Guide to the Papers of Oswald Watt [MSS 205]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Oswald Watt
Manuscript Number MSS 205
Last Updated March 2022
Extent 1 box
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract Essays submitted to the Oswald Watt Essay Competition

Collection Subject Type


Scope and Content

This collection contains entries submitted to the Oswald Watt Essay Competition, 1965-1971.  This annual prize of a pair of binoculars was established in 1921 in memory of Oswald Watt, and is awarded to a Royal Military College (Duntroon) cadet for the best essay on military aviation or aeronautics

Date Range of Content


Biographical Note

Wikipedia article:

Australian aviator and businessman, Walter Oswald ‘Toby’ Watt was born in England in 1878, moving as an infant with his father to Australia following the death of his mother. After finishing his education in Bristol and Cambridge, Watt returned to Sydney in 1900, taking up a position in the family firm, buying pastoral leases, and enlisted as a reserve in the Militia.  On return to England he was the first Australian to gain a Royal Aero Club flying certificate (1911), for which he later earned the sobriquet, 'Father of Australian Aviation'.

Watt transferred to the Australia Flying Corps in 1916, rising to command its English Training Wing, before his untimely death in Sydney in 1921 aged 43.  He is commemorated by several awards: the Oswald Watt Gold Medal (Aero Clubs of Australia) for outstanding achievement in Australian aviation, the Oswald Watt Fund (University of Sydney), and the Oswald Watt Essay Prize (Royal Military College, Duntroon)

Susan Johnston, 'Watt, Walter Oswald (Toby) (1878–1921)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, , published first in hardcopy 1990, retrieved 25 November 2020

Oswald Watt: the leader that the RAAF never had, Pathfinder: Air Power Development Centre Bulletin, Issue 166, October 2011 retrieved 25 November 2020


Administrative Information


Access and Copying Conditions

Access: Open Access

This collection contains a variety of copyright material. Copyright is held by the creator of each item. Specific conditions for this collection are listed below. If no conditions are stipulated then the standard terms of the Copyright Act apply for published and unpublished items. Digitised material from manuscript collections is provided to clients by UNSW Canberra in good faith for private study and research only, and may not be published or re-purposed without the express and written permission of the individual legal holder of that copyright. Refer also to the UNSW copyright, disclaimer and takedown policy. 

Copying: Copying of material for private study and research is approved

Preferred Citation

Records of the Oswald Watt Essay Competition, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 205, Box [Number], Folder [Number]


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Subject Keywords



Oswald Watt Essay Competition – Archives

Aeronautics, Military

Air forces - History

Personal Names

Oswald Watt, 1878-1921

Corporate Names

Royal Military College (Duntroon, A.C.T.)




Container List


Box 1

Folder 1

Oswald Watt Essay Competition, The Sydney Morning Herald:

1965 – Sergeant R.K. Peterswald ‘The Role of Air Mobile Forces or Air Cavalry’ (no title given)

1965 – Corporal E.B. Morris (Air Reconnaissance) (no title given)

1965 – Corporal D.J. Bedford ‘Air Reconnaissance in Counter-Insurgency and Limited War Operations’

1965 – Sergeant K.R. Cairns (Air Reconnaissance) (no title given)

1965 – Sergeant M.F. Dodson (Air Reconnaissance) (no title given)

1965 – Colour Sergeant M.R. Battle (Air Reconnaissance) (no title given)

1965 – Sergeant I.R. Taylor ‘Air Reconnaissance and Air Mobile Forces’

– Sergeant D.M. Horner ‘The Development of Close Air Support in the Mediterranean Campaign’

1970 – Sergeant R.C. Aley (1970 winner) ‘Army Aviation at the Cross Roads - Where Do We Go From Here?’


Folder 2

1969 – uncommissioned officer P.J. Abigail ‘The Integration of the Three Major RAAC Units’

1970 – Corporal C. Crawford ‘An Integrated Unit - Cavalry Regiment and Air Cavalry Flight’

1971 – Colour Sergeant D.J.G. Taylor ‘For the Want of a Nail’