Lester Stephen ( Port Phillip Pioneers Group Member No. 56 ) passed away peacefully in his sleep after many years of ill health that he endured bravely.
Lester's involvement with the PPPG had been a long one. He became a member of the Group in 1976, being part of the inaugral Committee formed in 1977. In 1978 he was appointed to the Office of Supervisor of the Register. Lester was elected Chairman of the Group in 1982, an office he held until March 1986. In 1985 the Committee nominated him for a Fellowship of the Genealogical Society of Victoria, which was granted.
After Joan Connor's departure to Western Australia in 1987, he returned to the position of Chairman for one year. Lester has performed a myriad of tasks - Chairman, Registrar, Examiner of Proofs, Newsletter Editor and Acting Subscriptions Secretary.
In 1989 he had completed 14 years of continuous service to our Committee and was made an Honorary Life Member of the Port Phillip Pioneers Group.
Lester will be remembered and missed by the Committee and members and friends of the Port Phillip Pioneers Group.
This is the ultimate legacy that he has left to the Port Phillip Pioneers Group. Lester started to compile this in 1977 and stopped in late 2009 as his health began to fail. It was his wish that we document all those who were in the colony when it was known as the Port Phillip District of New South Wales, and help researchers to find these historic pioneers.
He wrote all the documentation on scraps of paper ( as this saved money on paper ) and bundled them in alphabetical order for easy access when he needed to find someone. These bundles, over time, took over his home. He knew exactly what was on each piece of paper. I know this, as one slip was misplaced during the digitizing process and he just replaced the information from memory, which was an amazing feat.
Helpers on this project came in the form of other researchers who were transcribing records from the time period. Some were members of the PPPG; others were not. This effort brought about a huge amount of material from sources far and wide when there was not the digitized index that is available today.
Listed below are some of the sources recorded in the material:
"Georgiana's Journal" by Georgiana McCrea
"Port Phillip Gentlemen" by Paul de Serville
"General Alphabetical Revised List of Electors of Port Phillip From 1st June 1843"
"The Port Phillip Separation Merchants and Settlers Almanac, Diary & Melbourne Directory for 1845"
"Convict Pioneers and Immigrant History" by James McClelland
"Port Phillip District Land and Immigration Receipts"
Some extractions from Deeds of Conveyance
"The Convict Ships" by Charles Bateson
Some entries from the Melbourne Court Register
"Loyal Address of 1867"
"Cyclopedia of Victoria"
"Rural Port Phillip 1834 - 1851 by Hopton ( An article in the RHSV Magazine )
"Memorials of Melbourne" by Isaac Selby
"Victoria and its Metropolis, Past and Present" (Vol. 2) by Alexander Sutherland
"Historical Records of Victoria" (Vols. 1 & 3)
"Port Phillip Gazette" Newspaper
"Victoria Before the Gold Rush" by Michael Cannon
Shipping Records. Arrival and Disposal Lists.
"Bible Society Magazine"
This remarkable gentleman has been with me, like so many others, all my entire life at the Port Phillip Pioneers Group. Lester welcomed, befriended and guided me in my early days with the Group. As a Committee person I became more aware of Lester's role of Registrar and dare I say his love of all things PPPG? When I became Examiner of Proofs, this also increased our contact and friendship and Lester's guidance and direction to me in my new role.
My enthusiasm and respect for this genial, knowledgeable gentleman reached new heights when the time came for Lester to leave his home. I was so humbled and yet so proud by his decision in choosing me to be the custodian, guardian and protector of his PPPG life's work.
Lester your collection is safe and you know that, it is time to meet those antecedents you have written so much about. We the PPPG, will ever be indebted to you, now and always. Your legacy will live on. Vale Lester.
"We look forward to your past"
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