Joseph Adamthwaite (grandfather of the present Adamthwaites of Quambatook) was born at "Woodside" near Winton, Westmoreland, and was the youngest of four sons [of Edmund and Ann (formerly Stout)]. There were also two sisters, one of whom was younger than he [these were Ann and Jane]. One of the older brothers, John, migrated to Australia in the 1850s (the time of the Gold Rush). One (Christopher) went to New Zealand, and the youngest brother, Joseph, followed to Australia where his older brother John had settled in 1854. He mined for gold at Ballarat and Ararat. [Christopher eventually returned to Australia, where he died in Queensland in 1864]
Joseph married Emma Smith in 1864 at Langi Gheran. Her parents were Joseph Smith and Mary Ann Hickling. This Joseph was a surveyor, and had done extensive work all over the United Kingdom. His and Mary Ann's eldest daughter, Emma, was born at Preston, Lancashire, in 1845.
They made their first home at Moyston, near Ararat, and Joseph continued his mining operations until 1878. It is recorded that he made a "rise" at the Kangaroo Mine, Moyston, but that he lost it all through the hard times which followed.
The country in North West Victoria, which until then had been held by station owners (sheep squatters), was then thrown open for selection, so as the gold was petering out and he hadn't made his fortune, Joseph was forced to turn his attentions to pastures new. Moreover, by this time, he and Emma had six children to support. . Alone, Joseph journeyed up to Quambatook to select a block. He chose 240 acres along the Avoca River and then returned to Moyston. As Joseph was a carpenter, in all probability he would have built the hut to provide some sort of shelter for the family when he made his first journey in 1876. This hut, built of pine logs and mud with open fireplace and dirt floor, became the kitchen of the original home.
In the year 1878, he and his family with all their worldly possessions, made the long trip to Quambatook. Joseph's first concern would have been to build a house to shelter his family. Joseph built a neat weatherboard cottage made from some very hard local timber. The cottage had four rooms — three bedrooms and a sitting room. The log and mud hut was used as a kitchen, and when the weir was constructed, some years later, the ends of the slabs were used for the blocking of the floor. These blocks were used many years later to make a floor in the garage and may be seen there today. A mud brick dairy was added to the end of the kitchen, and there was a cellar. The building had an iron roof, fastened on with screws and washers.
Aborigines were in the district along the Avoca River, but between the years of 1866 and 1880 they began to disappear. Their last great gathering, with its customary rituals, was held about the year 1880, and after that time they could be seen just in small wandering groups. Along the Avoca River can be found traces of their ovens, etc. but very few, if any, burial grounds, which would indicate that they did not live permanently in this area, but just moved here seasonally.