Australian Story: Oct 30

ABC revisits Dr Gregory Smith, from a life homeless to university lecturer an OAM.

When Australian Story first filmed with Gregory Smith in 2018, he had just completed a PhD, a stunning achievement for a man who had spent much of his life homeless – including a decade sleeping rough in a forest – and addicted to alcohol and drugs.

Five years on, his remarkable transformation continues.

He works as a university lecturer and advises a number of organisations on issues around homelessness. These contributions were recognised in September when he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia.

“Dr Gregory Smith has a unique perspective because he has a unique experience coming from a traumatic background,” says Jonathan Melrose-Rae, from the End Street Sleeping Collaboration. “He’s talking to the people on the front line … and bringing that back into our board.”

He is also in a relationship, something he long ago stopped thinking would ever happen. He lives in Orange, NSW, with his new partner, helping raise her two boys. And in 2022, at the age of 66, he welcomed a baby son into the world.

Gregory’s story is a powerful demonstration that no matter how desperate a person’s situation may seem, redemption is always possible.

“There’s always hope and there’s always pathways and new directions in life…I’m evidence of that,” says Gregory.

​8pm Friday on ABC.

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