After the popularity of a coloured reproduction Hilder exhibition catalogue, Sydney Ure Smith launched the periodical Art in Australia (1916). In 1920 he established the publishing company, Art in Australia Ltd whose titles included the Home (1920-42). Ure Smith sold the company to John Fairfax & Sons Ltd in 1934; he then founded Ure Smith Pty Ltd in 1939. The company published over 130 titles and six periodicals, mainly art and photographic books. Though it published two general books it was not until it printed They're a Weird Mob (1957) that the company came to enjoy success as a publisher of fiction.
They're a Weird Mob had been rejected by many Sydney publishers when John O'Grady's son chose Ure Smith from the telephone book, unaware that the publisher did not publish fiction. Sam Ure Smith had been seeking a manuscript with general market appeal and believed that They're a Weird Mob had the potential. It went on to become the best seller of that year and Ure Smith recorded a considerably profit. The success created a strain on the company's resources--new mss flooded in. Ure Smith then launched Humorbooks--a paperback imprint and a series Walkabout Pocketbooks. In 1965 the company merged with mass-market publisher Horwitz.