Poppy and her older brother Gus become orphans and go to live at Bird Creek Mission (orphanage) near Echuca. Poppy still misses her mother and she hates the orphanage so much all because of Mother Hangtree who locks the kids in a dark cellar if they are naughty (as you can see she is very strict).
While Poppy was cleaning Mother Hangtree's office she found a book with "Augustus" (Gus) written on it. Poppy couldn't help but read it. but she regretted it instantly. she found out that Mother Hangtree was going to send Gus to a DIFFERENT MISSION!!
Gus is sent to the cellar for trying to escape the orphanage and finds a small opening behind some sacks. When he comes out of the cellar he makes a plan to escape again and try to find gold. Gus tells Poppy that he is going to escape and come back soon. poppy agrees even though she is sad.
Hey, you! Get away from our clothes! Your kind don't belong 'round 'ere. It's our river. NO BLACKS ALLOWED!!
Gus has successfully ESCAPED!! Mother Hangtree gets annoyed that she has lost him again but then doesn't want to make a scene because the kids at the mission were performing at a concert in front of everyone. Poppy is the main singer but she doesn't sing. Mother Hangtree gets angry and embarrassed that Poppy isn't sing . Mother Hangtree doesn't know that she is doing this on purpose to go to the cellar and then escape.
Once Poppy was sent to the to the cellar she immediately escapes out of the cellar without making a sound. she headed up to the forest and then tried to find her way to the city. when poppy found the city she sneaked on the back of a delivery cart, she didn't know where she was heading but knew that she was going the right way.
The driver finds out that poppy has sneaked onto his cart but and befriends poppy instead of yelling at her. He takes her to her near her destination and when she reaches she finds two boys playing in a river. Once they see her they start shouting at her, being mean and rude and then throwing stones at her.