J Smith & Sons packs it in after 113 years

The 113-year-old Gympie-based J Smith & Sons has told its workers that the company will enter voluntary liquidation.

The company’s 67 workers were told the news on Monday.

The Gympie Times reports that weak economic conditions were blamed, with managing directer Kerren Smith also taking aim at governments for not recognising the value of manufacturing.

"This is evident when you review the Queensland Government's four-pillar economic strategy,” Smith told the Times.

"Nowhere in the strategy do the words manufacture or manufacturing appear.

"It is time the governments of today recognise the importance of manufacturing to our economy, the innovation created by manufacturing, the development of skills and employment in Australia's regional areas and capital cities.

J Smith dates back to 1900, when it started as a maker of horse-drawn vehicles.

In later years it became known as a maker of high-end transport equipment for the resources industry, for example winning Australian Mining’s 2010 award for Innovative Mining Solutions.

At its pre-GFC peak, the company employed over 100 workers at its Gympie headquarters, with 40 subcontractors in the suburb and in Wide Bay, the ABC reports.

It resisted pressure to outsource labour to Asia. 

Smith said that a recent opportunity of a multi-million dollar job in Queensland was lost to a Chinese firm, and that this could have allowed J Smith to continue. 

Image: The Gympie Times

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.