I am in the middle of Sydney Harbour, stuck on this place the masters call Cockatoo Island... I am here because I am an orphan, but I cannot help feeling like I have been sent here for doing something wrong. It is 1879 and life in the Biloela Industrial School is tough for eleven-year-old Olivia Markham. Her windswept days are filled with sewing, washing and avoiding the girls from the Reformatory School.
Sydney is rapidly growing and modernising, but Olivia can only imagine what life is like beyond the shores of Cockatoo Island. She dreams of freedom, friendship and, above all, family. Can she ever escape?