Nellis, Sylvester W.
1903 - 1907
Although he came as a missionary to Australia, Sylvester Nellis was born in Edgerton Mountain, Victoria, 8 September 1855. Following the death of his mother, the Nellis family relocated from Victoria to California. Nellis became a convert to Adventism at Calistoga, California, in 1885. His dynamic and committed leadership in his local church commended him to church administrators and he was invited to become a minister. He was ordained in 1897. In 1902 he was elected to the presidency of the Western Washington Conference. He had hardly settled into his administrative responsibilities when he was asked to go to Australia specifically to serve as president of the Queensland Conference.
Nellis’s presidency extended over four years, the longest in the short history of the Conference. This longer period of leadership brought welcome stability to the fledgling conference. Unfortunately, the particularly wet 1904-05 summer in southeast Queensland led to an outbreak of dengue fever and Sylvester Nellis became one of its victims. His health affected, Nellis decided a return to the United States was necessary and the family left early 1908. He was soon re-elected president of the Western Washington Conference and then Vice-president of the Pacific Union Conference. However, the dengue fever he contracted in Brisbane left its mark and he continued to struggle with his health. This was further complicated in 1910 when he suffered heart problems. He died 10 April 1915.