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Patrick is one of the Battye Library’s unsung heroes. For the last ten years he has freely volunteered his time, giving four days every week to assisting staff in the Archives section. He has contributed his skills in organisation and research as well as his knowledge of Western Australian history to help list and arrange materials donated to the State Library of Western Australia’s, Battye Library collections.

Over the years, Patrick has created finding aids for large collections of material from such well known Western Australian families including Bussell, Prinsep, De Burgh, Lefroy, and Durack, and organisations such as the Royal Western Australian Historical Society, and the leading law firm of Stone, James. Without his in-depth knowledge of the genealogy of some of WA’s pioneer families, and his expertise in deciphering 19th century cross-written letters, many of these collections would not have been able to be listed to the detail prepared by Patrick, and would remain inaccessible to researchers. Patrick’s thoroughness and deep knowledge of WA history is invaluable in teasing out extra information which helps guide researchers to other relevant material.

Currently Patrick is involved in checking and expanding the extensive Mary Durack-Miller collection indexes, which were created by Patsy Millett. Patrick was also an adviser to staff when the Bussell diaries were purchased by the State Library.

He is meticulous with his research and painstakingly deciphered writing in 19th century letters from the recently purchased Cecil Walkley philately collection and discovered, and alerted Library staff, to a valuable and rare Penny Black stamp when processing another collection of material. Patrick’s generosity is remarkable and many researchers have sought Patrick’s advice for information about Western Australian families. He is always willing to help other volunteers with queries. In addition, Patrick volunteers weekend hours at King’s Park, helping with re-planting and other physical tasks.

His quiet and unassuming manner, coupled with his gentle sense of humour has made him a favourite with staff, volunteers and library clients alike.

The Friends of the Battye Library (Inc.) would like to show our appreciation of Patrick’s commitment, dedicated work for the Battye Library, and his generosity of spirit by listing him as a “Gem of Time” – a list that will last to acknowledge the contribution of outstanding men and women to the recording, collection, and preservation of Western Australia’s history.

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