VALE: ‘Jim’ Smith

It is with much sadness and regret that the Board of Northam’s Avon Descent (NADA) advises of the recent sudden passing of former NADA Board member and long serving Race Director Jim Smith.

The Avon Descent family has lost a stalwart and acknowledged ‘Legend’ of the Avon Descent whom, if nothing else, will be known for his unwavering commitment to the long annual running of this great Western Australian community adventure event.

His oversight as a committed volunteer, with the support of his wife Nola and family, was instrumental in ensuring the events ongoing safe and successful conduct, over more than 4 decades.

Until recently Jim remained a committed and active member of the NADA Board and its Race Director.

By way of background, Rex Adams, another long serving stalwart and legend of the Avon Descent, communicated a more personal knowledge of Jim’s involvement with the Avon Descent:


It is difficult to find the right words to describe Jim’s involvement with the Avon Descent.

He started as a volunteer on secret checkpoints with the Northam Lions Club in 1974.

From there he progressed to helping with the Campsite then became involved with the rescue team which evolved into the current Avon Support Unit. Back in the day we used the Westrail Emergency Rescue Service and volunteers from the State Emergency Service. Jim was responsible for bringing many community groups into the Avon Descent. Such as the Landrover Owners Club, Fremantle 4WD Club, Northam Lions, Toodyay Lions and he worked closely with all of the groups. He became Deputy Race Director under Gerry Post and then took on the Race Director when Gerry retired.

Jim has been the face and voice of the Avon Descent for lots of years and was the solver of many crisis and problems No matter what the problem Jim seemed to always have the answer.

He was a true diplomat in settling arguments and disputes between volunteers and competitors and was a tough decision maker when the need arose.

Jim was the main contact for the land owners along the river as he knew everyone by name and everyone knew Jim. He was always supported by his lovely wife Nola who patiently sat in the vehicle manning the radio and keeping him supplied with tea and biscuits.

Jim was made a Freeman of the Descent then a Legend of the Descent for his untiring efforts to the Descent.

The Avon Descent has sadly lost a true Legend and good friend.

NADA Chair comments on Jim’s passing:

In reference to Jim’s sudden and untimely death, the current Chair and fellow Legend of Northam’s Avon Descent Association, Mr Greg Kaeding, commented that “Jim was not only a good friend, stalwart and legend of the Avon Descent, but ‘THE’ face of the Avon Descent, and indeed of the Northam community. He was also a passionate advocate for the right decisions to be made irrespective of whom it may or may not please. His knowledge of and contribution to the conduct of the event was unfathomable – and his appointment to and status as Legend unquestionable and richly deserved.

NADA will truly miss his contribution and involvement and we send our deepest sympathies and condolences to his wife Nola and the family”.

Funeral Service:

Should any members of the Avon Descent family wish to attend Jim’s funeral as a mark of respect, funeral details as published are available at the following link here.

A Graveside Service for the late Jim Smith of Northam will be held at the NORTHAM Cemetery at 2.30pm TUESDAY (24.9.2019)



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