LINDSEY Smith is a successful horse trainer.
But he's had to overcome hurdles, including a sexual assault as a child, to achieve his dreams.
Here, the father-of-five opens up about his tough childhood memories for the first time to The Standard's TIM AULD.
Smith, 60, was born in Williamstown and moved to Perth as a child.
He is married to Rebecca and a proud dad to Jessie, Ben, Darby, Mia and Harrison.
He was born to parents Roland and Rita and has seven siblings - Tom, Sue, Geoffrey, James, Debbie, Gail and Dean.
Lindsey, it's been well documented that you have stables in Perth but you took over on-course stables at Warrnambool at the end of May last year that were previously occupied by Darren Weir. Can you give me an insight into how and why you took over the stables?
I had been to Warrnambool two years earlier and visited the stables. I considered them a world-class training facility.
I waited a few months after what happened to Darren to see how things played out and then I put my hand up to lease the stables. I'm really happy with the complex and training in Warrnambool.
How many winners have you trained from the stables in Warrnambool?
I think it's over 50 winners. The success and results we've had are great for our owners and staff. I'm very thankful that Brad Spicer, one of the leading bloodstock businesses, has thrown his support behind our business.
Lindsey, I note you left secondary school in Perth after six months. What was the reason that you left?
I didn't like school. I had a limited education. I learnt about life from reading newspapers. My parents were poor, they had no money. My dad was an alcoholic. I can remember as a child we never had food for four days. I was one of eight children and we all had a tough upbringing.
What are your other memories of your childhood in Western Australia?
I was 10 years old when I was sexually abused by our neighbour.The neighbour was 22 years old. My first recollection of the neighbour was when I would have been three years old and he was 15. He seemed not a bad sort of bloke in my younger years until the assault.
I'll never forget after the sexual assault the neighbour gave me 40 cents and told me not to tell anyone. I had no one to tell because we were not a close family. I knew the wrong thing happened to me but I could not put it all together.
Have you told anyone else about the assault?
I told my wife Rebecca about 25 years ago and I spoke to my mum about it in 2005. She blamed herself for what happened but I told her it was not her fault. My mum was a saint. I haven't told anyone else until now but I'll be speaking to my children before this interview hits the pages of the Warrnambool Standard on Wednesday.
Do you have flashbacks to what happened to you as a 10-year-old?
Occasionally I think about it. I'll never forget 10 years ago I saw the bloke driving a car in a Perth suburb and I followed him to his house. I must admit I got scared when I saw him. The most alarming thing was he was living a few hundred metres from a primary school.
Do you think the abuse has had an impact on your life?
Impossible for me to answer that question. I'm just Lindsey Smith. I'm not sure whether it's helped me as a person or made me a different person. I just know I love my wife and children and if anything happened to one of my kids like what happened to me I would be in jail.
Lindsey, why have you come out now to talk about the assault?
I just think every parent has a responsibility to their children. It does not matter if you're married or separated, you still have a responsibility to ensure your child or children are in a safe environment. What happened to me occurred more than 50 years ago. Was the world a safer place 50 years ago or is it now? Sadly, I don't think it's a safe place today.
I think it would be fair to say you've had a tough upbringing and to keep that assault bottled up inside you for more than 50 years is truly remarkable to talk about it now. Did anything else happen in your family?
I was about 28 years old and my brother Geoffrey was 33. I had not seen Geoffrey for a few years. My mum gave me a call to come to her house because she thought Geoffrey was unconscious in the toilet.
I kicked down the toilet door and ended up carrying Geoffrey out to the car as he was unconscious. I took him to the hospital and after a while the doctor came out and asked 'how long has your brother been a heroin addict for?' I was gobsmacked.
Six months later mum rang again and I went home to find Geoffrey dead in the bath full of water with a syringe and spoon.
I lifted him out of the bath and placed him on a bed and put a blanket over him for dignity reasons. The police came around and told me off for moving a dead body. I've taken my children to the cemetery to Geoffrey's grave over the years and told the kids this is what happens when you use drugs.
Why did your parents move from Williamstown to Perth?
Dad was a painter and a job came up at the naval base in Perth. I ended up getting a job with Perth trainer Colin France. He treated me like a son. I was an apprentice jockey with Colin. I had about 60 rides for one win. I mostly rode at outback meetings in Western Australia.
Top Flemington trainer Tom Hughes came over to Perth with a couple of horses in about 1990 and I ended up moving over to Melbourne to work for Tommy.
It was a real adventure for me. I worked with Tommy and then Henry Davis. Henry was the trainer for high-profile owner and bookmaker Mark Reid. They were both champion trainers.
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