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Dr. Otto Wien-Smith

Dr. Otto Wien-Smith
Dr. Otto Wien-Smith    

From "CLARION'S" Note Book in collaboration with Miss M. F. Tilbrook.


Doctor Otto Wien-Smith, M.D., and his wife Isabel Blanche, were the father and mother of Doctor Geoffrey Wien-Smith, and the Misses Isabel, Winifred, and Jean and of Percy Wien-Smith, and their daughter "Little Sidney".

Doctor Wien-Smith, right from the earlier days of Clare, lived his life in a manner that typified all that was best in life.

Steeped in the traditions of his profession, and the ready willingness of a wife who devoted herself to help in every way possible, there were few homes in the district that did not know him or his brother Dr. Alfred A. Smith.

Many of the generations of to-day first saw the light of day with the medical aid of these two brothers.


In earlier times there were no motor cars, and swift journeys of mercy per horse and trap at all times of the day or night never saw them flinch one degree in the stern duty of ministering to the sick or distressed.

Doctor Otto contributed an outstanding treatise to Medical history on the prevention and treatment of hydatids, which was particularly noted by inclusion in Scientific Medical works.


He also brought the first motor car to Clare, and when it arrived per Thomas' trolley at the foot of the hill below his house and surgery at "Windy Brae", it caused a local sensation.


This text below is from Dr Geoff Wien-Smith’s written reflections, held at the Clare Museum of the National Trust.


Otto Wien-Smith was the second son of Alexander Smith and Isabella Drummond, and was born in 1853 in Aberdeen, Scotland on October 17th.

He was educated in Edinburgh and London

  • He returned to Edinburgh and was a student of Medicine at the university.  Took his Degree as Bachelor of Medicine and Master of Surgery.


Alexander Smith was in the grain trade and had an Austrian friend in Vienna and he named his second son Otto Wien after his friend. 

  • The name Wien has been continued in use by their father in naming his children Wien-Smith.

  • We find that most people change the pronunciation of Wien-Smith pronounced “Vien-Smith" to "Wien-Smith".


My father joined the P&O Service and was the medical officer at the salary of 10 pounds a month, the same as the cook. 

  • He was at sea for several years travelling to China and India and Australia.

  • My father contracted tuberculosis of the lungs.  Going to Plymouth to join his ship he was fortunate to recover from an attack of bleeding from the lungs.

  • My father’s ship called at Port Adelaide to load wheat. 

  • He knew he had a Richardson relation in a small town 80 miles north of Adelaide called Clare. 

  • He went to see him and during his talk was told that there was only one doctor there called Dr. Bain who needed help.


My father called on Dr Bain who suggested that he should join him as a junior partner.  An agreement was drawn up between the two doctors.  It contained 18  “where as's” and is still in existence at the Clare local Museum.

  • My father joined Dr Bain in 1878 and lived with him, at his home on the corner of Burton Street and Agnes Street, a nice stone house.

  • He returned to Edinburgh in 1889 and wrote a thesis on hydatids and was awarded the degree of Doctor of Medicine, Edinburgh.

  • (Dr Bain and Dr Otto signed an agreement in 1876, but Dr Otto had an agreement with P&O that had to be fulfilled).


Dr Bain was a great benefactor to the town of Clare. 

  • He gave among other things the land and some of the money to build the library and the swimming pool. 

  • A memorial to Dr Bain, a bandstand, was built on the hill above the Oval.


Dr Bain did not follow all the “where as’s” in his agreement with my father.

  • One morning in the early  hours my father was returning to Dr. Bain’s residence after a night call. 

  • He met Dr. Bain walking down the drive and asked him if he was going to a midwifery case, as he was carrying a small black bag. 

  • Dr. Bain replied “I am off to England (so I need) to catch the coach for Saddleworth. 

  • My father asked about luggage, and Dr Bain replied, as he patted his bag “I have 50 sovereigns for my father and  a clean pair of pyjamas.” 

  • He asked my father if the agreement held, then off he went. 


This left my father in an awkward position with an overdraft at the Bank. 

  • My grandfather had moved to London and his third son Alfred (Fred) attended Guys Hospital and took his degree in medicine. 

  • As Dr. Bain had left Clare, father Dr. Otto bought 'Prospect house' in 1890, (at the top of King Street, Clare, now named 'Windy Brae', with a garden running down to the Hutt River.)

