With an involvement in The South Eastern Times newspaper in Millicent dating back to the early 1980s, John “Fred” Luckhurst Smith would be among regional South Australia’s longest-serving journalists currently still based in the newsroom.
For the first decade of his involvement, “Fred” combined a full-time teaching role with regular contributions to Millicent’s venerable newspaper.
His reports on football and cricket, letters to the editor, book and theatre reviews and general news items filled many columns between 1982 and 1992.
“I received great encouragement to write from the late Bob Chewings who was editor from 1952-1988.
“I already had a good background in research and writing as I had graduated Bachelor of Arts from the University of Adelaide and had three postgraduate diplomas from the University of South Australia.”
This 10-year period as a volunteer contributor has been invaluable as “Fred” now deals with others who regularly provide such material to the newspaper.
The opportunity to join The South Eastern Times at the start of 1993 on a full-time basis was embraced by “Fred” as he could indulge his passion for the Millicent community.
Originally from Adelaide, “Fred” has become fully involved with various sporting and cultural groups in the South East.
“Football and cricket and the Anglican Church were a big part of my life in the city.
“In the sporting realm, I have been the secretary of the Mid South East Football League and associated with the tennis, football and cricket clubs at Hatherleigh and Rendelsham.”
For around a quarter of a century, “Fred” has aimed to chronicle the achievements and activities of Millicent and its 5000 people.
At all times, “Fred” has strived for fairness and accuracy and been ever mindful that he is recording the history of his adopted home community.
He is passionate about South Australia with his forebears arriving in the 1840s.
“Fred” took a break of a few years from The South Eastern Times earlier this decade and worked as a relief teacher at 15 schools across the region and beyond, as well as a freelance journalist.
“Fred” returned to The South Eastern Times at the start of 2013 and is proud to be a part of the Border Watch Newsgroup, which has regularly received accolades from the Country Press Association of South Australia.
He is also a multiple individual winner of Country Press Association awards.
There are a number of sacrifices required on a small-town newspaper reporter and “Fred” freely acknowledges the support of his wife Robyn.
There is considerable weekend and out-of-hours work required, which disrupts family time.
“Fred” happily describes himself as an all-rounder with his articles and images filling both ends of the paper with editorials and advertorials in the rich mix as well.
“I grew up in a home which was full of newspapers.
“We would get the Adelaide morning and afternoon newspapers along with the weekly free suburban paper and the Melbourne Truth and The Australian.
“Dad would keep past editions of major events like the centenary of South Australia in 1936 and the death of His Late Majesty the King in 1952.
“I suppose that it is no surprise that much of my working life has been spent as a reporter.”