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Gregory Smith

Gregory Smith

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Gregory Peel Smith was born into a dysfunctional and abusive household in Tamworth, New South Wales, in 1955. His formative years were variously spent in a brutal Catholic orphanage, foster care and juvenile detention centres. He became homeless and a rough sleeper for much of his adult life.

At thirty-five Gregory withdrew from the world to live in near total isolation in a rainforest in northern New South Wales. After ten years he finally emerged in 1999, close to death, to ‘give society another chance’. Hampered by a poor education, Gregory set his sights on studying – first for a Certificate I in Information Technology at a community college, then for a bridging course at TAFE. In 2004 he began a degree in sociology at Southern Cross University. Although he remained homeless during much of his studies, Gregory graduated in 2007 with first class honours.

In 2016 he was conferred with a PhD for his landmark research into the ‘Forgotten Australians’ – the estimated 500,000 people who, like him, suffered abuse in institutional out-of-home care during the twentieth century. Gregory was subsequently employed by Southern Cross University, where he is a research fellow, a senior lecturer in the social sciences and chair of the faculty of Business, Law and Arts.

Gregory is one of Australia’s foremost lived experience experts in post-traumatic stress disorder, mental illness, domestic violence, alcohol and drug addiction, rough sleeping and homelessness. A sought-after public speaker and policy advisor, he is a specialist consultant to a number of government initiatives including the End Street Sleeping Collaboration: a New South Wales Premier’s priority project to end street sleeping by 2030.

A leading advocate for the disenfranchised, disadvantaged and disconnected around the world, Gregory is a patron of numerous homeless vulnerability service providers in New South Wales and Queensland, and a global consultant for the Institute of Relational Health – a project run by CareSource in the United States to effect systems change in working with disadvantaged families.

Gregory’s memoir, Out of the Forest, was published in 2018. Today he lives in Orange, New South Wales, with his partner, Catherine, their family and his beloved brood of chickens.

Books by Gregory Smith

Better than Happiness

Gregory Smith explains how after a decade living as a recluse in a rainforest he rejoined society and found something better than happiness - contentment. And how you can find contentment too if you just stop trying to be happy.

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Out of the Forest

Gregory Smith was homeless for much of his adult life and lived for many years as a recluse in a forest in New South Wales. He now has a PhD in Sociology and teaches at Southern Cross University.

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The rainforest hermit who stepped out of the wild

Beetles, worms and lizards — Gregory Smith ate just about anything to stay alive in the forest. From a homeless hermit to a university lecturer, he's proven you can overcome anything in your search for a safe place. He shares his story with ABC’s Australian Story. Read more here: https://ab.co/2NEVrsv For more from ABC News, click here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/ Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/abcnews Like us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/abcnews.au Subscribe to us on YouTube: http://ab.co/1svxLVE Follow us on Instagram: http://instagram.com/abcnews_au

Wild hunger

Dr Gregory P Smith on the real price of food in the wilderness.