Richard Venvill served five years of a seven year sentence for his part in the Swing Riots in Gloucestershire in 1830. He was an assigned convict in Van Diemens Land when he was pardoned in 1836.He moved to the mainland before Melbourne was founded and helped establish Ballark, one of the first sheep stations in the Port Philip District. Joseph Allen was sentenced to ten years for assault and robbery in Glasgow in 1843. He became one of the 'Exiled' convicts sent to Melbourne and was pardoned upon arrival in 1846. He immediately became a policeman and then one of the original four detectives in Melbourne. In 1854 he was dismissed from the force and then became one of the discoverers of gold at Blackwood not far from Ballark. The two men never met but some of their children did, and the families became linked. The book spans the years from 1830 to 1902 and follows them through their convict years, the settlement of Port Philip,the foundation of Melbourne, the gold rush and other events that affected their lives.