William was a 17-year-old groomsman, an outdoors man-of-action with a wild temperament. Could this head-strong youth follow his father’s lace-weaving trade, tethered to the click-clack of a loom in the dark and damp confines of a Norfolk cottage? Or was he destined for a different life?

Twice married, fathering 19 children, and with significant support from his two wives, Mary Long, and Eliza Clarke, William became a farmer, publican, and inn-keeper. This Australian story traces William ‘Cocky’ Wall’s journey in two parts.

Part one focuses on William’s convict years, serving out his sentence as an assigned servant in Hobart and Launceston, and how he played his part as a pioneer in early Central Victoria and Warrnambool.

Part two explores the next 117 years of the Currency, the 13 surviving children and their descendants. The Currency refers to the first generation born in the colonies— the Walls, born to their free-settler mothers and ex-convict father. The book explores how each generation assumed its own place in society over a period spanning 180 years.