  • His sister Margaret Drummond Smith came from London and kept house for him and his brother Dr A.A. Smith, who also came out to join my father as a partner.

    • Dr Alfred Alexander Smith lived in a house Hemley, opposite the convent school, that Dr Otto built and both originally lived in.


In 1891 my father married Blanch Isabel Richardson, who lived in the house which is now the Memorial Hospital in Adelaide. 

  • Mr Richardson was a surveyor and surveyed most of the land for the railways. 

  • My parents had 6 children, and 3 of my sisters still live at Windy Brae.”

Passing of Dr Otto Wien Smith
Passing of Dr Otto Wien-Smith


Dr. Otto Wien Smith, who died recently at Clare at the age 78, had practised there for 42 years. He was born at Aberdeen, Scotland, and educated at Edinburgh and Norwood, London. He graduated at Edinburgh University in 1875. He was a medical officer in the P. and O. Line for two years, and settled at Clare in 1878.

Dr Otto graduated with an MB at the age of 20 years and 11 months, so he had to wait a month before he could be licensed to practise medicine.

He developed tuberculosis of the lungs and was advised to take a long sea voyage.

He became the ship's doctor on a P&O liner. His salary was 10 pounds per month, the same as the ship's cook.

His ship called into Port Adelaide and, being a Scot, he knew that he had a second cousin living in Clare.

So he went to see this cousin who mentioned that Dr Bain was looking for a partner.

Dr Otto went to see Dr Bain and an Agreement of Partnership was drawn up in 1876.

This Agreement was in beautiful handwriting on 5 large pages.

However, Dr Otto had an agreement with the P&O Line and was unable to commence practice with Dr Bain until 1878.

  • He was a medical officer to the Clare Corporation, and introduced sanitary reform.

  • In 1889 he visited Edinburgh.

  • He was married to Miss Blanche Richardson, of Adelaide, in 1891.

  • He held many public positions in Clare.
    These included

    • mayor,

    • president of the high school committee,

    • the Institute, and

    • the Agricultural and Horticultural Society, and

    • chief of the Caledonian Society.

Dr G. Wien-Smith and his Father Dr. Otto

Dr Otton Wien-Smith was largely instrumental in securing the erection of the Clare and District Hospital and the Clare High School. 

With Messrs. J. Christison, J. H. Knappstein, and M. Badger, he was one of the founders of the Stanley Wine Company.

He was a generous patron of sport.


At Left: Dr Geoffrey Wien-Smith, and his father Dr. Otto Wien-Smith, Windy Brae Clare.


Dr. Otto Wien-Smith gave up his practice in 1920. and was succeeded by his son, Dr. Geoffrey Wien-Smith.

In that family here are also three daughters and another son, Mr. Percy Smith.

Source: Chronicle (Adelaide, SA)  Thu 2 Jun 1932  Page 49   Dr. O. W. SMITH


Dr Otto Wien-Smith was the Medical Officer of Health for the Clare Corporation for many years.

He became a member of the Clare Corporation and Mayor from 1922-25.

He was instrumental, with Mr I. S. Scott, in persuading the Education Department to start a High School on Clare. This opened in a small way in 1921.

Otto was also a great reader and had a considerable library of medical books and general literature including Charles Dickens and Walter Scott.

He was a lifetime member of the Clare Institute Library and for two years he was President of the Clare Caledonian Society.

With his brother, Alfred Alexander Smith, he was a promoter of the Clare and District subsidized hospital. This was opened in 1924 and he became its first Chairman.

Dr Otto retired in 1920 at the age of 78 and died on 20 May 1932 and is buried in the Clare Cemetery. Courtesy of Val Tilbrook

Obituary - Dr Otto Wien Smith

​Below: Three sisters, Jean, Isabel and Win Wien-Smith, Jean (left) standing next to Dr Geoffrey Wien-Smith

Three Wien-Smith sisters, Jean, Isabel a
Dr Otto Wien-Smith  

It is with regret we record the death of Dr. Otto Wien-Smith, who passed away at his residence, "Windy Brae," Clare, on Friday, May 20, at the age of 78 years. He was a man of sterling character, and devoted to his profession.

During his practice in Clare and surrounding- districts for forty-two years few were the homes which he did not visit, and his kindly disposition, ability, and prompt assistance made for him a host of friends, who deeply regret his passing. His good deeds will long remain in the remembrance of many..

