National Library of Australia
Correspondence, speeches, articles, notes, press cuttings, receipts, income tax returns, electoral returns, an account book, leaflets, a 1900 pocket diary and photographs. The correspondence includes material on political and trade union matters, most of which falls within the period of Watson's term in Federal Parliament from 1901 to 1910. Subjects include the choice of a site for a federal capital, progressive land tax, conscription, and Watson's retirement from the position of leader of the Labour Party in 1907. Correspondents include Sir Edmund Barton, Sir John Langdon Bonython, Alfred Deakin, Henry Bournes Higgins, Sir Isaac Isaacs, Sir George Houston Reid, Thomas Price, William Morris Hughes, George Beeby, J.S. Collings, Sir Joseph Carruthers, William Dyson, Lord Novar, B.R. Wise, J. Ramsay MacDonald, S.M. Mowle, R. Jebb, J.W. Gregory, and J.M. Toomey. Also included are various speeches, articles and notes relating mainly to Watson's political career, press cuttings (mainly relating to Watson's retirement), receipts, income tax returns, electoral returns, an account book, leaflets, a pocket diary for 1900, and photographs.
The collection is available for reference.
Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of John Christian Watson, National Library of Australia, MS 451, [series and/or item number]'.
The papers were donated to the Library by Watson's daughter.
The collection has been divided into series by type of material. The correspondence has been further divided into subject groups. Where the title of the subject group does not adequately convey the character and scope of the papers involved, a list of items has been included.
In addition to the Watson Papers the Library holds a video and other manuscript collections (including microfilm copies) which contain letters or other materials relating to Watson. These are described in the subject guide Special collections relating to John Christian Watson in the National Library of Australia.
John Christian Watson was born in Valparaiso, Chile on 9 April, 1867. He was educated in New Zealand and made his way to Australia in the 1880s where he worked as a compositor.
In 1893 he was elected President of the Trades and Labour Federation and President of the Australian Labour Federation. In July 1894 he entered the Legislative Assembly as the member for Young. In 1901 he was elect to the Commonwealth House of Representatives for Bland, and was chosen as Labor Leader in the House. In April 1904 he became the first Labour Prime Minister of Australia. He resigned as Prime Minister in August 1904.
In 1907, owing to ill health, he resigned the leadership of the Labour Party and in 1910 he retired from politics. In 1916 his advocacy of conscription led to his being expelled from the political Labor League.
He was married twice, firstly (1889) to Ada Jane Low, and secondly (1925) to Antonia Lane. He died in Sydney on 18 November, 1941.
Comprises Items 1-19. Correspondents include Edmund Barton, John Langdon Bonython, Alfred Deakin, Henry Bournes Higgins, Isaac Issaacs, George Houston Reid, Thomas Price, William Morris Hughes and George Beeby.
Comprises Items 20-76.
Comprises Items 127-155.
Comprises Items 156-163.
Comprises Items 164-165. Challenge to J.C. Watson to a debate on the land tax issues from the Sydney Single Tax League; letter (incomplete) to Mr Canter re land tax
Comprises Items 166-170. Correspondents are J.M. Carruthers and S.M. Mowle
Comprises Items 171-174. The correspondents are Lord Jersey and R. Lenehan.
Comprises Items 175-198. Including letters of regret at Watson's retirement from various trade unions and Labor Party organizations, as well as private individuals.
Comprises Items 190-191. Letters from the Political Labor League Executive of New South Wales declaring Watson's position as member of the Executive vacant; letter from Watson to the Paddington Political Labor League regarding his expulsion.
Comprises Items 192-208.
This series includes drafts of articles, speeches and notes on the labour movement, Australian politics, preference, the choice of a capital site, and the tobacco trust. There is also an appointment diary for 1900.
This series includes the secretary's report of the proceedings of the Sydney Troward Society, a copy of an enquiry into the dispute over control of the Amalgamated Railway and Tramway Service Association, a copy of evidence of the Public Service Board enquiry into the working of the State Clothing factory, duties of the honorary organizer of the Federal War Committee in connection with the scheme for the employment by Lucien Cosmo, the minutes of a meeting of the trustees of the General Cemetery, extract from a report of an interview with the Rev. John Ferguson, notes on the zone system, poem by Rev. J.K. Hinshelwood on a rumour of J.C. Watson's retirement, poem (unsigned), an acrostic by Rab Scott, a diagram of Richardson's patent Exchange value, statistics on vion compiled by foots and an autographed Australian flag.
The series includes receipts, income tax returns and cheque butts.
The cuttings have been arranged in chronological order.
This series consists mainly of official cards and invitations.
The series includes circulars, leaflets and pamphlets.
The photographs are housed in the Library's Pictures Collection.
They comprise photographs of W.G. Spence (1912), J.C. Watson, John Gale, (journalist, 1924), W.C. Hill (holding a copy of the first paper printed in Canberra with John Gale), A.K. Murray (Editor) and one unidentified photograph.