Richard Bowyer Smith

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Richard Bowyer Smith
Born (1837-09-02)September 2, 1837
London, England
Died February 4, 1919(1919-02-04) (aged 81)
Subiaco, Western Australia
Resting place Karrakatta Cemetery[1]
Nationality Australian
Spouse(s) Margaret Hunter Smith (nee Smith) (1843–1915)
Parent(s) Smith Owen Smith (1807–1890) and Mary Ann Smith (nee Lee)
Plan of the original single-furrow plough.

Richard Bowyer Smith (2 September 1837 in London, England — 4 February 1919 in Subiaco, Western Australia) was an Australian inventor.


He is reported as serving an apprenticeship as a wheelwright with J. G. Ramsay & Co. of Strathalbyn, South Australia.[2]

Under R.B. Smith's direction, his brother Clarence Herbert Smith created the first stump-jump plough, entitled the Vixen, in 1876. The South Australian government had offered a reward of £200 to anyone who could develop an effective mechanical stump puller due to frustration with lack of productivity efficiency on its farms with current equipment.

The plough consisted of any number of hinged shares: when the blade encountered an underground obstacle, it would rise out of the ground. Attached weights forced the blade back into the ground after the root was passed, allowing as much of the ground to be furrowed as possible. Although a little unorthodox, it proved remarkably effective, and was dubbed the "stump-jump" plough.

R.B. Smith took out a patent in 1877 for the design, he allowed it to lapse. R.B. Smith was later credited as the inventor of the design by the Parliament of South Australia in 1882, despite controversy over the claim, and was awarded £500. His brother began manufacturing the parts in South Australia, whilst R.B. Smith relocated to Western Australia in 1884, demonstrating and marketing the plough he designed with little sales success and minimal profits.

After moving to Western Australia, R.B. Smith was the manager of a hotel from 1893 to 1895, and between 1895 and 1899 he operated 'railway refreshment rooms'. He then leased 181.5 acres (0.735 km2) of farmland at Beverley, where he resumed his passion for creating agricultural tools. He proceeded to then open a workshop in the Perth suburb of Highgate in 1912, having ended his lease of the farming land.

He immigrated to South Australia with his family on the ship 'Trusty' from London, 15 May 1838.


  1. ^ "Australia Deaths and Burials, 1816-1980," database, FamilySearch ( : 12 December 2014), Richard Boyer Smith in entry for Margaret Hunter Smith, 05 Feb 1915; citing reference I12 P7; FHL microfilm 1,669,302.
  2. ^ "Stump-Jumping Plough". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954). Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia. 5 March 1934. p. 18. Retrieved 22 June 2015.