On the 24th June 1910, Christopher Joseph Hewson moved from his home in County Durham, England, and boarded The Otway with his small family bound for Fremantle, Western Australia. With him were his wife Mary Ann Colwell and their two small children, Joseph and Emma. Not long after their arrival, in October 1912, Christopher was joined by his youngest brother Edward Harold and his new bride Elizabeth Sellars sailing on The Belgic. The two brothers were leaving behind their 4 other brothers and sisters: John Thomas, Kate, James William, and Emma. Their mother, Emma, had died a few years after Edward’s birth. Their father, Christopher John, had died the same year Edward had married Elizabeth in Bishop Auckland, Durham.
By the time war had been declared by the mother country in 1914, Christopher’s children, 10 year old Joseph and 7 year old Emma, were joined by their newborn sister Isabella. Christopher (34) was a farmer at Kojanup in the WA wheatbelt region, but his younger brother Edward Harold (29) was a miner in the nearby coal mining town of Collie.