James Jessiman Memorial


Just James

A recollection of his life by his parents. With permission from Publisher Joe Meno as well as Robyn and Don Jessiman we are honored to mirror an article published in BrickJournal, Spring 2006, Volume #1, Issue 4.

Commemoration-Gallery of the 10th anniversary

This gallery pays tribute to the 10th anniversary of James Jessiman's passing showing pictures of a:

1 4 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 3002.dat

(a red Brick 2x3 for all those who are not CAD nerds) LDraw.org's logo.


Following James' death, several members of the community wrote him sentimental letters. View these here. Also, view the archive of the guestbook of the original James Jessiman Memorial site.

James' Website

James' personal website is still available to view online. The above link takes you to the Archive.org version of his site as it was when he passed away.

James Jessiman

LDraw.org hasn't always been a community's effort. Initially the LDraw File Format and the original LDraw and LEdit DOS programs were the creation of a single man: James Jessiman. James died from complications of a flu in the morning of 25th July 1997 at Wagga Wagga, NSW Australia. He was twenty-six years old. We'd like to remember the person who started it all.

Learn about LDraw's creator. Read: Just James - A recollection of his life by his parents. An article published in BrickJournal and have a look at the Commemoration-Gallery of the 10th anniversary. Also read letters sent by his friends after James passed away and check out the guest book of the original James Jessiman Memorial Site, which served as the central LDraw site from July 1997 through July 1999 when LDraw.org was launched.

But James wasn't just LDraw; get a picture drawn by his parents back in the year 2000:

"James Anthony Jessiman was born on 8th June 1971 in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia. He died there on 25th July 1997 of influenza.

In his all too short life, James enjoyed:

  • Family - his parents and younger brother, Richard
  • Science generally and particularly Mathematics
  • Friends - he was a very generous man
  • Lego, Lego, Lego.....
  • Computers and helping others to use them
  • Amateur Radio Club - he held a full operators' license, VK2MLV
  • Wagga Computer Club, he was President
  • Riverina NetWare User Group
  • Ten Pin Bowling
  • University Bible Study Group
  • Novels by Terry Pratchett - he had a great sense of humour
  • Music by Billy Joel - He drove 500kms to attend concerts every time the artist was here
  • His business - Rivtron Computers
  • His car - a hand-me-down from his grandfather, and
  • His cat - Vipsania

James displayed a remarkable aptitude for thinking and logic at a very early age winning many competitions in both Science and Mathematics. In fact, his first computer was gained as the prize for being first in the state of NSW in a Science competition at the age of 13."

Original 'In Remembrance Of James Jessiman' Page

The community was deeply touched by James Jessiman's passing. Included below is the original James Jessiman Memorial Page in the state it was in just before LDraw.org was launched.

On July 25, 1997, James Jessiman passed away. His passing at a young age stunned and saddened a worldwide community of friends.

But he will be long remembered. And that memory will be cherished by all whose lives he so deeply touched. For James had given a gift to the world. A gift that he had spent countless hours of toil to realize, then given freely to all.

The worldwide community of LEGO fans lost a bright light in the passing of James Jessiman. Here perhaps, in some way, we can keep a little of that light alive.

Since James' passing much has been done to continue the development of LDraw and related resources. The contribution of LDraw has been like a water drop causing a large ripple effect impacting all of its surroundings.

James' memory will live on in his creation and in our hearts forever. He not only contributed this wonderful resource, but his kind spirit and helping hand gave each of us a little boost. James made an reversible impact on the world around him, which in his case was literally around the world.


James Jessiman Memorial Award

The James Jessiman Memorial Award was established by the Jessiman Family to honor an individual who has contributed to the furthering of LDraw, the DAT format, and James' memory.

Every year, in consultation with Don and Robyn Jessiman, the LDraw.org Steering Committee carefully choose the recipient from amongst those who have worked hard to keep LDraw alive, with the caveat that current SteerCo members are ineligible. Here is a list of the past recipients:

  • 2001 - Steve Bliss
  • 2002 - not awarded
  • 2003 - Jacob Sparre Andersen
  • 2004 - Lars C. Hassing
  • 2005 - Michael Lachmann
  • 2006 - Orion Pobursky
  • 2007 - Kevin Clague
  • 2008 - Philippe Hurbain
  • 2009 - Tim Courtney
  • 2010 - not awarded
  • 2011 - Travis Cobbs
  • 2012 - Steffen Lohse
  • 2013 - Magnus Forsberg
  • 2014 - Sergio Reano

  • 2015 - Roland Melkert

    Just as last year programmers prevailed over part-authors as recipient for the JJMA, but the fact that there was no discussion who to pick from the candidates once Roland's name was on the table, shows how much he deserves our recognition. Roland discovered - he used the word "stumbled on" - LDraw somewhere in 2000/2001. The oldtimers among us will remember his first program LDModeler where you could animate a minifig by pulling up and down some sliders long before someone tried to get some life into a minifig by complicated POVRay scripts or Blender animation. Roland's second "exercise" LD4DStudio an LDraw animator with fast real-time preview is still online. The term "exercise" is by no means meant to be diminishing. By Roland's own admission the LDraw programs we all benefit from are subject for some programming experiments. Roland, who is a self employed software engineer from the Netherlands, uses LDraw every time he needs to learn something new. In the case of LD4DStudio it was OpenGL; luckily around 2010 he decided to dive into multi platform development which lead to LDCad, the most powerful and complete LDraw editor so far. Let's hope there are many more things to learn - for our benefit ;-) - for the this year's James Jessiman Memorial Award recipient: Roland Melkert!


Until 2005 there used to be held a prize giving ceremony at BrickFest, Washington. The 2006/2007 SteerCo has slightly changed the formula of this presentation. The prize is now be given "virtually" and is no longer bound to an actual LEGOfest, due to the fact that LDraw.org is primarily a online community with members spread all over the world. The recipient beside getting the established plaque - is honored for an entire year at LDraw's front page (have a look at the top right-hand corner). The SteerCo's decision aimed to balances the lack of chances for non-Americans to attend BrickFest.