A Whole Lotta History: 403 Marion Rd, Plympton

From 1970 to today, Marion Road, Plympton has been home to Gary J Smith Real Estate

It’s 1970.

The streets are filled with protestors rallying for the end of the Vietnam War, Barrie Robran is pocketing his second of three Magarey Medals, and you can snap up a house in Adelaide for less than $12,000.

Gary & Jude Smith are starting Gary J Smith Real Estate. Initially their own project, they joined The First National Group for 27 years, before going solo again in 2009 and adopting the brand we know today.

They spent their first 10 years operating just a couple of doors further down Marion Road from where the well-known office is today.

Vietnam War protesters on North Terrace, the 1970 Magarey Medal Count and a gentleman purchasing a copy of The News, where he would find a house in Adelaide for about $12,000.


Jude & Gary Smith, Gary and the office decorations for his 50th Birthday in 1991.

403 Marion Road, Plympton

403 Marion Road, Plympton was originally constructed as a Community Hall, before being fruitfully occupied along the way as a Billiard Hall, clothing store, barber and various other outlets until Gary bought the building in 1980.

Initially occupying only a quarter of the office space, the Gary J Smith team shared with various tenants including the Department for Community Welfare and H&R Block. Gary’s son Craig joined the company in the early 90’s, and by the turn of the century the business had grown enough to necessitate 100% of the office, with H&R Block shuffling next door where Gary had built them their own space.

Gary J Smith originally occupied just 25% of the building

The office has changed a bit over the years!

Undergoing various facelifts and minor renovations throughout the years to adapt to its multitudes of purpose, Gary decided to go big in 2018, gutting and refurbishing almost the entire building. A big enough project to demand the rehousing of 22 staff for 3 months until his head office was inhabitable again.

Success through Experience

A plentitude of memorabilia and old marketing kept along the way provide a priceless insight into how times have evolved alongside the office, but some things never change. “Success through experience” was the 25-year motto, which is more fitting than ever today as Gary J Smith Real Estate approaches its 50th birthday. But as we know, there is no success without failure; something Gary learnt with the opening of his seldom mentioned Fulham Gardens office in 1988, which he operated for 3 years before closing it down and moving the staff back to Plympton due to ‘the recession we had to have’. Describing it as a “complete and utter disaster”, he jokes that the single rosewood desk he salvaged from that venture cost him $150,000. They say never to let failure get to your heart, but we imagine that is easier said than done when you pour so much of it into trying to succeed, particularly when it has your name (quite literally) all over it! Gary agrees, admitting he couldn’t bring himself to drive past that office for a good 4 or 5 years after.

A 1989/90 Financial Year calendar, Newspaper advertising, a black and white flyer and handwritten note.

Luckily, resilience is a prerequisite of business owners in the seesawing real estate industry, and, proving you learn more from failure than success, Gary went on to open a southern office in 2003, before adding a third office at Glenelg to the company portfolio in 2006.


Having celebrated his 77th birthday earlier this year, Gary is still as devoted to his company and clients as ever, though he does spend a little more time with his golf clubs than he used to. A well-respected figure in the industry and by his staff, Gary’s door is always open for a chat, some invaluable advice or an inspirational anecdote. Perhaps the truest testament to his devotion and selflessness is his own office, boasting the smallest desk in the company – the only one he decided not to upgrade during the renovations.

With an endeavor to be constantly improving, Gary has ensured Gary J Smith Real Estate remains a consistently top performing agency that prides itself on its local knowledge, experience and old-fashioned principles. Now with a shiny new office.

Gary J Smith
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A Whole Lotta History: 403 Marion Rd, Plympton