James Vinton Smith

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James Vinton Smith
Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly
for Oakleigh
In office
14 May 1932 – 6 September 1937
Preceded by Squire Reid
Succeeded by Squire Reid
Personal details
Born James Taylor Vinton Smith
(1897-11-03)3 November 1897
Parkside, South Australia
Died 22 July 1952(1952-07-22) (aged 54)
Malvern East, Victoria, Australia
Political party United Australia Party
Spouse(s) Constance Lillian Randall (m. 1925)
Occupation Stock broker
Military service
Allegiance Australia
Service/branch Australian Imperial Force
Years of service 1916–1919
Rank Lieutenant
Unit 13th Brigade
Awards Military Cross (1919)

James Taylor Vinton Smith, MC (3 November 1897 – 22 July 1952) was an Australian politician. He was the Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly for Oakleigh from 1932 to 1937, for the United Australia Party.

Early life[edit]

He was born in 1897 in Parkside, a suburb of Adelaide, South Australia, to Thomas Ladyman Home Smith and Minerva Mary Daniel. He was educated at Adelaide High School, and on 25 April 1915, joined the Bank of New South Wales in Adelaide as a bank clerk.[1]

Military service[edit]

Vinton Smith enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Adelaide on 1 February 1916, and was assigned to the 113th Howitzer Battery of the 13th Brigade, with which he saw active service in France. He attained the rank of Lieutenant on 1 March 1917.[1]

On 2 April 1919, he was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry during a battle on the Selle River in October 1918, for which he was also Mentioned in Despatches. The citation read:

Lt. James Taylor Vinton Smith, 113th (Howr.) By., 13th Bde., Aust. F.A.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on 17th October, 1918, at the capture of the high ground E. of La Selle river. His battery occupied a position 1,000 yards in rear of the front line, and suffered many casualties from machine-gun and artillery fire. The battery commander and another officer being both wounded, he took charge, and supervising the removal of the wounded, handled the battery most capably until its task was completed.[2]

Political career[edit]

Vinton Smith nominated as a candidate for the seat of Oakleigh in the Victorian Legislative Assembly at the 1932 Victorian state election. Although aligned with the United Australia Party, he was not the endorsed UAP candidate, and ran as an independent against the official UAP candidate and the Labor candidate, incumbent member Squire Reid. When the UAP candidate was eliminated, his second preferences gave him a majority over Reid, winning him the seat. Vinton Smith—this time fully endorsed by the UAP—narrowly defeated Reid again in the 1935 election, but Reid regained the seat in 1937.

Vinton Smith contested the federal by-election for Corio in 1940, but lost to the Labor candidate John Dedman.

Business career[edit]

After leaving politics, Vinton Smith returned to the financial sector. He founded a stock trading firm, which upon his death was left to two of his business partners, W.R. Dougall and F.J. Dean. The firm became known as Vinton Smith, Dean & Dougall, and later Vinton Smith Dougall, Ltd.[3]

He was also chairman of Edments Holdings Ltd., and company director for F. J. Walker Ltd., Sydney; M. B. John Ltd., valve manufacturers, Ballarat; Silk and Textile Printers Ltd., Hobart; Modern Permanent Building Society Ltd., Carpet Manufacturers Ltd., Sydney; and several other companies.[4]


On 22 July 1952, Vinton Smith told his wife he was going to the shed at their Malvern East home to chop wood. She decided to check on him when she heard the chopping stop, and found him dead from a gunshot wound, with a 22-calibre rifle underneath his body.[5] The city coroner ruled a verdict of suicide, noting that Vinton Smith had been suffering from a serious heart complaint and was "a candidate for a very early death" who appeared to have "shot himself on a sudden impulse".[6]

When his will was lodged for probate, it was discovered that Vinton Smith had left a large estate worth £204,593.[7]


  1. ^ a b Bank of New South Wales Roll of Honour, Bank of New South Wales.
  2. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31680. p. 15398. 9 December 1919.
  3. ^ "New firm for sharebrokers.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 28 January 1953. p. 8. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "Stockbroker Shot Dead.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 23 July 1952. p. 5. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "VINTON SMITH FOUND DEAD.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 23 July 1952. p. 5. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "Shooting 'a suicide impulse'.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 14 August 1952. p. 7. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Suicide Left Estate Of £204,593.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 30 August 1952. p. 4. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 

External links[edit]

Victorian Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Squire Reid
Member for Oakleigh
Succeeded by
Squire Reid