This blog provides information, stories, links and events relating to and promoting the history of the Wimmera district.
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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Honouring Lester

The 'Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll' is coming to the Horsham Library.
The Honour Roll recognises the many and varied contributions of Aboriginal people to the identity of Victoria.
Another local Honour Roll inductee is Lester Marks Harradine. A Wotjobaluk Elder who lived at Dimboola, Lester was a sportsman, a returned serviceman, and a film star.
Though he was born in Bordertown, his family had a long association with the Ebenezer Mission Station at Antwerp. Lester was only 8 months old when brought to Dimboola in 1920 to be raised by his aunt. He attended school at Dimboola and Lillimur, and was aged 13 when he left to work on the commercial vegetable gardens that lined the Wimmera River during the Depression.
With the outbreak of the Second World War, Lester enlisted with the 19th Machine Gun Regiment and was transferred to Darwin. He was there when the Japanese bombed the town in 1942. By the end of the war he was stationed at Tarakan in Borneo. After the war Lester became  member of the R.S.L. and was actively involved through Legacy with supporting local war widows. Lester married Leila in 1958 and they had 4 children, he was employed by Victorian Railways where he got his driver's certificate in 1951 and worked until retirement in 1980. Lester died in 2010.

Lester was heavily involved in sport with the Dimboola Football Club, Wimmera Football League, Dimboola Bowling Club, and fire brigade competitions.
A keen cyclist he would ride from, Dimboola to Lillimur to visit family (a 175km round trip).
 In 2010 the Wimmera Football League granted Lester 'Legend' status, he had played for Dimboola in the 40s, 50s and 60s, including 2 senior premierships in 1946 and 1959, as well as a number of Reserves premierships in the 1960s. The Lester Marks Harradine Medal is awarded to the best & fairest in the Indigenous Recognition round.

In his later years, Lester shared the stories and the culture of his ancestors with talks to school children, tours of Ebenezer. and donations to the Dimboola Historical Society. He played a key role in the recognition of native title in the Wimmera. Lester was induced into the Honour Roll posthumously in 2012.

The Aboriginal Honour Roll will be launched in the Horsham Library on 4th June at 11am, and will be on display in the Library until the 11th.

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