Patrick Downs

Vincent Ball

Patrick Downs begins as the story of two Irish sailors who, after being shipwrecked off the east coast of Australia in 1851, decide to try their luck on the goldfields of Sofala, New South Wales. A fortunate connection enables Michael, the eldest, to set up a store, selling supplies to the miners by day, and, as part-owner of the Sofala Tavern, relieving them of their hard earned gold dust by night. Patrick, the younger brother, whose lust for gold blinds him to any other form of earning a living, toils tirelessly with pick and shovel for two years, searching for his elusive crock of gold, only to be found murdered in a back alley near a whorehouse. Consumed by the guilt of not taking better care of his younger brother, Michael leaves the diggings and wanders the outback of New South Wales, earning his keep as a labourer, rouseabout, timber cutter, shepherd, and finally, as he becomes more adept at horse riding, a competent stockman. Meeting Margaret Barton, the beautiful daughter of a rich squatter, changes his life, putting an end to his days as a wanderer, as he dreams of buying his own land and becoming a successful grazier a dream fraught with ex-convicts, bushrangers, drought, and attempts on his life!