Dr. Wien-Smith was the second son of Mr. Alexander Smith, and was born on October 17, 1853 at Aberdeen, Scotland. He was educated at Edinburgh and at Norwood, London. He returned to Edinburgh, where he attended the University. He graduated in 1875, M.B., M.Chr.(Master of Surgery), and sat under Lord Lister at Edinburgh.

He was fortunate that one of his teachers was Mr (later Lord) Lister, the discoverer of germs and antiseptic.


Later he was medical officer onboard the steam ships of the Peninsular and Oriental Line for two years.

  • He settled in Clare in 1878, in partnership with the late Dr. Bain.

  • When Dr. Bain retired he entered into partnership with his brother, Dr. A. A. Smith (now visiting England).

  • He returned to Edinburgh on a visit in 1889, and took his degree of M.D. there.

  • He was medical officer to the Clare Corporation and Clare Casualty Hospital for some years, and

  • during that period he introduced sanitary reform, which materially assisted in reducing typhoid fever in the town.

He married Miss Blanche Richardson, of Adelaide, in 1891, who assisted him in much philanthropic work in the district. 

  • Dr. Wien-Smith took his ad eundum gradum (of the same rank as) M.D. Degree of Adelaide University with his son Geoffrey when he graduated.

  • He was one of the foremost authorities in his day of the knowledge and treatment of hydatids, and numerous medical journals have written favorably of his work in that direction.


He was the first man in South Australia, north of Adelaide to purchase a motor car, buying one in 1904.

  • He retired from medical practice in 1920.

  • There were six children of the marriage (one daughter deceased) ;

  • also one grandson.


The surviving members of the family are

  • Miss Isabel M. Geoffrey,

  • Miss Winifred C. Percival, and

  • Miss Jean R. Wien-Smith. 
    These three maiden sisters lived quiet lives and were good church supporters, one playing the organ at the Anglican church for years.

    • The Clare audience was always glad to hear Miss Isabel Wien-Smith, who, of course, is "our brilliant mezzo-soprano."

    • "The Dainty Damozel" was received with loud applause, and her encore, "Jeunesse," she sang with a charming pathos.

Miss Drummond Smith and Miss Jane Smith (see obituary below) were sisters of the deceased.


Dr. Wien-Smith was of a kindly and philanthropic disposition, and he contributed freely to many movements for the welfare and advancement of the town and district, as well as to charitable institutions, and patriotic funds during the war. His efforts were mainly instrumental in securing a High School for Clare.

The Director of Education stated afterwards that Dr. Wien-Smith's persistency in the matter of a school for Clare had induced the Government to finally give favorable consideration to its erection.

Wien-Smith House at the high school was named in his honor.


After the war he turned his energies in the direction of obtaining better hospital accommodation for the town and district, which efforts culminated in the erection of the fine building which is now providing such good service  for the people. Its erection is tribute to his memory.

Dr. Wien-Smith was a Justice of the Peace for many years.

  • He was patron for many years, and president for two years, of the Stanley A. & H. Society and took keen interest in its working and advancement, when the shows were held on the old grounds. 

  • He was also one of the trustees of the old show grounds.

  • He was a committeeman for some years and also president of the Clare Institute. 

  • Dr. Wien-Smith was the Mayor of Clare for two years, 1922 and 1923, and during his terms of office carried out the duties of the position most efficiently.

  • He was a patron of sports, chiefly cricket, football and tennis.


Apart from his profession, his chief form of recreation was gardening, in which he took a great interest.

He was one of the founders of the Stanley Wine Co., in partnership with Messrs. J. Christison, J. H. Knappstein and M. Badger, and

was also a foundation member and past chief of the Clare Caledonian Society.

His ability as a medical man and his good work in other directions will

long remain in the minds of the people of the district.

His funeral took place on Saturday afternoon, when a large cortege followed to the graveside at the Clare cemetery, where Archdeacon Bussell and Rev. C. W. E. Swan officiated. Messrs.

McDonald and Edwards carried out the funeral arrangements.

- Source: Blyth Agriculturist (SA)  Fri 27 May 1932 Page 2 OBITUARY


Below: Windy Brae, formerly Prospect House, on King Street
overlooking the Hutt river at Clare - photo from Clare Museum.

Bridge Party at Windy Brae Clare.jpg
Wien-Smith Family photo.jpg

Dr Otto, his wife, and the children. 

