of 10, was born at Beaumont and has lived on the heights ever since— at Fullarton
and now Kingswood. The old name on his gate, Carrayerta, means high land. All this possibly accounts for his lofty ideals. His full name is Quinton Stow Smith, named after a notable Adelaide pioneer minister, friend of his father. I found that fact in a hand some prize he won for geo- graphy, history and science at Mr. J. L. Young's famous school in 1875, and others for geography and German (Mr. H. Nootnagel, master) in 1877. Sir George Murray was dux of the school, and near contemporaries were Drs. H. H. and A. E. Wigg, the Scammells (4), Dr. J. C. Verco, Sir Herbert Phillipps, P. W. Bullock. Office Boy Start Mr. Bullock had just taken over his late father's land agency business and opened an office in York Chambers, Franklin street. Mr. Stow Smith went there in October, 1879, as his first office boy at 7/6 a week. He remained there until 1888, when he and Mr, S. A. Davenport started on their own in Bank of Australasia Chambers. Later they linked up with the old Stock Exchange of SA and were joined by Mr. Alfred J. Roberts. Mr. Smith's cousin.
In 1905 Mr. Stow Smith, with Mr. Roberts and Mr F H. Cowell, bought the busi ness of Cowell Bros., after the principal Mr. J. W. Cowell, had retired and bought The Briars, Medin die, from the Hon. G. C. Hawker. Mr. Cowell had married Miss Ada Cooper, Mrs. Smith's sister. Since 1910, when the big business was incorporated, Mr. Stow Smith has been chairman of directors; his board colleagues: Messrs. A. I T. Matters, G. H. Cooling, Harold Stow Smith (manag ing director). 'Mr. Cowell bought our Victoria Square site from the Bank of New South Wales remarkably well and we have retained it,' Mr. Stow Simth said. 'We disposed of our Norwod and East Adelaide properties and the business is controlled from Port Ade laide now. 'We lost an excellent manager when Mr. James A. Gibson went to Moore's.' Noble Church Work Nobody has rendered more noble denominational ser vice than Mr. Stow Smith. Immediately after his marri age in 1897 to his young bride who had joined Flin ders street Baptist Church at 16 in 1886, the Rev. Silas Mead said to him 'Stow, I want you to go on to the diaconate.' And readily con senting, he has been an offi cer ever since. He is an honorary life Elder but does not attend meetings. Treasured possessions in clude a Holy Bible given him by the Baptist Union of Australia in 1932 after he had been president for three years. It was signed by his successor, C. James Tinsley. Mr. Stow Smith followed the first president, the Rev. J. H. Goble, of Footscray, V. He was the first lay presi dent At the time of his nomination in 1929 the 'Baptist Times' of London gave his age as 95— a handi cap of 30. Handsome is a leather bound illuminated address presented to him by the Bap tist Union of SA in Septem ber, 1938, for more than 50 years' outstanding service as treasurer of the building fund.' By your careful con serving of the available funds,' it records, 'it has never been necessary to de
plete the capital; but on the other hand the amount has increased from £5,134 to £7.354.' In that Bible are auto graphs of famous overseas visitors entertained by Mr. Stow Smith and his late wife at their Fullarton home. His most noteworthy posi tion was vice-president of the Baptist World Alliance for some years. He and his family visited England in 1913 and 1925. Benevolence Extending the ambit of his philanthropic work, Mr. Stow Smith has been as sociated with the Adelaide Benevolent Society for 50 years, he succeeded Mr. W. T. Rofe as president eight years ago. The Stow Smith homes for elderly people at Firle are named after him.
For long he has been vice president of the British and Foreign Bible Society and the Aborigines Friends As sociation. At his home he has a baro meter, prize for winning the high jump at Kensington football club's annual sports on Kensington Oval in 1882. His elder brother, Pirie, who died at 21, won the 150 yards hurdle race. His Fullarton Home When young Mr. Stow Smith bought five acres of land on Fullarton road, built a home in 1896, and there he and his wife (who died in 1947) reared their family. In 1950 he sold it to the Housing Trust; who con verted the house into three flats and are building on the property 40 homes, in which will live nearly 150 people.