Smith was connected with the Jindyworobak Movement, and had some of his work, such as Columbus goes West (1943) published by them. However, he spent only a decade in Australia, returning to New Zealand in 1946. From 1948-1954, he taught in adult education.
He spent several years in Perth from the late 1960s, associating with younger poets including Andrew Lansdown, Hal Colebatch and Lee Knowles. He was a prolific writer of poetry into old age, though many of his later poems have never been collected. He also a distinguished conchologist, specialising in classifying cowrie shells. He said he had come to Perth from Sydney to find unpolluted water for shelling.