A father shot and killed his teenage son 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 gunshot wounds at their family home in Yamba, on the NSW north coast, on Thursday afternoon.
A witness reportedly called NSW police to the family home in the seaside town at around 1.10pm after making the grisly discovery.
Smith was a seasoned officer with the local Port Authority, working with them for nearly 40 years. His son was a talented soccer player for the Yamba Buccaneers Rugby Club.
Wayne Smith, 58, and his son Noah, 15, were found dead at their home in Yamba on Thursday
The family’s property at Kookaburra Circuit, Yamba, in northern NSW, is now a crime scene
Smith comes from a long line of dock workers and his family has lived and worked at the pilot station for three generations.
Speaking to a local newspaper ten years ago, Smith said he always wanted to work in the docks and follow in his father’s footsteps.
“I’ve got salt in my veins, mate — I never thought about doing anything else, I’ve worked at the port for 27 years,” he told Clarence Valley News in 2013.
‘Dad worked in the ports for 28 years. From memory he started at Ballina [once the second busiest port on the NSW coast] and from there, when it was closed, transferred to here.
“I grew up in the pilot house on top of 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 an avid footballer and cyclist – a hobby he shared with his mother
Smith and his son pose with one of their catches of fish in 2017
Smith said that due to the small nature of Yamba’s port, he – like the other workers – had a range of skills and performed tasks normally performed by specialists in larger ports – and had performed “many rescues” .
“Everything from using a computer to do administration, everything from purchasing to boat maintenance, repairs, buoys, navigational aids, wharf maintenance, everything,” he said.
Smith was also an avid fisherman, winning the 2016 Yamba Lions Family Fishing Festival as part of the team.
It was a hobby he seemed to share with his son – with photos posted on social media showing the pair beaming with delight as they hold a huge three-foot-long fish in their front yard after a boat trip.
Noah is pictured next to his mother in 2018
Forensic teams began investigating the northern NSW site on Thursday evening after an apparent murder-suicide
The crime scene in the home on Friday morning
Like his father, Noah had also won prizes for fishing – he scored the encouragement prize in the Tim the Bream competition in 2017.
He has also been successful in sports, with his under-12 rugby union team winning their local grand final in September 2019.
Besides football, Noah was also an avid cyclist – a sport he enjoyed with his mother.
Several photos posted online show the boy and his mother dressed in lycra next to their bicycles on outings together.
As the small, close-knit community faces the tragedy, detectives investigating the circumstances of their deaths have requested Mr Smith’s license history from the NSW Firearms Registry.
Police do not believe anyone else was involved in the shooting while the investigation is ongoing.
A crime scene has been identified at the house, which will be forensically examined by specialized teams.
A full report is being prepared for the coroner.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact police.
For confidential crisis support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14