FELL-SMITH, Bruce Gordon OAM (1943-2013)

Modified on Thu, 30 Nov 2017 15:14 by Con — Categorized as: Biography - All, Biography - Collegians in the News 1911-1960, Biography - Students, Geelong College

FELL-SMITH, Bruce Gordon OAM (1943-2013)

Architect and humanitarian, Bruce Fell-Smith was a tireless and dedicated worker for small village communities in South Asia.

In 2007, Bruce Gordon Fell-Smith was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to humanitarian aid through the establishment of the Talpe Rehabilitation and Development Trust in Sri Lanka. The Trust responded to the devastation of the Tsunami of 26 October, 2004. Bruce, who had lived in Sri Lanka's Galle region for almost 10 years, was one of the early benefactors to the region, immediately assessing the need for rehousing and rehabilitation for the many local, now homeless Sri Lankans. As a prominent Australian architect, Bruce Fell-Smith was able to design low cost houses to provide initial shelter. The design of the houses was compatible with the lifestyle of the Talpe villagers and consisted of one large room, a kitchen and a bathroom. The design also incorporated a concrete tie beam at both floor and ceiling levels, thus creating a strong, rigid and stable structure which can be extended to include bedrooms at a later date.

Along with the architectural design, Fell-Smith was also instrumental in fundraising for the project, and liaising with local builders and suppliers to have the houses built. The first house was built and gifted to a Sri Lankan family within eight weeks of the tsunami striking their shores. Over 50 houses have been built in three villages with each family owning their own house and land title outright.

Bruce first attended Maryborough State School before moving to Geelong to attend the Geelong College as a boarder in 1955. His father was Dr E Smith. In his final year at College, 1960, Bruce was House Prefect and Vice-Captain of Calvert House. He was also a member of the Athletics Team in 1957; Cricket 1st XI in 1959 and 1960; Shooting Team, 1959 and Shooting Team Captain, 1960; and a Cadet Guard in 1960. He was also notable for winning the Senior Boxing Prize in 1960. Bruce had lived in Bali for several years. He died on 15 September. 2013.

Sources: Ad Astra No 113 December 2007 p32; Herald Sun (Melb) 18 Sept 2013. OGC 1956.