'93 kilometres northeast of Cooktown lies one of Australia’s most beautiful and secluded resorts—Lizard Island. Mary Watson was 21 years old and had been married less than two years when, in early October 1881, after mainland Aborigines had attacked two workmen at her absent husband’s beche-de-mer station, she set herself adrift in a cut-down ship’s water tank with her baby, Ferrier, and a wounded Chinese servant, Ah Sam. They died of thirst on an island over 60 kilometres away, some eight days after their departure.
'At Cooktown it was assumed that Mary Watson had been kidnapped and killed, and when the bodies were found some time later they were returned for a funeral which became Cooktown’s biggest public event, uniting the town in appreciation of her undaunted spirit. Mary Watson, whose diary describing their last days was found with the remains, became an emblem of pioneer heroism for many Queenslanders.
'In the meantime, however, a terrible retribution had been visited on the local indigenous people, whom the police were quick to assume had been responsible for the deaths.'
(Source: author's website)