Water career ends for Helen

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

When Helen Lester joined the Water Resources Commission as a typist in January 1979, little did she know it would be a lifelong career.

Except for a two year break to have a family, Mrs Lester worked with the Water Resources Commission and subsequent organisations — which had a few name changes in her time — until her retirement last month from WaterNSW.

In her 40 years with the department, Mrs Lester worked as a typist, in reception, as a data support officer and finished up as a water monitoring support officer.

‘‘When I think about all the old telex machines ...’’ Mrs Lester started to recall.

‘‘In my time we transitioned from manual to electronic typewriters, and then to computers — which was a huge challenge for me at the time.

‘‘I’ve entered a mountain of data over the years.

‘‘Those earlier days of computing we were using DOS based programs. I had kept one of those original computers, just in case I needed to refer back to it.

‘‘I spent a lot of years in groundwater entering soil types, depths of bores — the hydrogology, among other things.

‘‘I particularly loved my time in research. I had a great team of people around me at that time. I’ve also been fortunate to have worked with a lot of good people over the years.’’

Among the highlights of her career, Mrs Lester said she enjoyed working on projects that would benefit the staff and make them more visible to the community.

‘‘I was one of the instigators of the corporate clothing for the office and field staff in the 1990s, and I enjoyed being a member of the Groundwater Users Group.

‘‘I’d also set up a regional library system, along with the programming.

‘‘Throughout my time, one of my main supports was friend and work colleague Maurice McGrath (who retired at the same time). We were in the groundwater unit together.’’

Mrs Lester said she felt it was ‘‘time’’ to step away from her role with WaterNSW.

‘‘My husband (Neville) retired some years ago, and we want to be able to travel and spend time with family, in particular our grandchildren.’’

While travel is definitely on the cards for the Lesters, they say Deniliquin will remain their home base.