Geoff would be the boy seated, and Percy the brother standing at centre. Isabel the biggest girl, Wyn the middle one, Jean the smallest sister

Wien Smith Building.jpg

Above: The Wien-Smith building in Main St Clare
Photo courtesy of Val Tilbrook

The building was situated where Target is now.

It had a wide dog leg corridor with rooms on either side.

  • Local doctors occupied three rooms (before the Clare Medical Centre was built),

  • local solicitor Mr A.W. Lemon (nicknamed Squash) occupied the two front rooms

  • which were later taken over by an accountant. (Courtesy of Val Tilbrook)

Windy Brae, Wien Smith house on King Str

Geoffrey Wien-Smith had an office building built on Clare's Main Street in memory of Dr Otto Wien-Smith in 1939.

Geoffrey and Roma Wien-Smith had no children but they adopted Susan and fed her on milk and bananas.

She was a little blonde girl with a good complexion.

Geoffrey was a very good lawn tennis player, in the top four, like his wife.

Dr Geoff Wien Smith and his wife lived in a big house at the top of the hill in Mill Street, Clare, on the northern side of the road, which used to be called Green Gables and also had a big garden.


 Blyth Agriculturist (SA)  Fri 14 Dec 1928  Page 2

General regret was expressed throughout Clare and district on Thursday of last week when it became known that Mrs. Blanche Isabel Wien-Smith, wife of Dr. Otto Wien-Smith, M.D., of Clare, had passed away after an illness of a

lengthy duration. 

Mrs Wien-Smith was a daughter of the late Mr. John Richardson, surveyor, and was born at North Adelaide in 1861.

In 1871 she went to England with her parents in the ship Yatala, (illustrated at left) captained by Captain Legoe.

The vessel was wrecked off the French coast at Cape Grisnez, there being no loss of life.

Her beloved doll was salvaged by a rescuer for her, and is still in the possession of her family.


Mrs. Wien-Smith was educated at Orford College, Gipsy Hill, Norwood, England, and returned to South Australia in 1886. She was married to Dr. Otto Wien-Smith, at St. Andrew's Church, Walkerville, on July 14, 1891.

Their family included two sons, and four daughters (one of the latter dying in 1898) and are

  • Dr. Geoffrey Wien-Smith (Clare),

  • Mr. Percy Wien-Smith (Adelaide), and

  • the Misses Isabel, Winifred, and Jean (Clare).


Mrs. Wien-Smith was held in high esteem by a large circle of friends in Clare and the surrounding districts.

Of a kindly and charitable disposition, her benefactions were widely distributed in cases of sickness and need, and many in distress can speak of her deeds of kindness.


In matters of public interest for many years she,took an active part, and her advice and assistance was frequently sought.

  • In connection with the State Children's Department, of which she was correspondent for 30 years, Mrs. Wien-Smith did splendid work.

  • She was enrolling associate for the Mothers' Union in connection with St. Barnabas' Church, of which congregation she was a valued member.

Other positions held by her included:

  • the vice-presidency of the Clare Women's Branch

  • of the Liberal Federation,

  • a member of the committee of the Red Cross Society,

  • president of the Girl Guides' Association since its inception five and a half years ago,

  • a member of the Boy Scouts committee, and was

  • also associated with the Ladies' Golf Club and the Ladies' Croquet Club.


The remains were laid to rest at the Clare Cemetery on Saturday afternoon in- the presence of a large attendance, the cortege being one of the largest seen in Clare for some years.

The burial service was conducted by the Rev. Archdeacon Russell and the Rev. C. W. E. Swan. McDonald and Edwards carried out the funeral arrangements.

Obituary - Mrs. Otto Wien-Smith
Clipper Yatala c. 1865.jpg

Above: Yatala, 1,127 tons, was a clipper ship built in 1865 for the Orient Line.

She traded to South Australia from London for seven years until she was wrecked on 27 March 1872, near Cape Grisnez, France. Until the advent of Torrens, she was arguably the fastest on the route

Wien-Smith Family photo.jpg

Dr Otto, his wife, and the children. 

Geoff would be the boy seated, and Percy the brother standing at centre. Isabel the biggest girl, Wyn the middle one, Jean the smallest sister

Photo courtesy of Val Tilbrook and the Clare Museum NTSA

Memoir of Dr Geoff Wien Smith
Memoir of Dr Geoff Wien-Smith

This is from Dr Geoff Wien-Smith’s written reflections,

held at the Clare Museum of the National Trust.


