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Rabbit proof fence - Referat

By Doris Pilkington

The book „Rabbit proof fence“ which is written by Doris Pilkington deals with three half caste children who escape from Moore River Settlement, from where they walked more than 900 kilometres until they arrived their homes.

The story handles about Molly; the oldest girl of the three, who was maybe 14 years old at that time, Daisy; who was about eight years old and the youngest girl Gracie; who was only four years old.
The reason, why we don’t know the exact age of them, is because Aborigines don’t use numbers or calendars. They orientate their self with seasons or personal events.

In 1931 in Australia it is the official order of Mr. Neville, who was then the Chief Protector of the Aborigines, that all “half caste” Aborigine children must be taken away from their families and brought to the “Moor River Settlement”.
This was a big place, where the white people wanted to educate them and later want them to get married with a white person or becoming a domestic servant.
From then on, they could no longer live their aboriginal culture. The children suddenly had to wear clothes, visit school everyday, had to go into the church and they even couldn’t talk in their own language anymore, they had to speak in English.
From the first moment on, the girls felt totally unhappy there and missed their families.
Molly soon thought about a plan to escape from this place. She knew it was a long way home and all the others warned her not to try to escape from there because of the bad consequences they had to expect, if they got catched on their escape.
Nevertheless, nothing could stop Molly from her idea and she convinced the other two girls and they were soon on the way back home to Jigalong.
Their guide was the rabbit-proof fence. The fence was meant to keep the rabbits out of the farmlands of the country, but for them it served as a compass to find back to Jigalong.

It took them long time until they could reach the fence, and the two younger girls often wanted to give up and thought it was better to go back to the Moore River Settlement.
But then they kept on walking and walking. They lived from animals, which they killed, and sometimes they passed a farm where they were given something to eat and drink, and sometimes clothes too.
One day, they meet a hunter who tells them, that they were being followed by Mardu policeman, who should be a good tracker and who wants to bring them back.
They got often almost catched but somehow they could always hide from the bad white settlers.
Near the town of Meekatherra they reach a railway station, and Gracie goes to the people which were working there and asked about
her mother. A women told her, that her mom would then live in Wiluna and she could drive by train there with this women.
So she decided to separate from Daisy and Molly and she went with this women.

The other two girls kept on walking and when they reached Station 594, Molly’s aunts camp, they were so happy and they knew it wouldn’t take them much more time until they were back home. Her aunt was also very happy to see them, they stayed at her home for one night. The next morning Molly, Daisy, Ron (her oncle) and Joey walked the last 5 hours to Jigalong on a camel’s back. Finally they arrive back home.

Gracie was brought back to the Moore River Settlement and completed the education there.
Molly also was brought back there but could leave it 9 months later.

Daisy moved to a camp near Lake Naberu, what is in the south of Jigalong.
All three girls married somebody and became children.

In “Rabbit proof fence” I could learn a lot about the Aborigine’s history, but also about their culture and way how they live.
I really admire this three women who walked more than nine weeks long this way back to their home. It needs a lot of ambition to be able to something like this.
Somehow I found the film better than the book. Emotions were better marked in the film than in the book and I could more feel myself in the person than when I was reading the book.
What is normally the opposite.
For me, the beginning was very difficult to understand and I often had to use the dictionary for it.
All in all, I found it a good idea to watch this film and read the book, although for the next time I would find it better if we would only watch a film or only read a book.

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