Of the many new generations of bushwalkers who enjoy the Budawangs, the Great Dividing Range and the many national parks we enjoy few will have heard of bushwalking legends such as Pallin, Morton and Watson. Colin Watson OAM - 1924 -2017 - of Moruya passed away peacefully in his sleep. He will be cremated a Broulee crematorium at 11am next Monday 8th May. Colin Watson, 93, was a passionate bushwalker and campaigner for the Budawangs and the National Park system and had hiked in the Budawang Range since the 1940s. He knew the country intimately and helped with the creation of a map known by some as the ‘Budawang Sketch Map’, which was drawn free-hand by an old friend George Elliott after after hiking the region with Colin in the 1950s and ’60s. The map was published by the Budawang Committee, which Colin founded in 1967 to promote the area, and versions are used by hikers to this day. Before the sketch map, says Colin, all he had to hike with was a parish map,with just a few vague topographic outlines and nothing more. The sketch map opened up the area to hikers, many of whom had no idea it was there previously. The Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife named Colin Friend of the Century in 1999 In the late 1950's Colin joined the Coast and Mountain Walkers of N.S.W and came to serve as President. In his capacity as Executive officer of N.S.W. Federation of Bushwalking Clubs he submitted a proposal for Budawang National Park. From 1964 to 1967 Coast and Mountain Walkers of N.S.W. committee of 5 members chaired by Colin Watson collected topographical, historical and natural history data and recommended names to features ( approx. 120 ) to Geographical Names Board. It was this club that named Watson Pass which Colin discovered in appreciation of his 'systematic exploration’ of the Budawang Range. In the years 1960 to 1970's Colin served in a number of executive positions in the National Parks Association of N.S.W and was very active on the State Council to bring about National Parks and Wildlife Service Act in 1967as well as being hands on in conservation projects and preparing the first submission on Mimosa Rocks National Park As the founding Chairman of The Budawang Committee Ltd, a voluntary charity conservation organisation Colin headed a team of 11 members which researched, published and distributed 'Pigeon House and Beyond'(1982- 300 pages), ‘Man from Misty Mountains' J.H.Sturgiss (1986 180 pages) and ’Fitzroy Falls and Beyond' (1988 350pages) From 1979-1989 he was a member of Nowra District N.P.W.S Advisory Committee and its Chairman from 1981 to 1989. In 1989 Colin Watson received his Order of Australia Medal in the June Queens Birthday Honours for Conservation and Bushwalking. While Colin visited and walked many National Parks throughout Australia he had a passion for furniture restoration as a cabinetmaker and french polisher and a love of the simple life in Moruya. Colin lived with & was cared for by longtime friends, Steve & Allison Dean & their son, Keeden . Keeden knew Colin as "Poppie."
Photo credit: Jake Anderson
Above: Colin Watson & Keeden at Commemorative Plaque