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12. TRAGEDY ON THE YARRA

1868 was a momentous year in the Stevenson family.  David was a strapping 30 years old, the pride of his mother Ruth and exactly the age of his father when he undertook his emigration from Scotland.  Regrettably, no similar great adventure awaited David.  In the prior year David had selected land east of Bank Head (above Fryers Gully) under Section 31 of the Land Act.  He had worked the land for just 7months when in mid-March some of his horses bolted and headed south towards the Yarra River.  On March 16,1868 he set out to reclaim them.  After following their tracks to the junction of the Watsons Creek with the Yarra, he must have spotted the escapees on the far side and in attempting to ford the river by way of a protruding basalt rock bar, lost his footing, struck his head and was drowned.

Davidís body was found in the Yarra below Watsons Creek the next day and carried on horseback to Bank Head.  It was a devastating loss for the Stevenson family and it contributed to a severe setback in the health of his Irish mother.             

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