Kathleen Mary Farrell born Dublin, Ireland.


18 year old Kate emigrated to Australia on the Fiery Star.


Kate, a Catholic, married Englishman, John Smith, an Anglican, in Somerset, Cape York, North Qld


First child John Jnr is born.


Family moved to Brisbane. John began a cabinet making business in Elizabeth Street


Purchased undertaking business in George Street, Brisbane


John dies, aged 42. Kate is left to raise their 6 children, aged 17 to 8.

She continues with the business, becoming Queensland’s First Lady Funeral Director.

There is something very reassuring about placing your trust with a company that has been around for six generations. This remarkable story began back in 1864, when John Smith and Kate Mary Farrell arrived in Australia on separate ships. They met and married in Somerset on Cape York Peninsula.

Having been a Royal Marines Infantryman, John became a Water Police Constable in Somerset, but was also employed by the Queensland Government as a carpenter.

In 1874, John began a cabinet making business in Elizabeth Street in Brisbane, which also made the occasional coffin. After his untimely death in 1886, his wife Kate Mary took over the reins and, as Brisbane’s first lady Funeral Director, became the first lady of Queensland funerals. The family business was called K.M.Smith Funeral Directors … and the rest is history.

No other funeral firm in Brisbane has such a long established heritage. Current Directors Allen Smith and his sister Denise Smith are the great-grandchildren of John and Kate Mary. It is a matter of family pride that Allen’s son Liam is the Chairman, embracing the traditional values and high standards of his forebears.

To this day, K.M.Smith remains a 100% Australian family-owned company.


The business relocates to Wickham Street. Fortitude Valley, making way for Motorised Hearses.


Kate dies aged 85, predeceased by five of her seven children. Buried at Toowong Cemetery. Grandson Cyril becomes Manager.


The business relocates to new premises at Brookes Street, Bowen Hills


Cyril dies and his children Denise and Allen Smith become co-Managers.


Kate Mary Smith inducted into the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame. Great, Great Grandson Liam Smith becomes Chairman of the Board.

For six generations K.M.Smith Funeral Directors have offered Queensland families outstanding service – firmly established by a remarkable woman: Kate Mary Smith.

Kate Mary Among 100 Great Australian Women Commemorated

As part of the 2011 centenary celebrations of International Women’s Day, 100 women were selected for a national exhibition “Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor: 100 Women 100 Brooches 100 Stories” and featured in a book of the same name.

Artisan Marian Marshall crafted an exquisite brooch for Kate Mary Smith of a Forget-me-not flower carved in jet. In the style of Victorian mourning jewellery, the back of the brooch has a photo of Kate Mary with the adage that came to be used about her: “If you’re not buried by Kate Mary Smith you’re not going to heaven.”