Companion award to Skeptics’ patron

Australian Skeptics congratulates Dick Smith, patron of the organisation, for being awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in the recent Queen’s Birthday honours list.

The AC is awarded for eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Australia or to humanity at large. Apart from the recently re-instituted Knight and Dame awards, the AC is the highest Australian award that can be issued to an individual.

Dick started his career as an apprentice in a factory and then turned a small car radio installation business on Sydney’s northern beaches into a multi-million dollar retailer, Dick Smith Electronics.

He told the ABC that his “rags to riches” story was not out of reach of young people today.

“In fifth class, I was 45th out of 47 students in the class and deemed unsatisfactory,” he said. “I was able to do OK because of this fantastic country. If you’re a young person and can’t get to university, don’t rule yourself out.”

Dick has supported a range of humanitarian, social welfare and conservation organisations, medical research and the arts, among them Australian Skeptics. Throughout the organisation’s existence, from the very first test of water divining in 1980 with James Randi which was instrumental in setting up the organisation, through to regular appearances at Skeptics’ events, most recently at our 30th convention last year, Dick has been a reliable and generous supporter and mentor.

We thank Dick for his efforts, not only for Australian Skeptics, but for the Australian community generally.