A father shot his teenage son dead and then killed himself in a suspected murder-suicide, police believe.
The bodies of registered gun owner Wayne Smith, 58, and his son Noah, 15, were found with bullet wounds at their family home in Yamba, on NSW’s North Coast, on Thursday afternoon.
It is understood a witness called NSW Police to the family home in the seaside town at about 1.10pm after making the grisly discovery.
Smith was a seasoned officer with the local Port Authority – working with them for almost 40 years. His son was a talented footballer for the Yamba Buccaneers Rugby Club.
Wayne Smith, 58, and his son Noah, 15, were found dead at their Yamba home on Thursday
The family’s property on Kookaburra Court, Yamba, northern NSW is now a crime scene
Smith comes from a long line of port workers, with his family living and working at the pilot station for three generations.
Speaking to a local newspaper ten years ago, Smith said he always wanted to work at the port and follow in his father’s footsteps.
‘I’ve got salt in the veins, mate – I never thought of doing anything different, I’ve been working at the port for 27 years,’ he told the Clarence Valley News in 2013.
‘Dad worked the ports for 28 years. From memory, he started at Ballina [once the second busiest port on the NSW coast] and transferred from there, when it closed, to here.
‘I grew up in the pilot’s cottage up on the hill.
‘I crossed the bar [at Ballina] when I was six months old, my son crossed the bar [at Yamba] when he was six weeks old – that’s tradition.
Noah was a keen footballer and cyclist – a hobby he shared with his mother
Smith and his son pose with one of their fishing trip catches in 2017
Smith said, due to the small nature of Yamba’s port, he – like the other workers – had a range of skills and performed jobs normally completed by specialists in larger ports – and that he had been on ‘plenty of rescues’.
‘Anything from using a computer to do admin, everything from purchasing to boat maintenance, repairs, buoy work, navigation aids, wharf maintenance, the whole lot,’ he said.
Smith was also an avid fisherman, having won the Yamba Lions Family Fishing Festival as part of team in 2016.
It was a hobby he seemed to share with his son – with photos posted on social media showing the pair beaming with delight while holding up a massive metre-long fish on their front yard after a boating trip.
Noah is pictured alongside his mother in 2018
Forensic teams began to examine the northern NSW property on Thursday evening after an apparent murder-suicide
The crime scene at the home on Friday morning
Like his father, Noah had also won awards for fishing – scoring the encouragement award in Tim the Bream competition in 2017.
He was also successful on the sporting field, with his under 12s rugby team winning their local grand final in September 2019.
Aside from football, Noah was also a keen cyclist – a sport he enjoyed with his mother.
Several pictures posted online show the boy and his mother dressed in lycra alongside their bikes during riding outings together.
As the small tight-knit community come to terms with the tragedy, detectives investigating the circumstances of their deaths have requested Mr Smith’s licensing history from the NSW Firearms Registry.
While the investigation is ongoing, police do not believe anybody else was involved in the shooting.
A crime scene was established at the home, which will be forensically examined by specialist teams.
A full report will be prepared for the coroner.
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact police.
For confidential crisis support contact Lifeline on 13 11 14