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Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence [Paperback]

Doris Garimara Pilkington
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.95
Price: 11.91 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

19 Sep 2002
This is an extraordinary story of courage and faith. It is based on the actual experiences of three girls who fled from the repressive life of Moore River Native Settlement, following along the rabbit-proof fence back to their homelands. Assimilationist policy deemed these girls were taken from their kin and their land in order to be made white. Never having seen the ocean before, the three girls' experience of transportation by boat to the settlement was tormenting. But their torment was just beginning. Settlement life was unbearable with its chains and padlocks, barred windows, hard cold beds and horrible food. Solitary confinement was doled out as regular punishment. They were not even allowed to speak their language. Of all the journeys made since white people set foot on Australian soil, the 1931 journey made by these girls born of Aboriginal mothers and white fathers speaks something to us all.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: University of Queensland; Film tie-in edition edition (19 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0702233552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0702233555
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
97 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The longest walk 22 Mar 2004
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME
It's an insult to Doris Pilkington and to the children's endeavour alike to race through this book. Still, circumstances dictated [the film was waiting] and the deed was done. Which merely led to a re-read. This real-life story of three young girls escaping from the looming slavery of a Christian mission to return home is another entry on the balance sheet of imperialism. With immense forces arrayed against them, the three evaded all pursuit, even expert Aborigine trackers, to cross half a continent to rejoin their families. The distance covered was likely the longest walk in Australian history.
The roots of this story lie in the opening chapters which recount the actions of European visitors and settlers against the indigenous Australian population. Women were raped, murdered or abandoned. Men were killed, imprisoned, led into slavery as they watched their traditional lands overrun by cattle, sheep or grain. The ease with which firearms overcame spears added to the European's attitude of "superiority". By the time of Molly Craig's capture, killing had been mostly abandoned in favour of "assimilation" - a mild word for indentured servitude. Molly, recognised the fallacy of being forced into an unwanted life. She took steps to avoid this fate - many steps, as it turned out. Enough to hide from pursuers, do some elusive backtracking and arrive at home. At least 1800 km of mostly barefoot walking.
There were adventures enough along the way, and some ironies. Although alerted to their escape, the wives of white selectors fed, clothed and sheltered them briefly. Then dobbed them in to the police after the trio had again gone bush. The girls lived on donated food, captured rabbits, birds' eggs or whatever else the bush provided. Each contributed as best they could. It was enough.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rabbit-Proof Fence 29 July 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
'Rabbit-Proof Fence' is the short, but completely captivating story of three girls escape from a half-caste aboriginal centre and their epic, long walk home back to their families. This book is simply written, but extremely evocative and can easily be read in a couple of hours. But, for those hours, you will live and breathe the lives of these tenacious and brave girls completely. Written by the daughter of one of the girls (Molly) and pieced together from recollections and telegram records, this book charts what the human spirit is capable of and what bravery was shown by the girls to get back to their homes. A simple story, beautifully told and one to leave you awe inspired and full of respect. A solid four stars.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars compelling true story 21 Jun 2003
a compelling and emotional book this will make you appreciate the vast distances these girls travelled to return to their homeland and the way they were treated to make them decide to walk the long way home.Racism and aboriginal rights do not even come into this,just pure determination to return to their family.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars RUN, GIRLS, RUN... 10 Aug 2009
I first saw the Miramax movie starring Kenneth Branagh, which was based upon this book. I was intrigued enough by the film to read this book. I was not disappointed. This book is certainly a testament to the human spirit. It also reveals the harsh, paternalistic and racist policies that the Australian government imposed upon its Aboriginal population.

In 1931, the Australian government issued an edict that mandated that all Aboriginal and part Aboriginal children were to be forcibly removed from their homes and taken to special settlements where they were to be assimilated. There, while living in inhumane and degrading conditions, they would be taught to be culturally white, would be mandated to speak English only, and would be trained to be domestic help or laborers in white households.

The author tells the reader the story of three young girls, Mollie, Gracie, and Daisy, who had Aboriginal mothers and White fathers. Ranging in age from nine to fifteen years old, the three girls were forcibly removed from their loving families and taken to a special settlement. The girls rebelled against this system, and, homesick, escaped from such a settlement. They left with iterally just the clothes on their back. Their only guide home would be a rabbit-proof fence that stretched for over a thousand miles across Australia.

The girls Aboriginal heritage and survival skills would come in handy throughout their nearly nine week long trek across Australia, as they were forced to subsist on the land and the occasional kindness from strangers. They had to endure thirst, hunger, and danger, while avoiding being caught along the way by professional trackers, police on the lookout for them, and white settlers that were unsympathetic to their situation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rabbit-proof Fence 9 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read this story twice. It is a fascinating story and quite an acheived on the distance they cover in hostle conditions. And leaves you shaking your head at some of the dump decisions goverments can come up with. I highly recommend this book
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rabbit-proof Fence 18 July 2010
A moving story that gives the reader an insight of the social thinking of the time and the effect this had on people, especially the Aborigine population. It has to be read to appreciate the enormity of the journey undertaken by the children out of dire necessity to return to their family and roots. It will make the reader think and question but the outcome is uplifting. There is a DVD that can be purchased. I have not viewed this, but intend to buy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A really interesting and eye opening book. Well worth a read.
Published 5 days ago by J
5.0 out of 5 stars loved the book and the
very interesting story....loved the book and the film
Published 8 days ago by maggie
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointed - after watching the film
Very disappointed - after watching the film! Very quick read - there must have been more to tell than this!
Published 18 days ago by ruth
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
never got it to see you did not send to my kindel
phone on 01228 493199
Published 1 month ago by judy
4.0 out of 5 stars DVD
It was a good delivery time and good quality. Thank you. I have been very lucky so far with all purchases.
Published 2 months ago by Ms J P Osborne
5.0 out of 5 stars an enthralling read
Having lived in Aussie I have to take my hat off to the girls resilience under dreadful circumstances. How shameful the aborigines were
Published 3 months ago by rita
3.0 out of 5 stars Simple read.
Good condition and delivery was fast. As it is a 1000 Headwords edition it basically just provides a very simple treatment of a moving personal tale of struggle and determination.
Published 3 months ago by jj isobel
5.0 out of 5 stars Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence
I read it as a follow-up to seeing the film. There is much more background and historical information in the book than in the film about the tragedy of the stolen generation. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Tina McGeorge
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Resource
Used to plans literacy lessons for my class. An amazing true story that is so incredible it is hard to comprehend. Read more
Published 4 months ago by JLS 62
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Enjoyed book but shame in wasn't a good as the film but then that was first for me as book normally better then film
Published 5 months ago by Amazon West ham
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