WATT’s OF YALLOURN
This is the story of my grandfather, James Alexander (Jim) Watt, and his family who moved to Yallourn in the mid-1920’s.
Jim was born January 1899 in Pennan, a small fishing village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, to fisherman John and Barbara (nee Wiseman). He lived with his three younger brothers – Ben, George and Andy. Sadly, Barbara died during her fifth pregnancy in 1908.
After Barbara’s death, John continued fishing then served with the Royal Navy (RN) during WW1. The children were cared for by relatives, friends and in a widowed seaman’s boarding school in Aberdeen. My grandfather Jim also joined the RN in 1917 after putting his age up one year to enlist. Both survived the war.
On return to Pennan, life was not the same. Brothers Jim, Ben and George left Scotland for a new life in Australia arriving in Melbourne in April 1922. They were followed by Andy and their father John soon after. Initially they did odd jobs that included fruit picking in Shepparton. Soon after, all five men moved to Yallourn to construct the Yallourn SECV. They lived for over 5 years in site camps.
My grandfather Jim officially joined the SECV on 5 August 1924. In the 1920’s, he worked as a builder’s labourer, trades assistant, rigger and scaffolder. Somehow Jim met a girl from Tasmania, Doris Hines, who at 21 years old was then living in Melbourne. On 1 February 1930 they were married at the Presbyterian Church in Malvern.
On 24 September, my father James Andrew (Jim 2nd) Watt was born, followed a year later by his sister Barbara. The family then lived at 10 Strzelecki Road, Yallourn.
About 1934, the family moved to Morwell Bridge. At this time, Jim worked as a power station lagger, trimmer and steam plant attendant. Working the fishing boats and RN steamship boilers made it easier to qualify for power station operations. By October 1945 he was employed as a Turbine Driver.
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