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Screen cap from promotional trailer
form y separately published work icon Rabbit-Proof Fence single work   film/TV  
Adaptation of Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence Doris Pilkington Garimara , 1996 single work biography
Issue Details: First known date: 2002... 2002 Rabbit-Proof Fence
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

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.



Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Form: screenplay
    • Strawberry Hills, Inner Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales,: Currency Press , 2002 .
      image of person or book cover 8996602344211413881.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Alternative title: Rabbit-Proof Fence : The Screenplay
      Extent: ix, 87p., [8]p. of platesp.
      Description: illus., ports
      • 171 scenes
      ISBN: 086819655X

Works about this Work

Indigenous Art, Beyond Stereotypes Steve Dow , 2021 single work essay
— Appears in: Meanjin , Autumn vol. 80 no. 1 2021; Meanjin Online 2021;

'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)

Empathy, Emotion, and Environment in Alternative Australian Landscape Cinema: The Case of Rabbit-Proof Fence Alexa Weik von Mossner , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: Emotions: History, Society and Culture , vol. 3 no. 2 2019; (p. 245-265)
Aboriginal Perspectives in English Classroom Texts Jessica Scarcella , Cathie Burgess , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: English in Australia , vol. 54 no. 1 2019; (p. 20-29)

'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.

At the Movies: Contemporary Australian Indigenous Cultural Expressions – Transforming the Australian Story Lynn Griffin , Michelle Trudgett , Steven Griffin , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education , December vol. 47 no. 2 2018;
'Cinema is an art form widely recognised as an agent to change the social condition and alter traditional norms. Movies can be used to educate and transform society's collective conscience. Indigenous Australian artists utilise the power of artistic expression as a tool to initiate change in the attitudes and perceptions of the broader Australian society. Australia's story has predominately been told from the coloniser's viewpoint. This narrative is being rewritten through Indigenous artists utilising the power of cinema to create compelling stories with Indigenous control. This medium has come into prominence for Indigenous Australians to express our culture, ontology and politics. Movies such as Samson and Delilah, Bran Nue Dae, The Sapphires and Rabbit-Proof Fence for example, have highlighted the injustices of past policies, adding new dimensions to the Australian narrative. These three films are just a few of the Indigenous Australian produced films being used in the Australian National Curriculum.'
Daisy Kadibil, 95, Whose Australia Trek Inspired a Film, Dies Jacqueline Williams , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: The New York Times , 27 June 2018;

'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)

Untitled Alison Lawrence , 2003 single work review
— Appears in: Fiction Focus : New Titles for Teenagers , vol. 17 no. 1 2003; (p. 31-32)

— Review of Rabbit-Proof Fence Christine Olsen , 2002 single work film/TV
Untitled Tony Hughes-d'Aeth , 2003 single work review
— Appears in: JAS Review of Books , June no. 16 2003;

— Review of Rabbit-Proof Fence Christine Olsen , 2002 single work film/TV
Untitled Jonathan Dawson , 2003 single work review
— Appears in: Australasian Drama Studies , October no. 43 2003; (p. 179-183)

— Review of Dirty Deeds David Caesar , 2002 single work film/TV ; Rabbit-Proof Fence Christine Olsen , 2002 single work film/TV
A Heartfelt but Limited Work Richard Philips , 2002 single work review
— Appears in: World Socialist Web Site 1993-;

— Review of Rabbit-Proof Fence Christine Olsen , 2002 single work film/TV
CoverNotes Mike Shuttleworth , 2002 single work review
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 20 January 2002; (p. 11)

— Review of Eyes in the Dark Kim Dale , 2001 single work picture book ; Rabbit-Proof Fence Christine Olsen , 2002 single work film/TV
Out Takes Lynden Barber , 2002 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 15 November 2002; (p. 20)
'This Is a True Story' : Rabbit-Proof Fence, 'Mr Devil' and the Desire to Forget Tony Birch , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: Cultural Studies Review , May vol. 8 no. 1 2002; (p. 117-129)
Discusses the reception and historical background of the film.
Back Tracking Brian McFarlane , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin , vol. 62 no. 1 2003; (p. 59-68)
Examines some issues raised by the making of Australian films about Aboriginal people in historical settings by white filmmakers.
'Echoes Across the Flats' : Storytelling and Phillip Noyce's Rabbit Proof Fence (2002) Monique Rooney , 2002 single work essay
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 62 no. 3 2002; (p. 107-117)
The Battle Against Forgetting Sharon Verghis , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 11 April 2002; (p. 14)


2002 winner Film Critics Circle of Australia Best Screenplay - Adapted Best Screenplay - Adapated
2002 Nominated Australian Film Institute Awards Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Source
2001 winner New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Script Writing Award
2001 winner Queensland Premier's Literary Awards Best Film or Television Script
Last amended 14 Mar 2019 22:50:50
  • Moore River, Guilderton - Gingin area, Southwest Western Australia, Western Australia,
  • Moore River Native Settlement (1918-1951), Western Australia,
  • 1930s
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