That night, Toby is too unhappy to either eat dinner or talk to anyone. As his friends lay down in their rough bunks, Dipper brings out a small round object, and as he opens it up, it begins to play some music.
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The object is a gentleman's watch with a music box in it, the only possession Dipper can truly call his own - it was given to him by his father, and long ago had been worn by Dipper's great-grandfather. The music sends Dipper's friends to sleep, allowing him to creep out of the hut and distract the guards by throwing some pebbles. As they chase after what they suppose is an intruder, Dipper sneaks back to the work site, finds the baby koala back near his mother's body, tucks him in an inside pocket that the baby thinks is his mother's pouch, and returns to the hut, distracting the guards again with some wild animal noises.
In the hut, he takes out the baby koala and puts it in the crook of Toby's elbow. Toby wakes up and sees the koala and his face turns to joy, but no one, least of all Dipper, will admit to knowing how it got there. Four weeks on, Polly has become Augusta's only servant girl, and spends time shopping at the store so she can hear the news of the convicts.
She finds out that Bully was reprimanded by the Lieutenant Governor for leaving the prisoners while he was shooting at the kangaroos. After Polly hears that Toby is allowed to keep his pet koala and Bully is ordered to remove Toby's leg-irons, Augusta sees Polly smile for the first time. At tea that night, Polly hears from Captain Pertwee that one of the convicts has been injured and, according to the surgeon, may not live.
Terrified, she runs up the streets of Sydney Town towards the convicts' hut, but finds out that it is not Toby who is dying, but Dipper. The convicts had been felling trees, and Dipper had suffered another one of his leg cramps, but was ordered to continue working by Bully. Unable to move, Dipper couldn't get out of the way of a large and heavy trunk when it crashed to the ground so quickly that the other convicts weren't able to help him.
With his last bit of strength, Dipper presses something into Toby's hand and tells him that he wants him to have it.
When the other convicts have moved away, Toby shows the object, the music box watch, to Polly. In the days that follow Dipper's burial, Jack's behaviour changes: he stops making cheeky remarks to Bully as they work, he no longer calls Corporal Wesley "Weazel" to his face and is allowed to hold the reins of Bully's mare as he quietens and calms it each morning. Toby often sees Jack looking towards the distant Blue Mountains , and one night hears Jack and George whispering to each other, and knows that Jack is planning to escape, not wanting to suffer the same fate as Dipper.
All seems normal at the work site the next morning, until George starts breaking all of the tools in pieces, drawing the attention of the soldiers and allowing Jack to untether the friendly horse and quietly turn it towards the mountains.
Later that day, George is made to pay for assisting in Jack's escape: he is given fifty lashes while tied to a large wooden triangle in the public square and thrown into a punishment cell on Bully's orders where he will spend every night for the next six months while he works at the blacksmith's shop during the day. Weeks later, Toby mouths the word tonight to George as he and Billy pass the cell on their way to work. That night, Polly—whom the Lightfoots have given permission to visit George in the punishment cell—and Toby smuggle some food from the Governor's kitchen and see George in the cell.
George longs for Jack to help him escape the cell and Toby comes up with a plan to search for Jack in the bush, taking the bundle of food intended for George and his own pet koala. A noise causes Bully and Weazel to wake in the guardhouse and see Toby's shadow between the wire fence and scrub. Toby runs for his life and doesn't stop until he cannot hear the shouts of the pursuing guards behind him.
As he continues to search for Jack in the night while keeping a tall mountain peak in front of him to stop him going around in circles he gets a feeling that someone is following him, but he hears little and doesn't see anything when he stops to look. He is sure that if it is one of the guards, they would make much more noise. He eventually flops onto the ground exhausted and sleeps until the early dawn when he is woken by a kookaburra and some cockatoos. He eats some of the provisions and then resumes his search.
That evening, with his throat sore from calling Jack's name and all of the food Polly had provided gone, he is close to exhaustion when he finds a clearing with the remains of a dug-out fire. He feels the fire's ashes to see how warm they are when the sound of a snapping twig causes him to turn around. He sees a young Aborigine with a spear in his hand and a dingo at his side.
But although Toby is terrified at first, he soon realises that the other boy is actually a friend. They get to know each other with their arms and some sand providing them with ways to overcome their natural language barrier. Toby eventually finds out that his new friend is named Wahroonga and he had been following Toby through the bush to make sure that no harm came to him or his koala. Wahroonga introduces Toby to his animal friends—a dingo and a cockatoo—and shows him how to find water and food and invites him to stay the night in a gunya , an Aboriginal sleeping shelter on the edge of the clearing.
Next morning, after Toby explains that he is trying to find Jack—a man riding on a horse—Wahroonga leads him along a dry river bed until they find a horse's hoof prints. They spend the next few hours following the river bed looking for more prints and other small clues to Jack's possible escape route. At one point, Wahroonga motions to Toby to stand still as he hears a horse neighing and they hide behind a bush as two bushrangers pass them.
Just as Toby and Wahroonga are ready to leave their hiding place, they hear a third horse approach them. They try to bury themselves in the sandy creek bed, but Toby hears the horse slow and stop. Then footsteps approach them and a foot taps Toby on the shoulder. He is scared when he first turns around, until he realises that it's Jack Doolan.
After introducing Jack to Wahroonga, Toby tells him stories of his adventures in the bush, but when Jack thinks Toby has run away too, he tells him about what has happened to Big George and why he ran away. Jack follows the path the bushrangers took earlier and above their camp, he gets Toby and Wahroonga to roll a large boulder down the hill into the camp.
It smashes into one of the huts, giving Jack a chance to unleash both of the horses and send one into the bush while he gallops back to the boys on the other. Moments later, Jack is back on his horse with Toby, Wahroonga and the koala on the other, with the dingo following them and the cockatoo overhead as they make their way back towards Sydney Town.
On the edge of the convict settlement, Jack tells Toby that they will need to distract the guards to allow them to get near George's cell, and they will need some tools to break down the cell door. Toby remembers seeing tools in the storehouse next to the cell. As the guards are being served tea and stew, Jack gives a signal and Wahroonga gives a soft whistle to the cockatoo, which flies toward the line of soldiers and causes them to scatter in all directions.
Another signal from Jack causes Wahroonga to whisper a command to the dingo which snaps and snarls at the soldiers' horses causing them to rear and plunge, break their tethers and bolt toward the bush. The soldiers set off in pursuit and leave the settlement unguarded. Wahroonga keeps watch as Jack and Toby head for the storehouse.
They find no tools there, only barrels of rum and oil. Jack gets Toby to open the oil barrels while he takes the rum and pours some into the soldiers' tea mugs and the rest into the boiler of tea.
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He makes it back to the store house just as the soldiers return with their horses. The soldiers drink the tea and line up for several cupfuls from the cook, who eventually tastes the brew for himself, all getting drunk on the rum Jack had put into it. As they boisterously continue drinking the tea, Jack sends Toby to collect Silly Billy while he heads for the guardhouse to get the keys to Big George's cell.
With all three convicts back in the storehouse, Jack begins to pour some of the oil on the ground while Toby and Billy take the key and unlock the punishment cell.
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