William decides to leave Victoria and return to Ireland. He knows the police are looking for him, and a brush with the law convinces him to quit Australia. Joining as crew on a ship going to Liverpool via Sydney, he leaves Melbourne only to hear talk on the ship of gold in New South Wales. The simmering gold fever is in his being now and it takes little to rekindle the desire.
Again with little thought or planning, William leaves the ship in Sydney, hoping to benefit from the gold rush.
The police are only a step away when he joins some men taking a load of goods from Sydney to Goulburn. He had heard that Bathurst was a better place, but afraid of being caught and possibly hanged, Goulburn is an available and welcome option.
Goulburn finishes up being more about love than gold, and William's search for a fortune is delayed when he falls in love. Fate has other plans for him, and when his brief encounter ends badly, humiliated and heart-broken, he once again sets out in search of gold.
On the way to Bathurst, William stops and spends some time in Tuena Creek. It's a pretty place, a type of backwater where he can enjoy the things he likes most while he gives his heart time to heal.
Pulled by the lure of the fortune he hasn't found in Tuena, William sets out for Bathurst. After being there only a short time, he joins another man to try his hand at prospecting. It's a hard life and he learns more about the hazards of living and working in the Australian bush.
Tired of an itinerant life, he returns to Bathurst and works for an Innkeeper where he hears about a new gold find at Lambing Flat. Unable to resist yet another chance to search for the elusive quarry, he sets out on his own and for the first time, he's one of the early diggers to arrive. Lambing Flat is a dangerous place for William. He sees the riots first hand and is sickened by what happens.
The memories of Ballarat are revisited, but that's not the worst of it. William has found and accumulated good money from his digging, and others want it.
Returning to Bathurst, he meets Caroline who will become his wife.
They set up house together in East Guyong, close to her parents and William becomes a farmer. He discovers that farming is neither easy nor lucrative, and is attracted to being first a carrier and then a steam thresher in his quest to make a better life for his growing family.
One final chance to make his fortune from gold is presented when the gold rush at Hill End occurs. Leaving his family and joining four other men, William goes to live at Hill End. They find some gold, but never enough. Living is primitive, digging conditions difficult, and when fate takes a hand, he returns to his farm.