Dr Watters completed the Degree of Doctor Philosophy in 1970 while employed in the Department of Zoology. For the next three decades, he and the other staff of the Department developed the Zoology Museum to a level that is envied by other universities.
Dr Watters, appointed as honorary Curator on his retirement from teaching in 1988, enriched the Museum by developing an international network of museum staffs which enabled the exchange of specimens previously unavailable to museum users. His reputation led to visits to over 140 museums in 31 countries, and invitations, through the Australian Universities and Colleges International Development Program, to consult on developing museums in departments of Biology in universities in Thailand and the Philippines.
In 1981, Dr Watters was invited to join the Committee of this University’s Museum of Antiquities when it expanded into its new, larger space.
Readily accepting the challenges of working in an academic field so different from his own expertise, he quickly familiarised himself with knowledge essential for these fine materials to tell their stories. He generously and energetically undertook the role of Honorary Curator in 1984 and the extensive and often arduous administrative workload that position engenders.
In 1996 in recognition of his contribution to the Museum of Antiquities, the Faculty of Arts awarded Dr Watters the degree of Master of Arts, honoris causa. The University awarded him the title of Distinguished Graduate Fellow of the University in 2010. He continued to oversee the Zoology Museum until 2007 as Honorary Curator.
In the New England region he also made significant contributions to the Emmaville Mining Museum, the Hunter River Lancers and 24th Light Horse Memorial Museum, the Armidale Folk Museum and McCrossins Mill Museum in Uralla in addition to the university museums he was involved in.
– Written by William Oates, University of New England Archivist