Emily Fillan, an English jeweller’s daughter, came to Australia in 1854 to join her fiancé, William Skinner. He was infused with gold fever and she followed him to various Victorian diggings. The primitive huts and tents, isolation and hardships she faced in the next decade were a far cry from the stable, comfortable middle-class existence she had left behind. The family was plagued by sickness (the couple lost their first child when he was five months old) and William had little success on the diggings. Eventually he gave up his dreams of gold and the family returned to work in Melbourne.