Graeme Watson, a successful architect, first-class cricketer, and VFL player, has died of cancer aged 75.
Cricket luminary Ian Chappell has paid tribute to the man he called “Beatle” (owing to his long hair), remembering a lifelong friendship that began when they shared rooms on the national cricket team’s tour of Rhodesia and South Africa in 1966-67.
“You never forget your first touring roommate; it’s not quite love of your life remembrance but a fond recall,” he wrote in his obituary, published by Nine.
“The friendship is either a lasting one or it runs out of steam pretty quickly. In our case it remained firm until Friday, when sadly cancer claimed the Beatle’s life.”
Watson was a middle-order batsman and medium-pace bowler, who finished his career with 4,674 runs and 186 wickets from 107 first-class games. He represented Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales in state cricket and featured in five tests and two one-day internationals for Australia.
He also played 18 games of Australian rules football for Melbourne in the Victorian Football League (VFL) in 1965 and 1966.
After his cricket career ended, Watson became a successful architect, working on projects such as the Parramatta Eels’ training centre and the Sydney Olympic precinct.
“Watson had a successful business life after sport, cleverly maximizing his qualifications as an architect,” wrote Chappell.
“He excelled in solutions for sports stadium management and was involved in that capacity in the highly successful Sydney Olympic precinct.
“His architectural background stood out in the functional design of his house at Burradoo in the NSW Southern Highlands and the farmhouse on his property at Wollambi just north of Sydney.”
Watson is survived by his wife Jan.