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Watson James Butler

Page history last edited by Lenore Frost 2 years, 5 months ago

Time Travellers in Essendon, Flemington and the Keilor Plains






Early resident of The Springs


By Christine Laskowski (2017)


Above: Map showing John Fitzgerald Leslie Vesey Foster's Sections 20 and 21. James Butler Watson's 50 acre

farm was on Lot 2 of Section 21, east of Foster's Road, which was divided up into small farmlets. Watson's

farm was situated just north of the two branches of Steele Creek, and now occupied by the Tullamarine Industrial Estate.


Uncovering the correct Mr Watson


In 2013 I published the local history book Steele Creek and The Lady of The Lake; The early history of Niddrie, Airport West, Keilor East, Avondale Heights, Keilor Park, West Essendon and Tullamarine.


These suburbs comprise the old Parish of Doutta Galla, and up until that time had largely been overlooked as far as history went. One of the people I included in the book was James Watson, whom I believed to be the same James Watson who had taken up the Keilor station in July 1839. It came as some surprise, when going through early correspondence written to Governor Charles La Trobe, to discover that James Watson who settled at Leslie Park, The Springs just a few kilometres from Keilor, was in fact a different man altogether. This James Watson was also known as James Butler Watson. Why he added the name 'Butler' to his name is unclear, as up until he began using his middle name, he was just plain James Watson. Perhaps he too encountered confusion with Keilor's James Watson, who in the 1840s was in financial difficulty, following the collapse of the Hunter and Watson/Marquis of Ailsa pastoral syndicate. It seems others have also been confused by the two men, believing Watson of Keilor to be the partner of Godfrey Howitt who took up the Murrindindi run near Yea.


One of James Butler Watson's daughters was born at Murrindindi around 1847 when the run was taken up by Watson and Howitt. James Butler Watson was a long-time friend of Godfrey Howitt's, Dr Howitt being present at the birth of at least one of Watson's children, and stepping in as a character witness for Watson when he was charged with shooting at his neighbour with intent to do grievous bodily harm in 1863. I have now revised the original entry on James Watson in the Steele Creek book. Below you will find a Timeline for James Butler Watson, as well as details of his parents, siblings and his children.







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