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Out of the Forest

With special guest:

  • Dr Gregory Smith
    … in conversation with Bill Kable

When asked if he sometimes pinches himself and wonders if all that has gone before is true, Gregory Smith says not sometimes but all the time. Our guest today has a truly amazing story that should encourage all of us.

After a traumatic childhood Gregory was always trying to escape from his surroundings and became something of an escape artist. Except that he did not escape and his efforts just led to painful encounters with the country Police of NSW.

When his mother deceived him and left him at an orphanage in Armidale he spent 19 months experiencing institutional abuse. To make matters worse he was thinking all the time that his sisters were enduring something similar at the same institution after they were separated from him by the nuns on arrival.

Following these experiences Gregory understandably would not trust adults. Having left school at the age of 14 and not being trained in anything useful Gregory found himself homeless, friendless and frequently jobless. It was only when he followed a road that led off the highway near Mullumbimby in northern NSW that he finally found peace in the isolation and tranquillity of a rainforest.

However his bad habits of drugs and alcohol continued until he emerged from the forest 10 years later and set out on a new path. Unbelievably but with the help of some kindly people along the way and clearly a strong determination to do something with his life Gregory finally obtained his Higher School Certificate. Gregory went on from there with the help of a lot of new-fangled technology to go to University and he excelled to the extent that he achieved his Bachelor’s Degree followed by a Master’s and then his PhD before becoming a lecturer at that University.

On the personal side he has moved on from two failed marriages before his time in the forest, one he cannot even remember, and is now in a stable relationship with his partner, Leanne. He has reunited with his daughter, Katie, and gets to play with his grandkids.

Gregory’s story had to be told and we are delighted that he was persuaded to make it accessible to all of us in his book Out Of the Forest: The true story of a recluse. What an amazing story and one you can share by joining us and listening to what Gregory has to say now. It is a great pleasure to be able to speak with Dr Gregory Peel Smith. This is fascinating, informative and inspiring all at once.

Dr Gregory Smith

Gregory Smith was homeless for much of his adult life. He now has a PhD in Sociology and is a lecturer in Social Sciences at Southern Cross University.

Song selection by our guest: Nobody’s Child by The Traveling Wilburys

Listen Now (mp3)

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