SPE­CIAL DAY FOR VIC­TORY

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS - MICHELLE COLLINS

VIC­TO­RIA Watt has two rea­sons to cel­e­brate to­mor­row.

The great, great grand­mother was born at the same time the Al­lies and Ger­many were sign­ing the Ar­mistice that of­fi­cially ended the Great War on No­vem­ber 11, 1918.

She will cel­e­brate her per­sonal cen­ten­nial with fam­ily and friends at her home north of Bris­bane – re­flect­ing on a life that started with peace and saw her live through World War II, which be­gan on Septem­ber 1, 1939, and ended, six years later on Septem­ber 2, 1945.

Mrs Watt said her mother re­ceived a note from a friend af­ter her birth which read: “Con­grat­u­la­tions on the birth of your daugh­ter. I sug­gest you call her ‘Peace’ or ‘Dar­danelles’.”

My mother wrote back: “Thank you for your kind words, but we want our girl to love us, not hate us, so we are call­ing her ‘Vic­to­ria’, which is Latin for ‘vic­tory’.”

Af­ter leav­ing school, Mrs Watt worked as a governess, be­fore tak­ing over the gen­eral store at Amby – 540km north­west of Bris­bane – dur­ing World War II. It had been run by her fi­ance, but when he was posted in the rail­ways to Wal­lan­garra, on the Qld/NSW bor­der – 1029km by road south­east of Amby – she agreed to close the shop for him.

She sol­diered on for two years han­dling the dis­tri­bu­tion of ra­tions in a com­mu­nity that has rarely boasted a pop­u­la­tion of more than 140 lo­cals.

“We had a first-aid post in the shop and I passed my firstaid exam. I ren­dered first-aid to save the am­bu­lance – to save petrol – but if the ac­ci­dent was se­ri­ous, I would ring the am­bu­lance in Mitchell, 15 miles away,” she told The Courier-Mail.

She later mar­ried and moved to Wal­lan­garra to be with her hus­band. There, she said there were Ja­vanese prison­ers of war, al­though they were housed in tents and were al­lowed to roam around the town, lo­cated on the strate­gi­cally crit­i­cal Syd­ney-Bris­bane rail cor­ri­dor.

Among them were Ja­panese spies.

“The moun­tains around Wal­lan­garra were bristling with Aus­tralian am­mu­ni­tion dumps and the Ja­panese spies knew about it,” Mrs Watt said.

“One night my hus­band

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