Above: 11th Field Ambulance Officers
Photograph - 1916 - Geoffrey Wien-Smith is in the back row, far right.


Geoffrey Wien-Smith was born a twin with Isabel Wien-Smith in Clare, April 19th, 1892 to Dr. Otto and Mrs Wien-Smith. 

  • He attended primary school with his two sisters at the Clare Rectory and  was taught by Miss Nancy Webb and Miss Lucy Webb.

  • He attended St Peter’s Collegiate School as a boarder

  • He then went to Adelaide University as a medical student, and graduated in 1915 with an MBBS degree. 

  • He enlisted in 1916 as a Medical Officer in the 11th Field Ambulance. 

  • Before going overseas he was appointed as house surgeon at the Adelaide Hospital for 6 months. 


He left Sydney for England and was billeted on the Salisbury Plain. 

  • Saw service at Armentiers and Ypres and Messines. 

  • In the First World War he was in France with the 11th Field Ambulance and was the Medical Officer to the men on leave. 

  • He took the opportunity to walk and see the small bay where my grandparents were wrecked. 


Whilst on leave in England he developed lung trouble and was not allowed to return to France. 

  • He joined Sir Henry Newland at (Queen Mary’s Hospital) Sidcup England where they repaired the badly injured face wounds of the soldiers. 

  • He was sent to a specialist course in Anesthetics and trained there. 

  • He returned to Adelaide in 1919 and went to the Children’s Hospital to get experience in children’s illnesses. 

  • Then he joined his father, Dr Otto Wien-Smith and uncle Dr A A Smith as a medical man.


His early education with his two sisters took place at the Church of England Rectory where the Rector’s daughters Miss Nancy and Miss Lucy Webb were our teachers. 

  • Their efforts at teaching writing were not very successful (in his case) and he writes that he was a poor writer ever since. 


Then he went to the Primary School in Clare. He used to run home for lunch and then run back to school. 

  • In 1907 he went as a boarder to St Peters College in Adelaide. 

  • Eventually, he became a prefect.  In the Prefect’s Room was Robert Badger, also of Clare and another boy, whose name escaped him. 

  • Their study was  only about 12 feet away from the Headmaster’s study. 

  • At 9 p.m. Canon Girdleston's stentorious voice was heard “Now boys, off to bed”! 

  • When he left St Peter’s College he went to the Adelaide University and studied medicine as he had always wanted to be a doctor.


Geoff Wien-Smith wrote:

"Canon Girdleston had been in the Oxford Boat four and was a keen rower and very enthusiastic."

  • As we were only boys and he was a large man, to keep the boat level he had a large tin full of water on his opposite side to balance the Boat.

  • At University I rowed and played lacrosse in the summer. 

  • One day whilst playing lacrosse on the University Oval we all stopped playing as the first aeroplane with Captain Bleriot was flying over towards the Hills.  He flew so low we could see him clearly."


"A few days before I had actually received my degree MBBS a Dr Steele from Burra, asked me to be his locum tenens for a few days."

  • "It was fortunate as he had a driver for the car.  I found that private practice was a busy one. 

  • In the first morning I was called to a patient 30 miles south of Burra and that afternoon I went 33 miles east of Burra to a station called “The Gums” and on return to Burra I was asked by the other doctors to give an anaesthetic. 

  • That night I was called to a midwifery case 30 miles north to Hallett.  I found it was a difficult case but mother and baby were finally all right. 

  • The mother had a small complication which needed an operation so was sent to the Burra Hospital when Dr. Steele returned."


"Two days later, I returned to Adelaide to receive my degree of MBBS.  The next day I was measured for a Captain’s uniform as I had enlisted as a medical officer in the 11th Field Ambulance of the 3rd Division."

  • "The Ambulance was camped at Mitcham under command of Colonel Downey.  Doctors were in short supply at that time.

  • The second day, he ordered me to teach 1st Aid to some 120 men in a large marquee. 

  • I had never taught 1st Aid but noticed that a number of men were wearing the 1st Aid Badges, so I asked them to teach the men. 

  • That afternoon I went in to get a 1st Aid Book

  • Now that I have reached (an age of) 81 years I still teach part of the 1st aid to students in first and last classes of Clare High School in Artificial respiration."


