Former VFLUA member Peter Watt passed away last week in Port Macquarie, New South Wales. A country field umpire between 1944 and 1954 Peter was awarded life membership in his final year.
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland on 24 April 1913, Peter came to Australia with his parents and grew up with his two brothers in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. He began writing for the Melbourne Argus and Northcote Leader newspapers in 1943 and the following year was placed on the VFL list of umpires. War time fuel restrictions and suspended competitions meant that the small list of VFL umpires covered the VFL senior and second-eighteen, sub-district and military leagues rather than the many country competitions.
At the same time he was also secretary for the Fitzroy Cricket and Bowling Club, one of Melbourne’s strongest, which meant he had much inside information for his bowls column.
Combining his writing and football must have been difficult as the end of the war heralded the return of country travel for umpires. Nevertheless Peter totalled more than 200 country matches in his eleven seasons. His final match was Wangaratta versus Albury at Wang at the end of 1954.
In 1958 Peter moved to Mildura, a place he had umpired on numerous occasions and began a 21 year association with the Sunraysia Daily newspaper as a bowls and football columnist. He was also invited to coach the local umpires which he was pleased to do. His contribution to the community also involved a term as alderman for the Wentworth Shire Council.
Peter went to Port Macquarie in 1979 and wrote for the Port Macquarie News as well as broadcasting on radio 2MC.
Twice married, first to Freda and then Norma (both deceased), Peter is survived by his daughter, Margaret Halfpenny.
Peter Watt passed away peacefully on 30 November 2005 at Port Macquarie Base Hospital.