Australia Day nomination for one of the Shire's inspirational men

Published Monday 18 January 2016

Mr James Watson, from Port Douglas, has been nominated for an Australia Day Award and says, “it’s a complete surprise to me.”

The Australia Day Celebration will be held on Tuesday 26 January at 9:30am at the Port Douglas Community Hall.

Mr Watson’s contribution to the community he has called home since 2004, has been invaluable.  He lives by one simple principle “to be interesting one must be interested” said son-in-law Mr Bruce Muirhead.

“[James is] a man of many colours who has helped so many to see the greatness in the small things.  Each story he tells encourages us all to believe in ourselves and others,” stated Mr Muirhead in the Foreword of Mr Watson’s book, entitled Indomitable James, A Man of Many Colours.

Mr Watson is an avid gardener, despite his physical limitations due to being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2008. There is a plaque in his honour for the Nautilus Street garden project in Port Douglas that he tirelessly spent hours developing.  He currently maintains two herb gardens and three of the garden beds at Ozcare, where he currently resides.

Gaining even more strength since being at Ozcare, Mr Watson has joined the choir with the acclaimed opera singer Alteouise De Vaaughn because he enjoys singing and finds it very therapeutic. Mr Watson attributes singing to overcoming his speech affliction thanks to his childhood mentor Mr Horley, who had the foresight to get him to sing to the class to help his speech affliction.

He has been busy writing his autobiography as well as enthusiastically working on the FNQ Iconic Men’s Stories book.  He was a member of the Garden Club and Toastmasters, becoming a Distinguished Toast Master DTM, as well as a member of the Port Douglas Neighbourhood Centre’s Men’s Group.  Mr Watson also was a member of the Douglas Shire Seniors Inc. and remains a Vice President for the Positive Ageing Cairns Inc.

Being a ‘Paul Harris Fellow’ Rotarian, Mr Watson said,  “I am very keen to return and would love to resurrect the Port Douglas Rotary Club.  Anything I can do in promoting this project I would be very interested in doing.”

Mr Watson’s community contribution is commendable and he continues to sit in various roles as President, Vice President and Treasurer of many community groups.

Mr Watson said, “there are many special people, with whom I have worked with that need to know about what is happening and who have done so much for me.

“I may not be able to walk the beaches clearing up the rubbish under the umbrella of Heidi Taylor of Tangaroa Blue, but trust my spirit is as strong as it was before,” he said.