"I was fortunate to be selected as House Surgeon at the Adelaide Hospital for 6 months, for which I have always been most grateful."

  • "I was under Dr Poulton and he disliked Germans. 

  • There was one German airman in the ward with a broken leg and Dr Poulton said “Send him out” so I had to hide him in another ward until his leg had healed. 


"Sir Henry Newland asked me to give anaesthetics at Sidcup Hospital in Kent where the badly injured soldiers with face wounds were sent."

  • "As I was not very busy we played a lot of golf. 

    • A number of us gave a cup to the elder members of the Sidcup Golf Club who were very grateful. 

  • Sir Henry Newland sent me for training in anaesthetics with a specialist in anaesthetics 

    • The chestnuts would drop at night on the wooden roofs."


"I returned to Adelaide in 1919 and because of the influenza epidemic the soldiers were quarantined at Torrens Island for a week."

  • "After my discharge I went to Sydney and did a tour of the Jenolan Caves and Blue Mountains. 

  • As I had no experience with childrens’ illness I applied as House Surgeon at the Children’s Hospital in North Adelaide. 

  • Whilst there, Sir Henry Newland asked me to give anaesthetics as I had done in England for him at the Memorial Hospital and also at Keswick Soldiers Hospital at Glenelg. 

  • We used to start work at 6.00 a.m."


"I used a second hand bellows to pump the ether through a tube to patients nose or mouthpiece. 

  • I used to get a very sore hand but after a hunt through Adelaide shops I found a foot bellows used by metal analysers. 

  • I still have the apparatus in the local Clare Museum but others are now used."


"Dr Geoff Black was my opposite number at the Children’s Hospital.  I was there for six months. 

  • Whilst there I still continue to give anaesthetics for Sire Henry Newland for the repairs of the face injuries, some at the Memorial Hospital but most at the Keswick Military hospital."


"Finally I returned to Clare to join my father and uncle as their assistant.  

  • My visiting patients in their own homes was done in a buggy with a white horse. 

  • Most of the midwifery cases had their babies at home or at a so called nursing home.  A few women went to a private hospital at the east end of Mill Street."


"Mr John Richardson, my mother’s father, died in England.  As most of the family had returned to Adelaide my grandmother and three daughters also returned to Australia.

Dr Geoff Wien Smith's war experiences

"Finally I left the hospital to join my ship the “Nevassa” in Sydney. 

  • The first patient I saw had mumps and I did my best to get his medical officer to send him off the ship, but he wouldn’t do it."


"We thought we were going to Egypt, but England was our destination via Cape Town."

  • "A case of meningitis occurred after we reached Cape  Town so the whole ships company and soldiers were sent ashore while the ship was properly fumigated. 

  • The man with meningitis was sent to the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Cape Town, where he died. 

  • We had no further cases of meningitis but the mumps continued to spread. 

  • The majority of the men on the ship got mumps and I was one of the sufferers and had a painful journey."


"On reaching England we were isolated. 

  • We soon recovered and toured the surrounding country. 

  • Fortunately as a boy I had a pony so enjoyed the horse riding in Salisbury Plain and many a good gallop we had, as all the officers were mounted. 

  • Fortunately I was able to get leave and visited my Uncle and Aunt in London and cousins in Broughty Ferry, in Scotland. 

  • Finally we went to France and for the first time slept in tents for 3 days. 

  • We travelled then by train to a farm near Armentiers. As it was very cold I managed to sleep under some sheaves of hay near a haystack."


"At Armentiers I was in charge of an Advanced Dressing Station (this had been occupied before the onset of war by a Scotsman and we found he had stacks of magazines in the attic). 

  • Also a garden of Strawberries which unfortunately were not ripe whilst we were there. 

  • I was moved from there to Advanced Dressing Station near the front line.  Things were very quiet. 

  • One of my duties was to collect the Rum for the men in the front line. 

  • Then I returned to the Main Dressing Station in Armentieres. 

  • The RE and I were sent with most of the Ambulance men to be deloused at an unused factory. 

  • From Armentiers we were moved for a night to a town near the front line called Ypres. 

  • Here I slept the first night in the base of the Police Station.  Then up to the front line but there was not a great deal of fighting at the time."


"Our dressing place was a German Pillbox erected by the Germans which we had very strongly sand bagged on the German side. 

  • We had very few casualties there.   

  • When we returned to Ypres, the Colonial had slept for a while in a tent with an opening facing the Germans. 

