Dave Smith (priest)

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Dave Smith
Fighting Father Dave
Father Dave Smith.jpg
Father Dave Smith
Born (1962-02-17) 17 February 1962 (age 56)
Occupation Parish priest
Known for Work with at-risk youth
Website www.fatherdave.org

Dave Smith (born 17 February 1962), also known as Fighting Father Dave, is an Anglican Parish Priest, based in Australia.

He is best known for his work with at-risk youths, especially in his use of boxing for those suffering from substance abuse problems and anger management issues. He is also a 6th degree black belt and a professional Boxer. His progression into Martial Arts and Boxing happened while he was attempting to raise funds for the community in Dulwich Hill, where he was the Parish priest.

Father Dave is also a published author and has taken a very public stance on various human-rights issues, most especially the Palestinian occupation and the current war in Syria where he opposes all forms of Western military intervention.

Father Dave has been twice awarded Marrickville Citizen of the Year, and was nominated for Australian of the Year in 2004 and 2009. In 2012, he broke the world record for the most continuous rounds boxing.

Early life[edit]

Father Dave was born in Newtown, Sydney in 1962 to Bruce and Joan Smith – the oldest of three boys. His father, Bruce Smith, was a well-known Evangelical Anglican priest, public speaker and theological lecturer.

Father Dave completed an Arts degree with honors in Philosophy in 1984 before heading to the Anglican seminary of Moore College in 1985. He completed studies with two more degrees in theology in 1988 and was ordained a priest in the Anglican Church in 1989.[1]


After becoming ordained as an Anglican priest, he spent two years in the Parish of Miranda (in Sydney’s south) before being appointed to Dulwich Hill (in Sydney’s inner-west) in December 1990. He has continued as Parish Priest at Holy Trinity since then.[2]

When Father Dave became the Parish Priest in Dulwich Hill it was known as an area that was rife with drugs. In 1991 Father Dave began to focus on working with young people with drug problems in the area and opened up the church hall as an area where local youth could do fitness and martial arts training. In 1993, Dave founded the Order of the Fighting Fathers, as a way of encouraging other priests and religious persons to use the fighting arts to help young people overcome their addictions and lead fuller lives.[3][4][5]

Trinity’s Youth Centre went full-time in 1994, with the primary aim of being a safe place for local young people. Young people were provided with a safe place to hang and with counseling and spiritual input. In 2013, a young client burnt down the Centre, which received widespread media coverage. Father Dave moved Trinity’s to premises provided by the Dulwich Hill Salvation Army.[6][7][8]

His work in the community led him to twice be awarded Marrickville Citizen of the Year in 1997 and also 2009.[9] In 2005 and 2009 he was also nominated for Australian of the Year, particularly for his work with young people battling substance abuse.[10] In 2001, a short film was made about Father Dave, which was titled ‘The Good Fight’.[11]

In recent years he has helped to organize numerous peaceful demonstrations, including a protest against the deportation of Sheikh Mansour Leghaei and in 2009. He also marched and spoke at numerous rallies calling for justice for Gaza and for Syria. In 2011, Father Dave and Sheikh Mansour planned to launch an Internet radio station on the theme of peaceful inter-faith relations.[12]

In 2011, Father Dave began training in an attempt to break the world record for the longest period of continuous boxing.[13] On 1 April 2012, Father Dave boxed continuously for eight hours - boxing 66 opponents over 120 three-minute rounds.[14] He succeeded in breaking the world record and received extensive media coverage, including from Fox Sports.[15] The previous world record before Father Dave’s attempt was 26 rounds.[14]

In 2013, Father Dave visited Syria and spoke out against all proposed forms of Western military intervention in the conflict.[16] He is regularly interviewed in the Australian media for his perspective on the conflict.[17]


Father Dave is also a published author and wrote the book ‘Sex, the Ring and the Eucharist’.[18]

The book is a series of snapshots from Father Dave’s life. The book is known for its straight talking and honesty, where Father Dave also critical of the established church and the legal system. Even with the criticism, it is said that there is a pervading sense of faith and hope running through the book.[19]


  1. ^ "About". Father Dave. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Who we Are". Holy Trinity. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "Fighting Fathers Dave & Caine appear on the Channel 10 Breakfast Show". YouTube. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "About Fighting Fathers". Fighting Fathers. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Fighting Fathers". iGroops. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "Fire destroys Dulwich Hill church and youth centre". ABC. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "Fire destroys Dulwich Hill church and youth centre". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Reverend believes disgruntled youth behind fire at Holy Trinity Church". The Australian. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Feb 2009 Volume 26" (PDF). Marrickville Matters. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Father David Smith". ABC. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Sheikh Mansour is not to be Feared". Father Dave. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Fists of Affection - Father Dave & Sheikh Mansour". Fighting Fathers. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "Father Dave talks to Channel 10's 'The Project' about his world record". Channel 10. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  14. ^ a b "Father Dave Smith takes a punch in the nose for God and the kids". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  15. ^ "Father Dave's Guinness World Record Attempt". Fox Sports. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  16. ^ "Father Dave Visits Syria. "The Syrian People are Being Treated as Cannon Fodder"". Global Research. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "10 simple points to help you understand the Syria conflict". News.com. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "Official Website". Sex, the Ring and the Eucharist. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  19. ^ "Sex, The Ring and The Eucharist: Reflections on Life, Ministry & fighting in the inner-city". Amazon. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 

External links[edit]