James Walter Lewis came from the York Peninsula in South Australia. He arrived on the Flinders at the age of fifteen. After working with a tinsmith T.H. Bond he went to work as a farmhand in Grass Patch. He eventually took up 1,000 acres (404.7ha) south of Salmon Gums known at Circle Valley and called his property ‘Sunnyvale’.
Lewis Family in the Salmon Gum Country – 58 miles from Esperance
He eventually cleared 275 acres (111.3ha) using six plough horses, initially clearing a 10 acres area to grew hay and ran sheep and kept pigs. The farm location was referred to as the ‘58’ mile and Cobb and Co would stop over. The hay crops were cut with his reaper and binder. The hay was cut into chaff using a hand operated chaff cutter. The chaff would be carted to Norseman at a 4 pound, ten shillings a ton and the chaff would sell for between 5 and 7 pounds for a 80 lb. bag. It is claimed that his chaff was of the best quality that was seen in Western Australia.
He had four sons who enlist in World War One, Archie, Charles, Percy and James Jnr. Three of the Lewis sons were killed at the front and the youngest James Jnr was returned home so that one son would survive the war.
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