Itellya's Watson's of Sorrento and Portsea.
Here are a few things I've collected today and for some obscure reason I was not able to private message you.
You may not already have what's here.
Rather than me putting useless comments on your page, add what you want.
I shall remove this after you have whatever you think is relevant. Let me know 'when'
This letter to the editor came without any dates or sources, perhaps you can work out a date;
Sir,-In the issue of yesterday and under News of the Day column, you publish the following:-
"The Lands Department recently prosecuted one J. Watson who jumped a public reserve in the vicinity of the baths at Sorrento. Mr. Watson, although warned that he was a trespasser, commenced to erect a wooden building on the land.Legal proceedings were thereupon taken against him and the local magistrates ordered him to quit the land within thirty days.
Great inconvenience was experienced by the occupation of this land, as it overlooks the baths, but Mr. Watson showed no inclination to move off without compensation. Further legal proceedings were thereupon initiated against him but he has now informed the lands department of his intention to retire from the fight and give up posession. Mr Watson some months ago obtained 1500 pounds compensation from the government for giving up a piece of land as a site for a fort in the Bay."
Now, as these statements are not in accordance with the facts of the case, I trust you will grant me a small space in order to show the whole matter in its true colours:-For five and twenty years I have resided at Portsea,where I got my living and maintained my family by fishing; my property consisted of a six-roomed stone house and three quarters of an acre of land at Point Franklin. This was my own property. I had also a hut on the beach, in which was stored my nets and gear for fishing. Some months ago the Government purchased my land for defence purposes for 1400 pounds not 1500. This included the house and improvements, and was not merely for the land as your paragraph would lead one to suppose. I was compelled to sell, and the price paid was the Government valuation. The land had a special value for me on account of its elevated oposition and its closeness to bold water, the fishing lookout being the best around the Bay.
Having now to make another home, I selected Sorrento, and purchased two acres of ground from Mr. Duffy, upon which I built a six-roomed weatherboard cottage.The land and house are away back, the Bay not being visible from there. After my house was finished and my family settled, I commenced building a hut in the foreshore in which to store my nets and gear,and also to enable us to be at hand in some sort of shelter, in case rough weather set in, to save our boats and nets. I may mention that my old hut at Portsea situated on the beach is still being used by some fishermen for a similar purpose.After my hut was finished I was quite astonished at being requested by the lands Department to remove same. I had no idea in what I was doing wrong in putting it up as all round the Bay the fishermen have similar huts on the foreshore and this is the first time a fisherman has been compelled to remove. I naturally refused to shift,and allowed myself to be summoned in order to test the question. I was summoned and ordered to remove my hut within thirty days.The hut has since been removed. Your paragraph states that " great inconvenience" was experienced by the occupation of this land as it "overlooks the baths" This is really distorting the facts with a vengeance.
The hut was three quarters of a mile from the baths and being built on the beach was on the same level, consequently could not overlook anything. The true reason why I was compelled to pull down my hut was because it was situated about 40yards from Dr. Blair's Bathing Box, which is built on the beach also, and the fact of my building a hut was looked upon as an intrusion by him.
Now I should like to know why Dr. Blair and others are allowed to have bathing boxes on the beach, while I am debarred from having a hut there. Unless I can have a place to secure my fishing gear, and that close to the water,I shall be compelled to give up fishing, as the damage to my nets,boats etc. in rough weather would be ruinous. As your paragraph states, I have given up the fight.
I am only a poor fisherman, and cannot afford to lose the few pounds I have left, and ruin my family in endeavouring to get justice. I intend, however, applying for permission to build a bathing box for my family, the same as the Doctor, as I have a house and ground at the back. I don't think the department can with justice refuse this. If, however, I fail, I shall then be convinced that it is imposssible for a poor man to get justice. Yours, &c. J. Watson.
don't know if this below is one of your WATSONs, but here it is;
The Argus, Friday 10 April 1896
A FISHERMAN LOST.FLINDERS, THURSDAY.
A fisherman named George Watson left Flinders in his boat, 'the Fugitive', yesterday morning to attend to his crayfish pots within a few miles of Cape Schanck and intended returning to his family for dinner, but nothing has since been heard of him or his boat. Very rough weather prevailed in the straits last night, and it is feared that a serious mishap has occurred. All the coast stations have been communicated with, and a boat manned by experienced local fishermen started this forenoon to cruise in search to the southward of Phillip Island. Constable Jones,from Dromana, also searched the beaches and rocks between Flinders and Cape Schank. Information from Phillip Island states that Constable Thornton, of Cowes, picked up a rudder and gear answering the description of the rudder belonging to the missing boat. No hope is now enter- tained that Watson is alive.
Mornington Standard, Thursday 16 April 1896
George Watson, the fisherman who has been missing from Flinders since yesterday week has not yet been heard of, although portions of his clothing and fragments of his boat were picked up on the back beach on Sunday, and on Monday his boat was discovered beached at East Creek, near Shoreham. A rudder and other gear have also been found at Cowes, and have been identified as belonging to his boat. Diligent but unsuccessful search for the body has been made along the cost, He leaves a widow and children.
