William was born to Oliver and Ellen Smith in 1864, he lived with his parents in the Wonnangatta Station until his mother’s death on the 5th March 1872. Ellen had given birth to twin girls Mary and Malinda a week earlier on the 27th Feb but died from complications from the births. The tragedy is both the girls then died a week after their mother and all three are buried in at Wonnangatta Station in the little cemetery.
After Ellen’s death Oliver married Ann Morgan and he sold out of his Wonnangatta partnership with William Bryce and purchased Denny Connolly’s boarding house / pub in the Cowa Valley just outside Dargo. William was 7 or 8 years old when they moved into the boarding house, where he was brought up by Annie and Oliver. Also living there was William’s siblings, George, Harry, Oliver jnr Thomas and John.
William remained until he was about 16 years old, then he went to Queensland ( it is not known if he went with or met up with one of his brothers, perhaps George who was nine years older ) and worked in mines around the State. William was working in the tunnels of the Hope G.M. Co’s mine at Millchester, Charters Towers when on the 13th January 1885 rock fell out of the roof above William completely severing William’s leg below the knee. He was immediately taken to hospital. It was reported he smoked a pipe all the way to the hospital betraying no sign of pain.
The doctor amputated more of William’s leg but he died from the injury in hospital on the 18th January 1885 just twenty one years old.
He is buried at Charters Towers Pioneer Cemetery.