In contrast to the familiar contemporaneity of Hughie's bush town (see above) Woodberry's Australia is pervaded by the mystique of the Outback which elevates the smallest incidents to the status of myth. Paul, growing up in the shadow of his dead brother Peter in the prosperous matriarchy of Lark Rising Station, is surrounded by reminiscences of the past -- handed down by the ""Young"" Missus, and the Irish servant Biddy -- which he only dimly understands. Even Paul's running away from home is carefully supervised until, in the desert, he meets a strange caravan -- young Johnnie Moran and a homeless aboriginal boy, Peter, with the Moran babies and a goat in tow, coming to seek help at Lark Rising for Johnnie's sick mother. For Johnnie, Peter has been a life-saving guide across the unfamiliar countryside and he is destined to be Paul's new brother. An archetypal homecoming for those who can immerse themselves in the fragile dreamlike atmosphere.