One of Canberra's most prolific historians and archival researchers has been honoured again for his passion in bringing the city's early history to life.
Lyall Leslie Gillespie, who was born in Queanbeyan in 1919, was one of the 2020 ACT Honour Walk recipients recently named.
The award recognises his collection of historical items and numerous writings about the region's past, including Aborigines of the Canberra Region, Ginninderra, Forerunner to Canberra and Canberra 1820-1913.
Mr Gillespie's collection is now housed and showcased at the Hall School Museum and Heritage Centre.
The centre states his legacy included a historical database of 40,000 reference cards, 1600 historical photographs, a large collection of local Indigenous artefacts and eight volumes about various topics about the region.
As well as being renowned for his contributions to the region's history, Mr Gillespie had a distinguished career as city manager from 1978 to 1982.
Neil Gillespie, the historian's 71-year-old son, said his father was a "very proud Canberran" whose biggest contribution to the community was the gift of his time.
"To ordinary people, amateur historians and government agencies," Neil said.
"To achieve what he achieved, he worked absolutely incredible hours. It wasn't for his own benefit at all. Everything he did, it was more to help others."
Neil, who still lives in Canberra and passed his father's collection to the heritage centre in 2015, said his dad would also be remembered for his personal attributes and achievements.
"He loved his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren," he said.
"Dad was also proud of his pioneering heritage and another passion he had was writing letters to The Canberra Times.
"He was a great believer in getting off your rear end to do things."
Neil, who recalled his father collecting everything from coins to bird eggs, said his father loved the country, especially Canberra.
"It was his big passion. Being city manager, he just loved that position as it gave him so much enjoyment," he said.
The heritage centre's honorary curator Alastair Crombie said it was "an extraordinary privilege to be trustees of such a collection as Lyall's".
"It is a responsibility that we take very seriously," Mr Crombie said.
"Using our own resources, we have completed a full inventory of the collection. With grants income, we have undertaken a significance assessment and currently a preservation needs analysis.
"These are each important steps towards best practice collection management."
Mr Crombie described Lyall as "strikingly generous with his advice and assistance to others engaged in historical work".
"As guardians of his lifetime collection, we'll ensure that such folk can continue to access and benefit from Lyall's endeavours," Mr Crombie said.
"Lyall is one of the foremost historians of Canberra. His publications provide a solid platform for continuing exploration of Aboriginal life, early education, the settlement of Ginninderra, 19th century Canberra and pioneer families of the district."
As for highlights of the collections, Mr Crombie said the collection was strong on Aboriginal stone artefacts, early district photographs, books and personal papers that included diaries and a card file system.
Following the news of Lyall being a recipient of the honour walk, the heritage centre released a statement, saying it was "good to be reminded again of the extraordinary contribution that Lyall made to the understanding of the history and heritage of the Canberra district".
Lyall Gillespie died in 2006.
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