Peter MacKenzie, retired from the Ballarat goldfields and living in Melbourne with his family, is lured north to the N. S. W. goldfields. He has mortgaged his home to support his wife and children while he is away and labours unsuccessfully for years before he strikes payable gold. When he returns to Melbourne he finds that even Alligator Desolation, the family dog, has missed him.
The narrator, Mitchell and The Oracle, are travelling back steerage from Western Australia. One of their fellow travellers, an elderly digger called Tom, is returning home because his wife has died. When they reach Sydney Tom's children are waiting on the wharf for him and Mitchell demonstrates true kindness.