William Boyd Stevenson was born 2nd April
1870 at Brigend, Kilbirnie, Ayr the son of Peter Stevenson a Pit Stone
Miner and Elizabeth Bridget. William's first wife was believed to be Agnes
MacFarlane and together they had 6 children, William, Mary Daphne, John,
Agnes, Christina and a stillborn child before Agnes passed away leaving
William with his young family to raise. On 1 September 1911 William was
living at 81 Crossburn St Glasgow when he married Margaret Andrew
Paterson/Patterson. They were married at 8 Crossburn St according to the
Union of the Church of Scotland. The witness at their wedding were William
and Elizabeth Reid. Margaert's occupation was given as a Dairy Maid.
William served in the Armed Forces during the 1st World War and was gassed
whilst in France. After the war he worked as a Postman in Scotland and
fathered a further 7 children with his wife Margaret. They were Peter
Ferguson, Margaret Paterson, Andrew Boyd, Elizabeth Bridget, George,
Duncan Love and Neil Davidson.
In 1926 William's health led to his
decision to immigrate to Australia where he was advised that the climate
would be better for his health.
With his son from his first marriage
William, he and his family left Britain on the ship OSTERLY and arrived in
Perth Western Australia as part of a Government Grant Settlers Scheme.
(some of the other children from his 1st marriage also later emmigrated to
Australia) William and his family were in the first group of Settlers at
Black Snake, Western Australia. There was an Overseer in charge of the
Settlers and they were given 1 cow and 2 chickens (if the cow gave birth
the resulting calf had to be bought back for the sum of 10 shillings).
The families lived tin sheds and log huts
with dirt floors while clearing the land. It was much more primitive than
they had been led to believe and no doubt the hard and arduous work
contributed to William's early death a few years later. The family moved
to Narrogin and William passed away in 1928. William and Margaret's son's
all served in the Armed Forces during WW 2.
Peter, Andrew and George saw service in the
Middle East as members of the Royal Australian Army with George also
serving in the Far East where he was captured by the Japanese during the
fall of Singapore and spent some time as a POW on the Burma Railway. Their
youngest brother Neil also joined the Army before the end of the war.
Duncan was the only son to join the Royal
Australian Navy where he also served in the Middle East on H.M.A.S YARRA
and was a member of her crew when she was later sunk near Singapore in
1942. He was fortunately one of her 13 survivors. Remarkably all the
brother's survived the war and later married and settled with their
families in various States around Australia.
Although William had fathered 13 children
his wife Maggie went on to marry several times and could lay claim to at
least 24 children and step children. A remarkable feat for a young Dairy
Maid from Scotland.
Mel Stevenson for this information