William Alexander Waddle Wathen was born in Launceston on 20 Feb 1850. He was the second of five children of William Fowler Wathen (c.1822-1899), a teacher at St John's School, and his first wife Jane Waddle (1828-1855). When William junior was five years old his mother died, aged 26. His father married his first wife's older sister Eliza Waddle. They had two daughters before Eliza died in Apr 1858. WF Wathen married his third wife Emma Withey in Jun 1861. They had 12 children, two of whom are also in the Launceston Family Album.
WAW Wathen spent twenty years in New Zealand as a journalist with the Dunedin Herald, before returning briefly to Launceston in time to attend the Tasmanian Exhibition in 1891-92. He went back to New Zealand where he was involved in amateur dramatics and many organisations such as the Church of England Sunday School Teachers' Union and Labour Day festivities. He was a well-known pressman and inveterate writer-to-the-editor, being described in one 1899 newspaper article as 'The irrepressible Mr Alphabetical Wathen'. In May 1906 he left New Zealand, reportedly to go to England, via Tasmania, to claim a legacy. It is not known if he succeeded in his quest, but he did return in Nov 1906 to live in Launceston with his sister, Emma Louisa Beaumont and family.
WAW Wathen died at his sister's residence, 180 St John Street, on 18 Mar 1919 and was buried at the Cypress Street Cemetery, Launceston.