Arthur Edward Smith
1880 - 1978
Arthur Edward Smith ended a successful engineering career with a famous London firm, to become a violin maker for Jefferies & Son at the age of 20. Whilst employed with this firm, he learned the trade of repair, and techniques of restoration to musical instruments.
In 1909 Arthur migrated to Australia, his first port of call was Melbourne. 1912 saw Arthur set sail bound for the United States of America where he exhibited a quartette of his instruments at the World Trade Fair in San Francisco. On his return to Australia in mid 1914, Arthur set up shop at the Quay end of George Street Sydney, with another violin maker Carl Rothammer, the two met during Arthur's visit to the U.S.A. This partnership dissolved when Mr. Rothammer returned to the United States. Arthur Smith then formed a Company in 1919 known as A.E.SMITH & Co. Pty., Ltd. The location of his new shop was 69 Hunter Street Sydney, the Company relocated down the road to 9-11 Hunter street in the early 1930's where the firm earned a reputation, equal to the finest anywhere in the world. The Company ceased trading in 1972.
In 1949 he entered a couple of violins and a viola in a competition in the Haig, Nedderland, amongst the adjudicators where some members of the International Society of Violin and Bow Makers. Arthur was asked to become member of this august body, and was certified by them a Master Luthier. Arthur E. Smith was awarded the M.B.E. in the early 1970's, and was then honored with the O.B.E. a few years later for his achievements in the Musical Industry.
During the period 1919 - 1972 anumber of Australia's leading instrument repairers, and makers, were trained in the workshop of A.E. SMITH & Co. Pty., Ltd. Arthur Edward Smith was the recognized expert on the authentication of instruments of the violin family in this country. He also earned a reputation as a violin maker of exceptional ability and artistry.
Author; Deborah Peacock