William's father decides his son must leave the village in country Ireland to break the poverty cycle, and puts the sixteen year old on a cart for Belfast.
Swept along by fate and determination, William leaves his new-found love behind and uses his wits in Belfast to obtain work. Befriended, ignored and used, William sails between Ireland and England. On the way, he hears about gold for the taking in Australia. Eventually, he finds his way onto a steam sailing ship bound for Australia, deciding he will follow the gold rush.
The ship is huge and intimidating, but William must make the best of it if he's to get to Australia. Once again, not everyone is his friend. Threatened onboard by bullies and the elements during the voyage, his courage and patience are tested as he heads to the unknown new colony of Australia, and a new life.
Never easy, sometimes funny, and often dangerous, William's adventures show how one determined man can change his future.