  • When a German shell landed at the foot of the pole neither of our men were injured but I procured another tent with the opening facing away from the Germans."


"One afternoon on a march, I heard grumbles behind me “He’s lost his way!” 

  • On studying my map I discovered a short road saving us several miles to the village we were going to. 

  • Halfway along we came on a mass of ripe blackberries on each side of the road, and my reputation was saved as I gave the order “Break off for 10 minutes” so the men had time to have a good feed of blackberries."


"The French at the village were looked after by a returned colonel.  He ordered me to go around the village and ask for any damages our men had made. 

  • I was warned by one French Madame to be careful at her neighbour’s house. 

  • I found a gate post knocked down by one of our vehicles. 

  • This good lady had a habit of making a claim from the British for knocking down the post  and claiming damages. 

  • As I had been warned I reported to the Colonel the fact that the good madame had a habit of having the post replaced in such a way that our wagons could not get into her property without knocking gate post down, so the madame received no cash for her trouble in replacing the post in the bad position."


"Then we moved back to near the Front Line just two miles back, in a French village near a wood called Messines. 

  • Our engineers were busy building a tunnel under the wood and the village and filled it with plenty of explosives. 

  • Our main dressing station was sited near the entrance to the tunnel and was lighted by acetyline gas. 

  • These were all extinguished when the tunnel was exploded so we had to stop surgical work."


"I was due for a week’s leave and was sent to the home of a Duchess. 

  • She kept moaning all the time about the great loss of her pheasants, and we could hardly keep a straight face as our French interpreter knew the game keeper. 

  • Our Colonel used to give dinners to the Colonels and officers near us, and we usually had pheasants for dinner obtained via our interpreter and the Duchess’s gamekeeper, who was paid for his poaching. 

  • She was a friend of the Commander of our Force in Palestine, and she used to read us his letters which were up to date as the Turks retreated. 

  • When I returned to the Ambulance we were at a large dressing station.  We had a large number of German prisoners."


"Soon after this I was given 14 days leave in Paris. 

  • Our interpreter gave me an address of an hotel and told me a lot about Paris.

  • The Americans by this time had joined the British.  One day I heard a band concert given in a large square by the French, British, and American Bands.

  • Went to Versailles a marvellous place.  It was a bit of a jar going back to the Ambulance and Bully beef after the feasts we had in Paris at the Hotel and Restaurants."


"We had educated some of our chemists (who made use of disinfectant for wounds) to give anti-tetanus serum to our wounded and the German prisoners. 

  • The prisoners could not speak English and became very frightened when the Chemists came around with their syringes. 

  • Before the big battles near Ypres part of the larger room in the Dressing station was filled to the ceiling with many “Thomas” leg and arm splints and they were all used up. 

  • Nowadays fractures are usually treated by inserting steel pins.

  • Some young English doctors at this Dressing Station were amazed to see our Australian Privates putting on these splints, which we had taught them to do. 

  • Whilst on leave in England I was taken ill with some lung trouble and told I was not to return to France."


"I was sent on leave to Hatfield House and slept in the Picture Gallery."

  • The next morning the butler asked me “How did you sleep, sir?” I replied “Very well”.  The butler replied “Then the ghost didn’t disturb you”.

Dr Geoff Wien Smith's war experiences
Family of Dr Geoff Wien-Smith
Family of Dr Geoff Wien-Smith
Death of Miss J.A. Smith.jpg
Miss Roma Wadey
1936 Lady Bruce, Roma at Clare.jpg
Roma at Wien-Smiths.jpg
Miss Roma Wadey
Miss Roma Wadey 1929.jpg
Death of Jane A. Smith
Engagement of Roma Wadey.jpg
Cocktail Party for Roma Wadey.jpg
College Chapel Wedding Wien-Smith - Wade

Pictured Left:


MISS ROMA WADEY, whose engagement to Dr. Geoffrey Wien-Smith, of Clare, son of the late Dr. and Mrs. Wien-Smith, was announced today at a luncheon party.


The party was given at Clare by Mrs. W. M. Gillard, with whom Miss Wadey is staying.


She is the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Wadey, of Robe terrace, Medindie, and is a popular figure in golf and tennis circles. Roma Wadey played in the 1932 Aussie tennis champs in Adelaide.

