Based on real life events that occurred in 1931, Rabbit-Proof Fence is the story of three mixed-race Aboriginal children who are forcibly abducted from their mothers by the Western Australian government. Molly (aged fourteen), her sister Daisy (aged eight), and their cousin Gracie (aged ten) are taken from their homes at Jigalong, situated in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, at the orders of the Protector of Aborigines, A.O. Neville, and sent to an institution at Moore River to be educated and trained as domestic servants. After a few days, Molly leads the other two girls in an escape. What ensues is an epic journey that tests the girls' will to survive and their hope of finding the rabbit-proof fence to guide them home.
Although they are pursued by the institution's Aboriginal tracker and the police, Molly knows enough about bush craft to help them hide their tracks. They head east in search of the world's longest fence - built to keep rabbits out - because Molly knows that this will lead them back to Jigalong. Over the course of nine weeks, the girls walk almost 2,400 kilometres before Gracie is captured attempting to catch a train. Molly and Daisy avoid capture but eventually collapse from exhaustion on the saltpans not far from Jigalong. When they wake, they see the spirit bird, an eagle, flying overhead. Its significance gives the girls the extra energy they need and they are able to make it back to their home.
'Throughout her stage and screen career, the actor Ningali Lawford-Wolf used the English she only began learning in earnest at about age 11 for diplomatic reasoning. She spoke three Indigenous languages too. Born circa 1967 in the large remote Aboriginal community of Wangkatjungka, 100 kilometres south-east of Fitzroy Crossing in the Western Australian Kimberley region, Lawford-Wolf would go on to appear in films such as Phillip Noyce’s Rabbit-Proof Fence, released in 2002, playing Maude, the mother of two of three little girls stolen from their families, based on a true story that chimed with her own: her father, who worked on a cattle farm, had forcibly been removed from his parents too.' (Introduction)
'According to the NSW K–10 English Syllabus, all students should engage with ‘texts that give insight into Aboriginal experiences in Australia’. Along with the inclusion of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cross Curriculum Priority, this suggests that texts in English should develop deep understanding of Aboriginal cultures, experiences and perspectives. This project uses critical discourse analysis followed by content analysis, adapted from Lowe and Yunkaporta’s (2013) Cultural Analysis Matrix, to analyse representations of Aboriginal experiences and perspectives in six commonly used classroom texts to ascertain the nature and depth of the Aboriginal voices, experiences and perspectives within each text. This paper argues that texts which include Aboriginal characters and experiences through non-Aboriginal perspectives remain at risk of tokenism and/or shallow inclusion. However, texts which embody and value Aboriginal ways of knowing, doing and being demonstrate a capacity for more nuanced and genuine insights into Aboriginal experiences in Australia.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
'Sydney, Australia — Daisy Kadibil, an Aboriginal Australian, was about 8 years old and living in the vast, sparsely populated Outback in the early 1930s when her country’s government forcibly separated her from her parents and sent her to a resettlement camp hundreds of miles away.' (Introduction)