Frederick T H Smith

To: "John Barkla" <>, <>
Subject: Frederick T H Smith
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2013 18:14:38 +1000
Fred was world famous for his observations on waders (which we now call shorebirds) when I moved to Victoria from the UK with my family in 1964. Within days of arriving I gained employment in Kew where Fred lived so immediately took advantage of that proximity to call on him at home. And so started an enduring friendship. Fred was his own, and rather a private man, so it was difficult to get close. He had no car and couldn't drive (never learnt) and so relied on others for transport. In those early days I would pick him up and he would show me around the swamps around the mouth of the Yarra and then west of Melbourne further afield to the Werribee Sewage Farm and the salt-works at Altona and around Geelong. We made several camping trips to northern Victoria and into NSW. He also introduced me to the swamps SE of Melbourne where I still conduct regular surveys. His renowned expertise was with waders, being instrumental in finding and publishing several firsts for Australia and Victoria. Without checking, those that come to mind include Lesser Yellowlegs, White-rumped Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Wilson's Phalarope and Grey Phalarope. I was with Fred and others at Lake Murdeduke in the Western District of Victoria when a Ruff was found. At the time we thought that it too was a first but we later learned that one was seen a week previously on a wetland along the Murray. We co-authored that observation. In my case, I think I learned more from Fred about crakes and rails than any other group of birds. As my interests turned to centre more on seabirds and so to the Mornington Peninsula, eastern Victoria and south-eastern NSW our physical association faded but we still shared our experiences via the telephone.

Thanks Fred, I'll miss you!

Mike Carter
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mount Eliza  VIC 3930
Tel  (03) 9787 7136

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