Bush cradle to creative writer
Jocelyn Watts is a former newspaper editor and communications officer turned creative writer. She is also a life-long photographer and lives on Queensland’s Fraser Coast, which takes in Hervey Bay, Maryborough and World Heritage-listed Fraser Island.
Born at Barcaldine in Outback Queensland, the former journalist, photographer and business owner now uses her keyboard and cameras to tell stories for your enjoyment.
Jocelyn’s background in communications, media, photography and business has given her a broad base from which to approach a wide variety of topics.
Between 1996 and 2020, Jocelyn worked as an editor, sub-editor, senior reporter, features writer, designer and photographer with various newspapers and magazines in Maryborough and Hervey Bay, both on staff and contract.
She also served in media and communications roles, on staff and contract, with Fraser Coast Regional Council, Uniting Care Health / St Stephen’s Hospital, and University of Southern Queensland (Fraser Coast).
While in the latter roles, Jocelyn’s media releases and photos resulted in hundreds of traditional and online media outlets publishing articles on the Fraser Coast, across Australia and overseas.
Focusing on media
In March 2020, Jocelyn returned to her former role as editor of the Maryborough Herald. However, just four months later the position became redundant when News Corp closed its regional print publications throughout Australia.
Since 1996, Jocelyn’s stories and photos had been published in the Fraser Coast Chronicle, Maryborough Herald and Hervey Bay’s Observer and Independent newspapers as well as the national magazine Aussie Post.
Stand-alone photos were published in Queensland’s Sunday Mail and Australia’s Driveline, Take 5, Super Food Ideas, Insight and Refinisher magazines.
In 2006, Jocelyn won the Queensland regional and bi-weekly newspapers category of the Older People Speak Out (OPSO) Awards that recognised media figures for their positive portrayal of older people.
Taking on photography business
Born to international award-winning photographer William (Bill) Scott, Jocelyn grew up learning the art of photography.
She later built on that grounding with photography courses at the Wide Bay Institute TAFE and memberships with camera clubs on the Fraser Coast, and also with the Australian Photographic Society.
While ‘taking a break’ from media between January 2011 and June 2014, Jocelyn owned and operated a professional photography business specialising in commercial, wedding and portrait photos.
Contracting organisations included Fraser Coast Regional Council, University of Southern Queensland, University of Queensland, University of Sunshine Coast, Queensland Government, Queensland Best of Brass Championships, Maryborough Music Conference, various real estate agents and many private companies.
Her commercial images were also published in a wide variety of publications online, in print and on billboards. She also drew on her media and graphic art skills to value-add to her business, producing an online magazine, posters and calendars for promotions.
Jocelyn’s photos gained international recognition in the Professional Abstract and Professional Fine Art categories of the 8th and 9th Annual Black & White Spider Awards. She was also honoured with Sports Photo of the Year in the 1999 Queensland Country Press Association Awards.
In 2000, Jocelyn’s submission won her the community competition to name Maryborough’s new riverside Brolga Theatre and Convention Centre.
Her early years in the Girl Guide and Scouting movements inspired the name Brolga.
While camping near her hometown of Barcaldine, she watched brolgas dancing at Lara Wetlands and years later re-told the Aboriginal Dreamtime legend of Brolga to Cub Scouts while serving as their leader.
In 2005, another of Jocelyn’s submissions secured Maryborough the first Guinness World Record for the most people on a pub crawl.
Her business memberships have included Hervey Bay’s Business Network International (BNI) and the Hervey Bay and Maryborough chambers of commerce.
Jocelyn has dedicated many years to volunteer organisations including the Rotary Club of Maryborough Sunrise, Maryborough Aussie Master Swimming and Friends of the Brolga Theatre.
Where it all began
Known as Akela to Cub Scouts at Rockhampton, Chinchilla and Maryborough, and Leena to Girl Guides on the Sunshine Coast, Jocelyn served in youth leadership roles between 1977 and the early 1990s.
As a teenager, Jocelyn won the Charity Princess title in the Barcaldine’s Artesian Festival Queen Competition raising $1200 in a town of 1200 people.
She also earned the Duke of Edinburgh Award, which included qualifying as a first-year fireman and trekking through thick Gidyea scrub and over desolate plains in Outback Queensland using a map and compass.
Jocelyn was selected as one of only 10 Queensland Ranger Guides to attend a national camp on Tasmania’s Maria Island. Rotary Club of Barcaldine also chose her to attend a Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) seminar in Yeppoon.
Stage and screen prowess
Jocelyn’s love of theatre had its beginnings in the Girl Guide and Scouting movements when she regularly appeared on stage in Barcaldine’s Trek Cart Revue, a mini version of the Brisbane Gang Show.
In 2016, Jocelyn resurrected her drama skills to help produce a television commercial while working as a media and communications officer with UnitingCare Health (St Stephen’s Hospital) on the Fraser Coast.