A young crackpot, homeless, unemployed and poverty-stricken, spends an afternoon and evening wandering about Melbourne, and finds a city whose history is catching up with it. In the streets and down the lanes he meets the people who the streets and lanes were named after - the explorers, soldiers, sailors, graziers, shopkeepers and publicans who built the city. He discusses his problems with them - his worries about his health, and his appearance, and an improbable love affair - and they offer him the benefit of their experience; but in almost every case their advice only makes things worse.
They are there, like ghosts of the past haunting the thoroughfares.
His mind and body are sick; he sees them everywhere.
They embody his thoughts. In their lives they acted out his concerns.
He must complete his journey around the city, following each street to its end.