About Wes Smythe
Wesbrook (Wes) Smythe lived with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a condition which confined him to a wheelchair and a lifetime of broken bones. But Wes never let disability define him. He lived an active, independent life, driving his own car and working full time for the South Western Sydney Local Health District for four decades until retiring aged 60. Wes had many friends and was active in his local community.
He saw sport, especially rugby league, as important for the quality of community life. As a youngster he enjoyed, and even organised, inter-school sports competitions for wheelchair football and participated enthusiastically whenever he could. This was at a time when few resources or formal competitions were devoted to disability sport. Later, Wes was actively involved in local rugby league, volunteering for many years at the Thirlmere Football Club in a range of capacities, including as Club Secretary. A qualified basketball referee, Wes loved many sports, but rugby league was a real passion. Supporting St George since their 1960s glory days, he was a long-term member of St George-Illawarra Rugby League Club.
Wes was also a great supporter of the Tom Brock Annual Lecture, attending when possible and devouring its publications. An inspiration to all who met him, Wes died aged 65 in March 2022. His family are delighted to see his achievements commemorated and legacy celebrated through a rugby league and community award in Wes’s name.