WHEN Tresslyn Smith was a young girl growing up in Harvey, she overheard schoolyard chatter about a Bunbury Senior High student called David.
“Everyone was asking, ‘Who is this David who keeps beating all our Harvey boys at the athletics carnivals?’”
Little did Tresslyn know that it was her future husband and Bunbury Mayor David Smith, who became a state champion sprinter in the 1970s.
Mrs Smith looked back at her life with the Bunbury Mail after retiring from almost three decades in consumer protection this month.
The well-known Bun-bury identity started life on a dairy and beef farm in Benger, Harvey and attended a one-teacher school with 24 students.
Mrs Smith was a budding environmentalist and at 10 years of age she demanded that her grandfather stop bulldozing trees on their property.
Her education took her to St Anne’s Catholic School and later Bunbury TAFE and Murdoch University in Perth.
Mrs Smith remembers Bunbury as a “little country town” where her parents would set her loose to roam free all day until it was time to go home.
The active youngster taught herself to swim in Koombana Bay and loved to surf at the Back Beach.
When Tresslyn met and married David Smith in 1971, she remembers “there was still a horse trough on Victoria Street, Miss Mitchell’s Cottage was where the Post Office is and you couldn’t get a coffee anywhere after 7pm on a Saturday night.”
After working as a volunteer at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Mrs Smith said she fell into the position at the Department of Consu-mer Protection.
“It was a great job for a woman at the time when most women were presented with the choice of teacher or nurse,” Mrs Smith said.
Her career was filled with triumph and tragedy as she saw many businesses and individuals stung by heartless scammers – but there were a few humorous anecdotes thrown in along the way.
Mrs Smith remembered a time when a South West travel agent was caught doing the wrong thing and was shut down.
“I had to run a travel agent out of my office to make sure everyone got the holidays they paid for,” she said.
“I’ve always tried to be fair and remember that there are two sides to every story – I don’t think you could operate for the amount of time I did without being fair.”
Mrs Smith is looking forward to reinforcing her support for husband Mayor David Smith, who has led the city council since 2005.
The couple plans to stay in Bunbury with their beloved Siamese cats because it’s a “jolly good place and that’s largely a credit to David.”
Mrs Smith said she had been proud to see her husband as the driving force behind the Marlston Hill redevelopment, the Edith Cowan University and the Bunbury Regional Enter-tainment Centre.
The art and music lover will also continue to hold her positions on the City of Bunbury Art Collection Committee and the Bunbury Regional Arts Management Board.