Northern Argus (Clare, SA) Fri 7 Aug 1936 Page 5



A quiet wedding was celebrated on Wednesday morning, of last week at the St. Peter's College Chapel Adelaide, where

Dr. Geoffrey Wien-Smith, elder son of the late Dr. and Mrs. O. Wien-Smith, of "Windy Brae", Clare, was married to

Roma, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Wadey, of Robe Terrace, Medindie. The chapel was decorated with a profusion of golden mimosa. - Read more detail about the wedding


Below: The Wedding of Dr Geoffrey Wien Smith and Roma Wadey,

the bridesmaid was Evelyn Savage and
best man was Clive Sangster who was also a doctor in Clare.

They were married in St Peters College Chapel in Adelaide.


Dr Geoff Wien-Smith only had one child – an adopted daughter – Susan.

  • Dr Otto’s brother Dr Alfred A Smith joined him when Dr Bain retired and they remained in practice until Dr Otto retired in 1919. 

  • Dr. Geoff Wien Smith then took his place and remained in practice in Clare until he retired in 1963.

Dr Geoff (as he was known) was a keen golfer and at that time the Clare Golf Links were opposite the hospital.

When the good doctor was needed Matron Pattullo of the Hospital would go outside and wave a white flag.

1936 Hags now number only three.jpg
Mrs. G. Wien-Smith
Mrs G. Wien-Smith
117 Have Tea at 'Green Gables' Clare 193
VSD Garden Fete.jpg
Clare Red Cross Detachment Mrs G. Wien S
Red Cross Letter to Mrs G. Wien Smith 19
Mrs Geoff Wien-Smith Red Cross 1.jpg
Mrs Geoff Wien-Smith Red Cross 2.jpg
Mrs Geoff Wien-Smith Red Cross 3.jpg
Percy Wien-Smith
Percy Wien-Smith

Loved Father and Mother of John & Elizabeth

Born: 5 Apr 1900; Died: 25 May 1968

Gravestone John Wien-Smith 1930-2013.jpg

The Register News-Pictorial (Adelaide, SA) Mon 8 Apr 1929  Page 28


THE marriage was quietly celebrated at St. Peter's College chapel on Saturday afternoon of Joyce, youngest daughter of Mr. and. Mrs. C. Hedley Fisher, of the Avenue, Medindie, and Percival, youngest son of Dr. O. and the late Mrs.  Wien-Smith, of Clare.

Dean Young officiated. The church was decorated with pink flowers.

The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a charming frock of cream ring velvet, simply made with long sleeved bodice and skirt finished with two flared flounces lengthening at the back.

  • At the waist was a narrow swathe of silver tissue caught in front with a buckle of silver and brilliants.

  • The veil (which was that worn by the bride's grandmother) was of deep cream silk net, edged with needle-run silk. It also formed the train, and was caught with a narrow wreath of, orange blossoms with cluster at one side.

  • A sheaf of white gladioli was carried.

Dr Geoff Wien-Smith Flu.jpg
Driving Dear Daisy Belle
Dr Otto Wien Smith at the wheel of his 1

Below: Percy Wien-Smith with the 1904 De Dion, his 'Dear Daisy Belle'.

1904 De Dion Bonton owned by Mr P Wien-S

Above: De Dion Bouton 10 HP Motor Car "Dear Daisy Belle"
Then and Now (MotorClassica 2019)

The first locally owned motor car in Clare was a De Dion Bouton purchased by Dr Otto Wien-Smith in 1904 and it caused a sensation where ever it was seen. 

  • The clattering monster frightened horses which upended their loads of passengers and freight and them bolted along the road.

  • The Wien-Smith family named it 'Dear Daisy Belle' and in 2019 it was awarded the trophy for the best restored vintage car in Melbourne.

The first practical telephone used in Clare connected the home of Dr Otto Wien-Smith to that of his brother Dr Alfred Smith less than a mile away.


Dr Otto was Mayor of Clare from 3 December, 1923 until 1925.

  • He built Hemley nearly opposite the convent, then lived at another house called Prospect House which had been built by Miss Steele, a teacher from Bungaree, and used as a school.

  • This was later bought by Dr Otto Wien-Smith who renamed it "Windy Brae", and his family then lived there – the three girls, all their lives

    • Miss Isabel (Daisy to her friends)

    • Miss Wynn, and

    • Miss Jean lived there until they died.  It still belongs to the family.   

Read More

Read more:

Clare's Easter Tennis Tournament
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