Napler in the 1930s was a time of going without. The story starts on the 25th of June, 1930 - a sad day in the Bourke household - the funeral of Katie's father. This Catholic family must now survive with earnings from the older siblings and the washing Katie's mother takes in. When older brother Tom returns home, after a long absence, it is a help - but with him come other troubles. Katie records the events in the old diary her father used to keep. It is her way of speaking to her dad. Then, in February 1931, disaster strikes the small town...an earthquake that destroys the school and much of the town centre.