SPECIAL DAY FOR VICTORY
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