William Nott was born between 1854 and 1858 at Truro, South Australia. His parents, William Nott and Eliza Hawks, were married in Adelaide in 1853. In 1859 they moved from Truro to Moorundie on the Murray River, and they lived at various localities on the Murray during the 1860s and 1870s. Notts Well and Nott Island in the River Murray region of South Australia take their name from Willam Nott senior.
William Nott wrote the manuscript 'When I was a Boy, Moorundee, River Murray' in 1924 (see p. 109 of the typed version). The manuscript was donated to the South Australian Museum in 1966 by Max H Fiest, of Blanchetown, South Australia. Fiest was apparently encouraged to make the donation by Robert D Edson, also of Blanchetown.