Smiles are Free

By Veronica Ward and Glenn Power. Images by Glenn Power.

Cadeyrn Smith of Murray Bridge advocates for disability awareness and the rights of all individuals - his infectious smile constantly encourages others to never lose hope.

Born in Murray Bridge in 1996, Caderyn, known to many as Smiley, moved with his parents, to Bundaberg at the age of three. “My parents say that I was a very quiet child, too quiet - however, it was in Bundaberg that I really began to speak,” Caderyn said. “It was Mr Mick; my special education teacher’s aide, who helped me come out of my shell - it was he who gave me my nick name of ‘Smiley.’


iPhone fun - Cadeyrn “Smiley” Smith enjoying Music Therapy, before starting his shift at the Ability Café, Murray Bridge.

“I can remember our Bundaberg Lollypop Lady; her name was Carman. I was being bullied terribly at school and she gave me some great advice - just smile at them, Cadeyrn. Now, I try to wake up every morning with a smile on my face, remembering to be happy and to make the most of every day. Life has been a big smile ever since.”

Born with an intellectual disability, Cadeyrn is proud how he has grown and come out or his shell. “I was far too quiet, didn’t talk for long, and I only used short sentences.”

Cadeyrn’s passion for photography began when he was a teenager on a family holiday at Port Elliott. “I enjoy learning life skills, going shopping, taking photographs, and doing craft. I love catching the feelings of a relaxing holiday and the peaceful settings of the beach, in my photos.”


Cadeyrn “Smiley” Smith visiting the Port Elliot landscape, which inspired his passion for photography.

A fun-loving, enthusiastic, and motivated photographer, Cadeyrn loves life and enjoys the peace and harmony of nature, he cherishes the calming moments and the inner stillness he finds photographing beach-side settings. “I feel at peace at the beach, and I like sharing it with good company, friends, and family.”

With a strong desire to build a photography and merchandise business of his own, Cadeyrn has established Cadeyrn’s Smile Photography and spends his time photographing coastal scenes and reflecting on his childhood holidays.

“I’m going to Brisbane and the Gold Coast soon, so I will be able to take heaps of holiday photos there. I’m fascinated by Lighthouses and a family member in Queensland has organised a visit to her local Lighthouse.”

Cadeyrn has recently completed a Baristas course and is now working every second Friday at the Genuine Support Services Ability Café.  “I love serving and meeting people at the café, and I like being cheeky, making people laugh - that always makes me feel good. If I get the chance before my shift, I like to sing along with the Music Therapy and Karaoke next door, in the activities room.”

Cadeyrn’s Smile Photography is part of the Fresh Perspective Photography, an activity offered by Murray Bridge’s Genuine Support Services Australia. “I really want to take my photography further; I enjoy running my own pop-up photo booths and I’ve been doing all this on my iPhone – soon I will be using my own loan SLR camera from our photography club.”

Cadeyrn’s merchandise enterprise continues to grow, he currently has three mug designs being offered for sale at the Ability Café, the offices of Genuine Support Services and the Rural City of Murray Bridge’s Information Centre.


Cadeyrn “Smiley” Smith delivering his first tourism mug design to the Murray Bridge Information Centre.

Cadeyrn continues to work closely with his Speech Therapist and feels that he needs to speak slower, louder, and clearer. “I’ve been with GSSA for three and a half years and they have really helped me come out of my shell.”

“I enjoy making new friends and getting involved in all the GSSA activities – I especially like going to their discos and dancing with my mum, Lisa. Lisa, Haley and I, regularly go to the GSSA ten pin bowling nights, and their weekly eight ball nights, their art, crafts and cooking classes, and their Wednesday walking group - not forgetting their Thursday pampering nights – we’re out nearly every day.”

Cadeyrn has worked at Orana for eight years and recently won the 2023 Most Improved Employee of the Year. “I enjoy working at Orana, we assemble light switches, pig feeders and even clothes pegs – we also get out a bit collecting hard waste, mowing, whipper snipping and spraying weeds.”

Cadeyrn is currently busy developing his own All Abilities Cookbook. “I can’t wait to have my Cookbook ready for sale, lots of cheeky smiles in the book, the smiles are free, and they make me feel better, as well.”

Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shine – Lighthouses just smile.

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