THE family of Serbian migrant Jovica Djukic described him yesterday as a hard-working man who did everything for his loved ones.
“He’s a very good man,” his wife, Davna, said of her husband as she showed a picture she pulled from her wallet.
Her eldest son, Milos, 21, stood beside her and said: “I never would have dreamt it would happen”.
Mr Djukic, 44, had camped with family members at Bruce’s Bend.
On the extraordinarily hot Saturday afternoon, he went out for a swim alone.
Mr and Mrs Djukic had been married 22 years.
They moved to Australia from Serbia 12 years ago.
They in settled in Sydney, living at Liverpoool, and Mr Djukic worked as a carpenter.
“He was very hard-working,” Milos said.
“He did everything for us.”
Mr Djukic said it was the first time his father had camped at the Murray beauty spot about eight kilometres west of Yarrawonga.
The family had arrived on Saturday having travelled down from Sydney.
They had arranged to meet their relatives from Melbourne for a Christmas holiday break.
“It was a half-way point,” Mr Djukic said.
The distraught family, including two daughters, aged 14 and seven, gathered at the Mulwala police station yesterday afternoon.
They helped investigators piece together what went wrong in the Murray on what should have been a pleasant Saturday afternoon.
Mr Djukic’s family were at loss to explain what happened to him.
They knew him as a keen fisherman.
“He loved the water,” Mr Djukic said.
“He was an excellent swimmer as well.”
Yarrawonga State Emergency Service volunteers who found Mr Djukic’s body had been looking for two days.
It was recovered from the water just metres where he had camped.