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Raymond Gosford Watt

1889 – 1967

Raymond Gosford Watt (1889-1967), lecturer, broadcaster and public relations consultant, was a foundation member of the New South Wales League of Nations Union (LNU). The LNU formed in the United Kingdom in October 1918, its members inspired by the vision of the League of Nations (established by the Great Powers as part of the Paris Peace Treaties after the First World War) for international justice, collective security and a permanent peace between nations. The League of Nations Union became the largest and most influential organisation in the British peace movement, with some 408 000 members in 1931. Raymond Watt served as national secretary of the Australian League of Nations Union from 1930 to 1945, during which membership in New South Wales peaked at 3 560 (about 40% of members were women). Although he had no diplomatic experience or academic qualifications, during the inter-war years Watt was fierily ubiquitous at Sydney meetings, rallies and lectures on international affairs, and appeared frequently on radio and in the press espousing the League’s credo that ‘all human beings are members of one family’. He was the NSW Division United Nations Association of Australia’s first president in 1945-1946. He was twice a federal delegate to the League of Nations annual assembly and he led the Australian delegation to the Brussels World Peace Congress in 1936. In spite of his immense energy and dedication, a secure job never came his way; he stood unsuccessfully for the seat of Bennelong in 1949. Watt’s copious papers, including notes for his broadcasts on scientific cooperation, medicine, industrial unrest, population pressures, drug traffic, international housing and labour standards and a host of other topics are in the National Library of Australia. In 2008 historian Nicholas Brown contributed the twenty-page essay 'Enacting the international: R.G. Watt and the League of Nations Union’ to the scholarly volume Transnational ties: Australian lives in the world.

Updated 2018