Family of James Donaldson Watson

James Donaldson Watson as a twenty year old, prior to embarking on his journey to Australia. This photo was kindly provided by Anne Steel, his great grand-daughter.

James Donaldson Watson, as a young man in 1853, about to sail to Australia.
James Donaldson Watson, as a young man in 1853, about to sail to Australia.

James Donaldson Watson was born on 29 Oct 1833 in Cellardyke, Fife. He was baptized on 18 December 1833 in Kilrenny, Fife. He died on 15 April 1914 in Rochester, Victoria, Australia.

James Donaldson Watson arrived in Victoria on board the “Oliver Lang” in September 1854. An interesting account of the voyage can be found here: Papers and Correspondence of William Stanley Jevons

James Donaldson Watson and Catherine Fogarty were married on 20 July 1859 in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. According to their marriage certificate Catherine was born on 25 March 1840 in Kings County (County Offaly), Ireland. She died on 18 August 1921 in Rochester, Victoria, Australia. This photo of their family was taken about 1910.

Family of James Donaldson Watson
James Donaldson Watson, his wife Catherine Fogarty and their eight children and Michael O’Brien in Victoria Australia about 1910.

Standing L to R William James, Vice Versa Catherine and/or Jane , Thomas, Margaret, Bridget (Snout) and Julia (killed in Rochester train and buggy collision 1912)
Front Seated L to R Michael O’Brien (blinded in accident when building bridges in Winchelsea),Watson Pioneer and Patriarch James Donaldson Watson born Fifeshire Scotland buried Pinegrove, his wife Catherine Fogarty born Kings County buried Pinegrove and Alexander (with one leg) next to his mother.

Catherine Fogarty born Tipperary, Ireland 1837.
Catherine Fogarty about 1850.
 More info:

Margaret born 1865 died 1943 married Richard Thomas Brereton 1893, had 6 children
Julia born 1867 died 1912(killed in buggy/train accident) married John Murphy 1899, 0 children
Jane born 1870 died 1952 married Thomas O’brien 1894, 12 children
Catherine born 1873 died 1934 married Eldred Cox 1902, 3 children
Bridget born 1875 died 1966 married Daniel McAuliffe 1912, 3 children
William James Watson married Catherine Quigg. four children, buried Rochester 1962
Thomas Watson married Margaret Egan, four children, buried September 1929 Pine Grove
Alexander Watson unmarried buried Pine Grove June 1929

Thomas Watson (son of James Donaldson) with wife Margaret (nee Egan) and their four children about 1904-06.
Family of Thomas Watson
Thomas Watson (holding Rita)and family, Alexander Hugh on the left.

From Left Alexander Hugh age 8-10, his Father Thomas age 41-43 nursing Margaret Rita Mary (Rita) age 4-6, Catherine (Katie) age 15-17, his mother Margaret Egan age 34-36 and James Alexander Donaldson (JD) age 13 – 15.

Thomas built the ‘Rockleigh’ homestead at Tennyson. They had their first child Catherine Eliza (Katie) there in 1890 (died 26 July 1973 Bendigo), when Thomas was 27 and Margaret 20. On 27 September 1891 they had James Alexander Donaldson Watson (Jimmy), (died 16 July 1984 Bendigo), five years later they had Alexander Hugh (Sandy) on 23 September 1896 (died 28 June 1958) and four years later they had Margaret Rita Mary (Rita) born 1900 Tennyson (died 26 November 1927 Tennyson) who had a club foot and was intellectually special. Rita was born when her sister Catherine (Katie) was 11, JD, 9, and Alec four. When Rita was six; her mother Margaret contracted Pleurisy/Pneumonia Syncope (fainting) and suffered for 10 days before dying at Tennyson. When Margaret (the girl from Mia Mia) died at age 36, just prior to Christmas 1906 her kids were Katie 17, Jimmy 15, Sandy 10 years and Rita 6 years.


Later on, maybe 1920s:
Beanleigh, Tennyson 1919

Back row: Thomas  with Rita his sons Alexander Hugh (Sandy) and James Donaldson (Jimmy).
Front row: Aunty Katie & Hubert GLADMAN, Aunty Annie (nee SLATTERY) (Thomas’ 2nd wife), Thomas’ mother Catherine FOGARTY/Watson, Monica MCAULIFFE, Bridget MCAULIFFE (Thomas’s sister), Jackie MCAULIFFE, Maurice & Elsie May WATSON (nee FULLERTON), Don’s Mother, the photo was taken about late 1919 early 1920, Maurice was born Nov 1918, he looks about 12 months old.
Catherine FOGARTY died in 1921. The photo was taken at “Beenleigh” which is about one mile south of the “Rockleigh” property.

