Australia 2014: Part 14

<Hobart, Tasmania | 09:08>

I have just purchased tickets to the Mona Gallery. This is one of the things that the flight attendant who brought me down here from Melbourne told me I had to see. She told me to make sure I come with an open mind. That makes me wonder what she’s talking about.

My mind is open to a whole mess of things (probably more than it should be) as most minds are open in this day and age. A small part of me wants to jump online and find out exactly what she was talking about. But I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

<10:16>

I am standing on a memorial walk at the Hobart Botanical Gardens. This walkway has been planted with so many trees. Each tree has been placed for a soldier who died in the first world war- it’s very moving. Some of the trees are younger because the original tree has died, but they keep replanting new ones when that happens. I just came across a plaque/ directory of the names of these soldiers. My eyes scan these names for someone who might possibly be a very distant relative. The directory tells me that tree #160 has been dedicated to Spr. Alfred Ernest Watson.- that’s the tree I need to find.

For some reason, I’m very emotional while I’m looking for this tree on the memorial walk. I am wondering who his descendants are and if they’ve come to visit him lately. Is someone bringing him flowers? As I approach the plaque, there is a black and white bird perched atop it. I tell the bird that he needs to leave because I’ve come to speak with Alfred. The bird looks at me and understands and leaves (ok I know the bird actually was afraid of me, but I’m choosing to believe he was flying away because Alfred and I needed a moment). 

Alfred (who I’m nicknaming Alf- since I have now decided that he is family) was a carpenter by trade. He was the son of Joseph William and Very Mary Gaunt Watson and his brother was Charles Watson of Port Esperance (later Geeveston). He was a Roman Catholic and he enlisted the 5th of January, 1915, embarked on April 19th of that same year. He was with the 2nd Tunnelling Co. Aust Mining Corps and was accidentally killed on the 17th of September, 1916.

Accidentally killed? What happened to him? Maybe some sort of mining accident? Did a tunnel collapse? Further investigation tells me that he was accidentally killed on railway line near Laventie. 

I’m reading this information and for some reason, I’m close to tears. This is stupid. I don’t know this guy- maybe I feel this attachment because he’s the only Watson on the list. That must mean his is/was a good person. All of us Watsons are great- some greater than others. I need to know all about this man for some reason. I need to do some digging. I wish I would have brought flowers to leave next to his tree.

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