Peter James Clarke
Gold Rush
by Peter Clarke

The story covers William's time in Victoria, involving journeys through the unforgiving Australian landscape, his time working in Ballarat, seeing first-hand the life of a gold digger and the obstacles confronting the people and the Government trying to create civilization in the wilderness, driven by the lure of gold.

William is left in Victoria when the steamship Lady Grace, on which he arrived, leaves without him and some of his shipmates. They explore opportunities to join another ship, but William still wants to find gold. He jumps at the chance when he is offered a job in a store in the Ballarat gold fields. It might still be possible to fulfil his dream of becoming rich. His shipmates don't want to join him, so it's necessary for William to once again strike out on his own.

His journey to Ballarat is not easy and when misfortune befalls his employer, William has to make some hard decisions. There is nothing like a trip through the Australian outback to learn about hidden danger and all it entails.

Once on the goldfields, William finds life for a digger is harsh, and it's made harsher by Government taxes, fees and regulations. The diggers are more agitated as time goes by, and William experiences the period leading up to the Eureka Stockade, where the diggers, angered by a series of events, revolt against the Government. The Government retaliates by involving the police and the military, resulting in violence and death. William sees how easy it is that a wrong decision can cost a life, and how hard it is for courage to preserve it.

The battle is over, but life can't return to normal. The death of his friend, too many changes and too much violence, entice William to go home, go back to Ireland without the hoped-for riches.

He leaves Ballarat, but violence is an ever-present companion on the journey to Melbourne, and without

forethought or heed for the consequences, William takes charge. He does what he has to do, to protect those in his care.

In order to avoid difficult questions from a police force he no longer trusts, William takes work on a farm outside Melbourne, and so finds his way into a peaceful life, unlike Ballarat in every way.

Unfortunately, William discovers you can't ignore trouble by pretending it's not there, nor can you avoid consequences by hiding. However, he has found running is always an option and regretfully leaving his idyllic life behind him, he once again decides to go back to Ireland. Unknown to him, he is a target for someone's affection, and she tries to make him stay.

He broke a heart when he was forced to leave Ireland, will he break another and stick to his plan to leave Victoria?
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