Josef Schrott was born in Austria in 1933, and in 1949 he left to see the world. His first visit to Australia was in 1952 and his experience of Fremantle led him to decide to apply for permanent residency and make Australia his home. His experience in tunnelling equipped him well for mining work so he decided to give it a go. He worked on the goldfields and then, in order to save money, decided in 1958 to move to Wittenoom. Nothing in his career prepared him for the conditions he encountered there.