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Rabbit-Proof Fence (1996)

de Doris Pilkington

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6282727,595 (3.39)59
The film Rabbit-Proof Fence is based on this true account of Doris Pilkington's mother Molly, who as a young girl led her two sisters on an extraordinary 1,600 kilometre walk home. Under Western Australia's invidious removal policy of the 1930s, the girls were taken from their Aboriginal families at Jigalong on the edge of the Little Sandy Desert, and transported halfway across the state to the Native Settlement at Moore River, north of Perth. Here Aboriginal children were instructed in the ways of white society and forbidden to speak their native tongue. The three girls - aged 8, 11 and 14 - managed to escape from the settlement's repressive conditions and brutal treatment. Barefoot, without provisions or maps, they set out to find the rabbit-proof fence, knowing it passed near their home in the north. Tracked by Native Police and search planes, they hid in terror, surviving on bush tucker, desperate to return to the world they knew.… (mais)
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Read 2019. ( )
  sasameyuki | Apr 28, 2021 |
Based on a true event, Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence is story of three young Aboriginal girls who, in the 1930s, cross the harsh Australian desert on foot to return to their home after being gathered up and being placed in a settlement school to be assimilated. The term “school” is used loosely here, these girls were basically being removed from their families and being trained to be servants to the whites. The Rabbit-Proof Fence is in actuality the State Barrier Fence of Western Australia built between 1901 and 1907 to keep rabbits and other agricultural pests out of Western Australian pastoral areas it is 3,256 km in length. As there were no major roads for the girls to follow, the fence became their guideline. The fact that these young girls, aged 14, 11 and 8 made it back to their families is astounding.

Unfortunately I found the book suffered from less than stellar writing. The author is actually the daughter of one of these young girls and it becomes very obvious that she isn’t a word-smith. The story is told in easy, step by step stages but there is no spark that allows the reader to feel part of the adventure. This was a jaw-dropping achievement and an amazing survival story and I would have loved to see it expressed in a more creative way. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Apr 27, 2021 |
This is the true story of three young Aboriginal girls who were taken from their families and put in a Native Settlement in Australia. The reason they were taken was because they were "half caste" (their fathers were white), and they were being forced to be "made white". They were 100s of miles away from their families, but they decided to escape. The knew there was a rabbit proof fence that would lead them back home, and if they found that, they would get back to their parents.



This book was very poorly written. It was unorganized and confusing and I had a very hard time getting into it. It took half of the 160 pages to even get to the story of the girls, and then it raced through their escape and return home. The book was so jumbled that I was sure it was written by a child. There is no plot development, no character development.....it was just a jumbled mess. The author switched back and forth between using Aboriginal words and English words, but never really takes the time to explain what the Aboriginal words meant. She wrote it as if all readers would know what she was talking about.



Just poor. Don't bother. ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
Beginning at the turn of the 20th century and continuing into the 1970's, the government of Australia determined that children of mixed race, usually with Aboriginal mothers and European fathers, would be better off removed from their mothers and raised in institutional homes where they would be trained for the vocations they were deemed worthy of--usually farmhands for the boys and domestic servants for the girls. Doris Pilkington's aunt and mother were among the children wrenched from their others in the 1930's. Unlike many of the children who were removed from their homes, they escaped, and tried to run away back to their home more than 1000 miles away. To navigate, they used the "rabbit proof fence," which is a fence stretching north to south across most of Australia, constructed to contain the rabbits which had been imported to Australia and had multiplied so successfully that they were a major threat to farmers.

Pilkington writes this book, taking a long view, beginning with the history of Australia. Although she had a close relationship with two of the protagonists, who told her their story, she writes of them very distantly. I never felt that I was close to them or their emotions, or experiencing what they were feeling, as I did with the movie. I think this is one of the rare cases where the movie is better than the book.

2 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Dec 18, 2017 |
The story is a heart-breaking one which keeps the reader riveted to the page. The writing is okay, but not stellar. Tis short and can be read in one sitting. I read the book on the bus from Alice Springs to Coober Pedy. ( )
  untraveller | Dec 13, 2016 |
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The film Rabbit-Proof Fence is based on this true account of Doris Pilkington's mother Molly, who as a young girl led her two sisters on an extraordinary 1,600 kilometre walk home. Under Western Australia's invidious removal policy of the 1930s, the girls were taken from their Aboriginal families at Jigalong on the edge of the Little Sandy Desert, and transported halfway across the state to the Native Settlement at Moore River, north of Perth. Here Aboriginal children were instructed in the ways of white society and forbidden to speak their native tongue. The three girls - aged 8, 11 and 14 - managed to escape from the settlement's repressive conditions and brutal treatment. Barefoot, without provisions or maps, they set out to find the rabbit-proof fence, knowing it passed near their home in the north. Tracked by Native Police and search planes, they hid in terror, surviving on bush tucker, desperate to return to the world they knew.

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