Colin Watson

7 April 2022

Old Collegian Colin Watson

On Wednesday 30 March, Colin Watson (1940) one of the oldest living Old Collegians and boarders at St Andrew’s College, had a special celebration with family and friends to mark his 100th birthday.

Colin came off the family farm at Methven to board at St Andrew’s as a fourth former in 1937. He has vivid memories of his time at the College and says it was ‘fairly tough’ boarding in the old Rutherford House in those days. “We had to have a cold bath every morning. All the boys would go down the corridor with nothing on, have a bath, come back, and get dressed. In the winter they had to put the water in the baths the night before, as the pipes would often freeze and there would be no water in the morning. You also had to ‘toe the line’ in the boarding houses, or you got the cane,” he says. 

Like all the farmers’ sons at the time, Colin took the Agriculture course at St Andrew’s. “I always felt that I lost the opportunity to do a better course.” He was a talented young athlete, playing in the 1st XV in both his years at the College and winning two cross country championships. “In my second year in the 1st XV we had a wonderful trip to Dunedin by train to play John McGlashan College. I had never been anywhere near Dunedin before that.” Colin’s wool classing at St Andrew’s was also top notch. He won the Mr Burn’s Special Prize for Junior Wool Classing in 1937 and received a First Class in his Wool Classing examinations in 1938.

Colin remembers the boys at St Andrew’s ‘all decked out’ for territorial training and rifle drills in the first week of each school year. He later joined the RNZAF and got his flight wings during training in Canada, but just missed active service during WWII due to his age. 

Colin took over the family farm in 1952 and farmed it until his retirement in 1985. He lives independently in a flat at Methven House, and apart from three midday meals delivered each week, still looks after himself. The Watson family has a long, proud history at St Andrew’s, with Colin’s son Richard Watson (1971), grandson Henry Watson (2009), son-in-law Bruce Nell (1967 – married to Colin’s daughter Lyn), grandson James Nell (1995), and great-grandson Henry Nell (Year 9) all attending the College. “I’ve been back to St Andrew’s a few times for reunions. It’s a marvellous school now, doing great things and with wonderful opportunities for young people. The Headmistress is doing a great job.”

Related Posts