The story begins with the arrival of silly English 'new chum,' Charles Harold Vane Somers Golightly at the Spencer Street Railway Station. A local con artist, Robert Copeland, offers to show Charles around the city in an attempt to take advantage of him. The scenes move briskly to the Burke and Wills Memorial, then out to Fairholme House on the outskirts of Melbourne. Later scenes include a Chinese opium den, and Flemington (during the running of the Melbourne Cup). Other characters include : Dick Ledger (a 'revolutionary' who speaks on behalf of the 'down-trodden wukkin' man wot is a slave every day o' the week and ain't erlowed to git 's beer on a Sunday'), Detective Lynch and Inspector Lannigan (both with an eye of Copeland), Polly Sweetapple, Frank Seymour, Mother Crosbie, Maggie, Dorothy, Joseph Westley and Hang Hi.