Enid Watt's Shoalhaven Century

Enid Watt, who turned 100 on August 13, has spent her whole life in the Shoalhaven.

She has nurtured her family for more than five generations, starting with her own parents and now her three grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Born Enid Egan in Conjola on August 13, 1914, Enid’s family moved first to Bolong and then to Wandandian.

Her earliest memory is of two uncles going to fight in World War 1: both survived. Her next memory, when she was aged around 5, is of flooding in Bolong.

“We had floods two years running. I remember going over fences in a row boat trying to get to higher land.”

Her next important memory is going to Wandandian Public School.

“But I was told to go home because I was only six instead of seven years old.”

The next year she tried again, and this time stayed for another eight years.

“The school was a single room with 36 children and one teacher, a Mr Williams,” Enid said.

“Mr Williams was a good teacher,” she remembered.

When she left school aged around 15, she worked for a while at Wandandian’s post office and general store, but gave it up to support her parents on their property.

“I loved living in Wandandian, except for the westerlies. Nobody liked the westerlies.”

When she was 25, she met Cec Watt, whose family was involved in sawmilling, and married him.

“My Dad gave us a block of land, and we built a house on it,” Enid said.

“I believe the house is still standing. Our neighbour was an apiarist; when I was outside his bees used to have a rest on my shoulder. I remember the pollen on their legs.”

Enid said Cec had one of the first two passenger cars in Wandandian.

She had a son, Max, but later lost a second baby. In the late 1950s the family moved to Kinghorne Street in Nowra.

“Cec died around 1980, and soon after I lost my brother as well,” she said sadly.

For the last eight years, Enid has lived at Jacaranda Place on Osborne Street.

When talking about her life she says there were some good days and some not so good. “I lived through the Depression and two world wars.

“But now I have three grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, and they are all coming to my 100th birthday party.”

Enid said she has enjoyed her first century.

“There has been some sadness – losing Cec and my brother so close to each other, for example – but I have had a fulfilling life, and enjoyed most of it.”

When asked about the changes she has seen over the decades, she points out the first phone she had was in the house she and Cec built in Wandandian.

“And now I talk to my grandchildren – and see them – in Switzerland, the US and Adelaide on Skype.”

Enid finished by saying, “When I was young I wondered if I would ever live to be 80.”


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