Destiny’s Directing Hand

It is said that human beings are the only free-willed life form. “Free will” is the motivational force for action of all human beings, who do not have preprogrammed instinctual behaviors. Those with free will have the power to make choices that are unconstrained by external forces.

On the basis of family resemblance, this photo, a fragment of a much larger photo of Queensland Surveyors, includes a photo of Watson. He is almost certainly, the balding bearded man in the centre of the photo.

At the time of the Australian bicentenary of settlement in 1988, the Surveyors Department of Queensland sought to acquire a photograph of my great great grandfather, George Chale Watson, to include in a display. However, family links had long been severed and my mother not only didn’t have a photograph of her grandfather, but knew little of his life.

I never knew my grandparents, I never had a connection with uncles or aunts and there were no joyous family gatherings with cousins. So when this material emerged, hungry for information I made the effort to pour through his extensive writings. It helped me to anchor and understand more about my origins. Clearly there were echoes, footsteps to follow, damage to be repaired.

Given my lack of knowledge about ancestors it really was a gift to suddenly have a body of writing by my Great Great Grandfather who rightly believed that he helped to ‘Build the Commonwealth’. There is no doubt that as a colonial Australian he left large footprints for his ancestors to follow.

Weathering the storms of life led to me to shelve the material in a box which I faithfully carried with me as I moved to reinvent myself and start over again. Clearly, in walking away to start over, I was following a well formed ancestral pattern.

Now it is time to revisit this material and give it the oxygen it deserves.

The past does not lie down and decay like a dead animal. It waits for you to find it again and again.” “The Gilda Stories” ~Jewelle Gomez

Having read Watson’s work it is unlikely that he subscribed to the notion that humans have the ability to act according to their own will. Given the content, George would almost certainly have felt that, the way in which I was introduced to his work, supported his view that “there is a destiny that shapes our ends. Rough hew them as we will”. He also believed that it was inevitable that a subsequent generation would pick up on and be interested in his life journey. He would have believed that it was all predestined.

Destiny’s Directive Hand – Formative Colonial Life of G. C. Watson

Dame Nellie Melba wrote: “If you wish to understand me at all you must understand first and foremost, that I am an Australian” To understand my great great grandfather you need to remember that he spent his formative years in colonial Van Dieman’s Land. His family came from England but he was proud to be an Australian who made a difference.

Tasmanian Background

Drawn to Victoria

Queensland – Miscellaneous Occupations

Surveying Queensland

My intention as far back as my school days had been to become an explorer and to that end I had kept in view the position of staff surveyor, to which I was working up to.

Building the Commonwealth – G. C. Watson

Voyage Around Polynesia

Finding myself under the stimulus of needs must I looked around for some avenue of extrication from financial pressure and found an unexpected opening under the regulation which came into force at the commencement of 1871, empowering the Government of Queensland to appoint agents to accompany the vessels trading to Polynesia, recruiting Kanakas for the sugar plantations in the colony.

Building the Commonwealth – G. C. Watson.

My estimate of this trade and the conditions of recruiting within these semi savage tribes convinced me that that an honest man need beware that he be transformed into a rogue.

Building the Commonwealth – G. C. Watson.

Establishing a Commune

  • Woolloongabba Exemplars Commune. In 1894, about 200 people, led by a deeply religious land surveyor, George Chale Watson, established this utopia where everything would be owned collectively, and each would work for the good of all.