Sophie Watson

The past does not lie down and decay like a dead animal. It waits for you to find it again and again.” “The Gilda Stories” ~Jewelle Gomez


Sophie E. Watson was my maternal great great grandmother on my grandfather’s side. This obituary and a poor quality photo is the only link I have with her. I grew up in a relatively remote Victorian town in Australia, only knowing my parents and siblings. It was not until 1988 that I became aware of my ancestral heritage.


The death occurred at her home “Nirvana”, Fifth Avenue, Windsor, on Wednesday last, of Mrs Sophie Elizabeth Watson, widow of George Chale Watson and sister of the late Sir Robert Scott. Born at Dorney, Buckinghamshire, near London, in 1844 the late Mrs Watson came to Brisbane with her parents aboard the Artimesia at the age of five and had lived in Brisbane practically for the remainder of her life.

The Artemisia was the first immigrant ship to arrive in Moreton Bay bringing the first assisted free settlers from England. She was a barquentine of 492 tons (558 tonnes) built at Sunderland in 1847 and owned by A. Ridley. Under her master, Captain John Prest Ridley, the Artemisia arrived in Moreton Bay in December 1848.

Since Sir Robert Scott’s death a few years ago, Mrs Watson has been in indifferent health. Her father, the late Mr Robert Scott, was a builder in the very early days of the colony, and owned the first pottery works built in Queensland. Her husband, who predeceased her many years ago, was an old officer of the Lands Department, and one of the earliest surveyors. He was one of the surveyors of the dividing line between New South Wales and Queensland at the time of Seperation.

The deceased lady leaves a grown up family – Messrs G.E.L. Watson (Victoria) and E.T. Watson (Windsor), and Mesdammes, J.T. Moore (Bowen) and E. Horden (Wellington Point) and Miss M. Watson


A Message from my Great Great Grandmother

After checking to see if she was receptive to communicating with me, I only called upon my great great grandmother to provide an initial message. The 6 of Cups traditionally reminds us that distance from the past can ache and memory can be a source of inspiration. Drawing the 6 of Cups from the Santa Meurte deck suggests that it really is time to look in those cups and remember the old world. I sense that those overflowing cups might be like a mirror, shining the light on who I am, and that communicating with members from the old world might enable give someone like me a road map to navigate my final years. However, my great great grandmother does caution me to make sure that I am not hiding from the present and to be careful not to lose myself in the past. She thinks I should carefully analyse my reasons for communicating with the past now and make sure that any communication benefits my future.