Iconic Aussie entrepreneur named Australian Father of the Year

03 Sep 2018


  • Aussie father and entrepreneur Dick Smith awarded 2018 Australian Father of the Year
  • Inspiring Victorian dad Leigh Chivers named 2018 Community Father of the Year


 Australian entrepreneur and businessman Dick Smith, has today been announced as the 2018 Australian Father of the Year by The Australian Father’s Day Council and The Shepherd Centre, a charity for deaf and hearing impaired children.

While the father of two daughters – Hayley and Jenny – is best known for his namesake electronics company and food products, the 2018 award recognises his dedication to his family, Australian values and his philanthropic efforts that span close to fifty years.

The upstanding Aussie dad sold his iconic business, Dick Smith Electronics, in the 1980s to spend more time with his family. He also took this as an opportunity to pursue other business interests, as well as his passions of aviation and philanthropy.

Since then, Smith has been named Australian of the Year in 1986 and founded Dick Smith Foods Foundation in 2013 which has given over $10 million dollars to more than 400 charitable organisations. He was also awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2015 for outstanding service to the community, humanitarian and social welfare programs, and to medical research, the visual arts and aviation.

Despite a long list of achievements and accolades, Smith says his family and marriage of 50 years next March are his greatest accomplishments. In accepting the award, Smith said he was honoured to be received the title of 2018 Australian Father of the Year and join a long list of esteemed past winners.

‘Fathers and father figures play such an important role in the family unit so I am very humbled to be awarded Australian Father of the Year,’ said Smith.  ‘It does take a village to raise a child so, while I’ve focused on being the most supportive father I can, I know that my wife Philippa is also obviously very deserving at helping me with this role.’

Previous winners of Australian Father of the Year include former New South Wales Premier Mike Baird; His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Governor of New South Wales; high profile GP Dr Jamal Rifi: Basketballer Andrew Gaze and Aussie Home Loans founder John Symond.

The 2017 recipient, Mike Baird, presented Smith with his award on Friday 31 August at NAB’s offices in Sydney.

Dr Jim Hungerford, CEO of The Shepherd Centre, said he is delighted to name the entrepreneur and businessman as this year’s winner.

‘Dick has truly made his mark as a role model and an unofficial spokesperson for strong family and Australian values. We’re thrilled to recognise Dick as the 2018 Australian Father of the Year,’ said Dr Hungerford.

The Australian Father’s Day Council is also delighted to announce Leigh Chivers, a Melbourne-based father of two, as the 2018 Australian Community Father of the Year.

Chivers has faced unimaginable heartbreak this year having lost his wife, Sara, to brain cancer in January after a nine year battle with the disease. He then lost his two-year-old son, Alfie, five months later to the same disease.

Chivers is testament to incredible resilience and sacrifice in the face of adversity. He is now raising their four year old son, Hugh, and leaving a legacy with tireless awareness and fundraising for brain cancer.

‘I’m excited and deeply honoured to be awarded Community Father of the Year, an award that acknowledges everyday fathers for their commitment to their families and the role they play in improving their communities,’ Chivers said.

‘I’ve tried and lost the battle against cancer twice, but am determined to raise awareness about this insidious disease.’

The Community Father of the Year Award aims to celebrate and acknowledge the vital role that fathers play within families, and in the wider community.


For further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Jo Wallace

The Shepherd Centre

Senior Communications Manager

0407 201 394

[email protected]

Christine Galasinao

Palin Communications

02 9412 2255 | 0413 707 918

[email protected]  


About The Shepherd Centre:

The Shepherd Centre is a NSW-based not-for-profit organisation specialising in early intervention to help children who are deaf and hearing-impaired develop spoken language skills.

Since its foundation, The Shepherd Centre has opened up a world of sound for more than 2,000 children who are deaf or hearing impaired. The organisation is recognised as a world leader in the field of Listening and Spoken Language early intervention, providing families with assistance to develop their child’s speech, so they can reach their full potential.

For more information visit www.shepherdcentre.org.au.  

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