Stephen has long been fascinated by forests.
He studied economics, politics, and geography at Monash University. His Honours, Masters and Doctoral theses, respectively, examined the post-WWII historical geography of Victoria's sawmilling industry (1977), pioneer farming in the forests of South Gippsland (1984), and the early development of forestry policy in Victoria and South Australia (1995). Later research included international comparisons of the press coverage since the late 18th C. of ideas about the climatological role of forests, the historical geography of the firewood industry in Victoria, and the history of conservation organisations.
Stephen taught at Donald High School in the early 1980s and a decade later wrote a history of Morwell.
In an academic career spanning almost 40 years at Monash University he lectured in geography and environmental history, and was an adjunct senior research fellow in both Geography and History. In retirement, Stephen maintains his passion for geographical education and environmental history, and regularly visits the forests of Victoria and northern NSW.