Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Soldier, architect and postmaster-general of South Australia, 1841-1861.  John Cliffe Watts, one of the eight sons of Charles Watts, of Sallins, Co. Kildare, and his wife Margaret (née Boyse), was born in Sallins on 7 May 1785.  After completing his schooling, he is said to have worked briefly for a bank in Dublin and then for eighteen months in an architect's office before enlisting as an ensign in the 64th Regiment on 24 July 1804.  In 1805 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and transferred to the 46th Regiment, which was ordered to New South Wales in 1813.   Soon after his arrival in Sydney, Watts was appointed aide-de-camp to General Macquarie, the governor of New South Wales.  Macquarie asked Watts to design a new military hospital in Sydney and further works in the new settlement of Parramatta.  To reinforce his very brief architectural training, Watts is believed to have owned a number of architectural books, including Isaac Ware's  The Complete Body of Architecture (2nd ed., 1756),  Abraham Swan's  Collection of Designs in Architecture (1757); Colin Campbell's Vitruvius Britannicus, a French edition of Palladio's Quattro Libri dell'Architettura and possibly James Gibbs's Book of Architecture.

Watts's architectural career appears to have come to an end with his departure from New South Wales for England in 1819.   In 1820 he transferred to the 73rd Foot with the rank of captain.  He retired from the army in 1824 to settle in Campbeltown, Scotland, with his wife Jane (née Campbell), a niece of Mrs Macquarie.  From Scotland he made periodic visits to see his parents in Dublin, and eventually moved to Dublin with his family in 1837.  In 1840 he emigrated to South Australia, where he held the position of postmaster-general until his retirement in 1861.   He died in 1873.


All information in this entry is from the article John Cliffe Watts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cliffe_Watts (last visited, Feb 2010) and from Journeys in Time: Profile: John Cliffe Watts, http://www.lib.mq.edu.au/all/journeys/people/profiles/watts.html (last visited Feb, 2010).