Portaits of Thomas Watson and wife Margaret (Egan)
Thomas and Margaret Watson

James Alexander Donaldson Watson and Elsie May Fullerton on their wedding day 30 January 1918:
James and Elsie Watson

Alexander Hugh Watson and Florence Jean Watson on their wedding day 25 October 1925:

Alex and Jean Watson

A few of the clan about 1940.

Alexander Watson, second from the left, Ruth Stewart (Nanny) far right.

Others in the above photo: Back row; Rupert Watson in the hat, Tom Gladman and Bruce Watson. Middle Row: Man in dark suit (unknown), Alex Watson, Herbert Gladman and Rob Stewart. Bottom Row: Ian (Tiny) Watson, Beryl Fiedler (Watson), Marjorie Elliott (Gladman) in front of Herbert, Elaine Lawrence (Watson), Nellie Mitchell (Gladman) and Ruth Stewart (Nanny)

Watson Family Reunion, White Hills gardens about 1971
Watson Re-union 1971

Camping Australia


14 thoughts on “Family of James Donaldson Watson

    1. Hi Aillin….was lovely to meet yo,u Margaret, Owen and Eris the other week (with my sisters, Linda, Penny and Cindy)….especially since spme of us had been online friends/rellies for quite a while….we had a delightful day with you at “Siberia” lol and visiting the PineGRove Cemetery, Tennyson Park and finding the house-sites for Rocklea, Beanlea and the old Fullerton Place at May Reef/Avonmore….take care and see you next time…Paul Watson

  1. Also just found this blog. I have been doing a lot of research on the Watson family (James Donaldson Watson was my great great grandfather. Did you know that he kept the Donaldson name as it was his mother’s surname? The reason why he kept it because she was directly linked to Scottish Royalty. I have the complete family tree, if you would like to see it.

  2. Hi

    After googling my husband Peter’s father Hubert William Gladman I luckily happened upon your work. I am a genealogist of sorts having worked on my own side of the family for years and know the work that goes into it. I’m glad Peter’s family history has been done for us, thanks to you and others as I don’t know where I would find the time to do it. I’ve sent this information to Peter’s siblings and our children who are happy to see photos they’ve never seen before and to find they have a connection to Royalty. My son worked out he may be about 8 millionth in line for the throne.

    My husband is a Watson descendant through Catherine Eliza (Auntie Katie). Her son Hubert is centre of the photo “A few of the clan about 1840” though was not in the photo of the 4 young men (two of them thought to be Gladmans).

    I’ll come back to you with more commentary as I read through it again.

    Annette Gladman

  3. Here again. The 1971 Reunion. We were at that gathering. We have seen a large cutting from the newspaper with everyone in it. I’m sure it would be available through the Bendigo Advertiser. In your photo I thought the young man standing 4th from the left was Peter. Whoever it is they look very much alike at that age.

  4. Just had a good look at this page. Great information thanks. Lovely to meet (or reconnect with)some of the more distant relatives via your above comments. I’m interested in 1870s/80s Mia Mia where Thomas Watson met Margaret Egan (from Mia Mia) before marrying her; where was Margaret from i.e. who exactly were her parents? Anyone know?

    1. Hi Sally-Anne

      Margaret Egan’s parents were James Egan, farmer born Kings County, Ireland and Eliza McDonnell, born Inverness Scotland. James, 23 and Eliza, 23, married in Heathcote Catholic Church April 12th, 1869. They both lived at Mia Mia when they married. His parents were Owen Egan, Farmer, and Mary McIntyre. Her parents were Hugh McDonnell, Farmer, and Catherine McLellan. Witnesses were Patrick McIntyre and Elizabeth Egan.

      Hope this helps.

      Annette Gladman

  5. Hi Jack

    Apparently there is another Watson Re-union on 15 April 2017 (Easter Saturday) according to my husband Peter Gladman’s cousin Murray Elliott. You can contact him for more information and I’m sure he would be happy to hear from anyone in the clan.


      1. If you send me your email I can send you an image of the 1972 Watson re-union centre spread from the Weekly Times. I tried sending it here but it didn’t work. You are in it if I am not mistaken.

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