A cheerful and rather simple-minded novel tells the story of a family and a town in Australia that finds gold in its backyard. The Patch family is composed of ""characters"", from Gran who was a wild girl, through Matt- just back from jail, and Dad- a poseur, down to an illegitimate half-uncle Fingal- the town drunk but a good sort. Chilla Patch, the central character and school principal, and his Mum are fairly steady however until gold is discovered and a luscious Italian girl, Gina, moves into town. Chilla gets embroiled with Gina and the town, including its priest, is busy digging up everything- the main street, the schoolyard, the graveyard. Organizers for mining companies and labor try to move in-so does a warmhearted prostitute. Morals and tempers waver, but after the mine is blown up- by Fingal, all subsides. A perhaps too glib and tidy farce in which the characters tend to be stock, and the situation never truly gets out of hand; still the moments when it to are fairly good fun.