Mornington Standard,Thursday 14 May 1896
A concert was held in the Flinders Mechanics' Institute on the 1st inst.,
in aid of the widow of the late George Watson.
The hall was fairly filled, and the chair was taken by the Rev. Mr. Edwards.
The following programme was gone through:-
Overture, Miss Robertson; song, Will He not Come Back Again,
Mr. J. L. Banks; recitation, The Life Boat, Mr. E. Jones ; song, Mrs. Noyess; recitation, The Holly and Ivy Girl, Miss Katie Tuck; song,-The Cows are in the Corn, Miss N. Bryne, sung with great taste and expression, and the young per former was loudly applauded; song, Mr. Flanigan; song, Golden Love, Miss Veida.Violin solo, Mr. and Master Hopcraft; song, Soon We'll be in London Town, Mr. Edwards; song,'I Couldn't, Could I,
Miss Smith, very nicely rendered; song, The Old Log Cabin in the Dell, Mr. Brunk.
This brought the first part of the programme to a close.
" The second part opened with a violin solo, Messrs Hopcraft; song, The Bellringers, Mr. J. L. Banks;
song. The Toilers, Mr. Edwards: recitation, Mr. Jones; song, The Old Folks at Home, Miss N. Byrne;
song, A Soldiers and a Man Mr. Parkinson ; song, The Postal, Mrs. Noyes ;
recitation, The Razor Seller, Mr. Flanigan , song. Where There's a Will There's a Way, Miss Smith ; re citation, I Want to Fly. Mr. Parkinson; song, Daddy, Miss Veido; song. It. Always Comes Round to Me, Mr. Brunt.
The singing, of the National Anthem brought the concert to a close.
Miss Robertson made a very efficient pianist.
After the concert a dance was held, which was also a great success
Mornington Standard,Thursday 4 June 1896
FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENTS
George Watson Relief Fund the sum of 2 1s, contributed by the teachers
and scholars of Holy Trinity Church, Sunday-school, Hastings (1),
and by David Mairs, Esq. (1 1s).
Alexander bought a 1 acre beach front block where he built and operated the
Portsea Hotel from 9th December 1876 until he sold in 1890.The present hotel was built in 1927 on the same site and has since been extended. A photograph in the public bar of this hotel is of Alexander Cosmo standing out front.
The Watson family built a lookout from which the fish shoals could be seen and a system of bell signals to tell the waiting boat crews on the beach the position and type of fish.
During a flood tide storm in 1961 the old camp was severely damaged and the Council cleared the beach of all evidence of this historical building.
the bluestone retaining wall at Portsea is made from the bricks which were the old houses and over the last 15 years, pieces of china have been found on the foreshore which were in the houses when destroyed.
One of the crew of the work gang for the council One of the work gang in 1961 was the son of Frank Watson, the adopted son of Alexander Cosmo WATSON.
The Argus, Saturday 2 January 1915
WATSON.-On the 30th December, at Portsea, William Cosmo, youngest son of Alexander and the
late Janet Watson, of Portsea, aged 31 years.
The children of James WATSON b. in Boyndie, Banff in 1804 the son of James WATSON 1779-1843 and Margaret LOVIE. and wife Helen SMITH b. Banffshire in 1804 the daughter of James SMITH 1766-xxxx and Margaret KELMAN 1769-xxxx were:
Jane WATSON 1829
Jean Watson 1829
John Watson 1830 1906
Margaret WATSON 1833
Henry WATSON 1835 1922
Ellen WATSON 1837
William WATSON 1838 1925
Alexander Cosmo Watson 1841 1920
Helen Watson 1843
The children of Alexander Cosmo WATSON 1841-1920 and wife Janet ANDERSON 1848-1908 were:-
Helen Smith Watson 1868 1948 m. John Douglas STIRLING in 1890
Mathew Watson 1869 1955
Mary Ann Watson 1871 1901. m. Alfred Edward KEYS in 1893
Alexander WATSON 1874 1875
Cosmo Watson 1876 ?
Agnes Watson 1878 ?
James George Watson 1881 1945
William Cosmo Watson 1883 1914
Ethel Jane Watson 1885 ? m. Robert Edward BOYLE in 1905
Catherine Victoria Watson 1887 1973
Then Frank - adopted (have no idea where he came from).
The children of John WATSON 1830-1906 and wife Annie Marion SULLIVAN 1844-1928 were:-
Margaret Watson 1833 1937 m. Alexander RUSSELL
Rose Watson ? 1908 m Walter Augustus DARK 1861-1916
Margaret WATSON 1833 1925
Henry Watson 1871 1922 m. Marion Elzabeth WILLIAMS 1884-1977 in 1906
Lily Theresa Watson 1871 1953 m. Duncan McFarlane
Jessie Watson 1873 1948
Infant Watson 1875 1875
William Watson 1876 1925
John Thomas WATSON 1878 1953
Anne Watson 1880 1948
William Jones WATSON 1881 1948 m. Jean LOMBARD
Christina Ethel Watson 1884 1966 m. William Edward NEWTON 1885-1966
I'll add here, if I find anything more tonight!
The photograph below is John Watson and Ann, nee Sullivan