A member of the Hancock family, later prominent in Western Australia, Emma Hancock was born at Guildford, Western Australia. She and her husband, John Withnell (1825–98), began operating a pastoral lease – Mount Welcome station, on the Harding River in 1864. The station homestead became the site of the first town in the north west, Roebourne.
Emma Withnell was known as Mother of the North West among the aborigines in the area as she often tended to the sick and delivered babies in her own house.
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