Elsie, or ELC, Watson as she appeared to prefer, was born in Elgin, Scotland in about 1870. She studied at St Andrew's University and received an L La, before coming to Australia where members of her extended family lived. She worked in Sydney at the Presbyterian Ladies College from 1890-1892, and Women's College as a mathematics tutor, from 1894-1897. She also taught at Ipswich GIrls Grammar in Queensland, and by correspondence, with an emphasis on giving women the necessary skills to attend university. In the late 1890s she left for London where she worked as a journalist, most sensationally for the Express, when, in association with reports of a missing woman in 1903, she 'hid' herself, with readers offered a prize to identify her. In 1912 Watson crossed South Africa solo on a motorcycle, the first person to do so. Watson was a socialist and a feminist, actively involved in the suffrage movement and agricultural reform. She made numerous trips to Australia to visit her sister Annie, who had also been a teacher. She was the New Zealand Press Association representative in London from about 1920 until shortly before her death in January 1945.