Rabbit-Proof Fence Essay Journey

Rabbit-Proof Fence Essay Journey-67
So she starts her story with the first encounters between Aboriginal people in Western Australia and sealers and whalers, as seen through the eyes of a warrior, Kundilla.

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For Molly, Doris’s mother, this was not the first time she had been to Moore River, and that first visit – and Molly’s subsequent journey home with her younger cousins Gracie and Daisy – will become the heart of is a book about connection to country and family.

The heart of the story is the extraordinary journey Molly, Gracie and Daisy take as they escape Moore River Settlement and make the long walk home across hundreds of kilometres of desert back to their families.

It is here that Molly is born to an Aboriginal mother, Maude, and a white father, a worker on the rabbit-proof fence.

And it is here that we see the first role the fence will play in this family story as it brings Pilkington’s grandparents together. It seeks to tame the land and keep out the introduced scourge of rabbits, but it also becomes a link between worlds.

Aboriginal people, particularly men, worked for pastoralists and Aboriginal women performed domestic duties in homesteads, ensuring that pastoralists could make their properties profitable.

As part of the exchange, Aboriginal people stayed on their traditional land and could carry out cultural activities.You understood the environment and how it could provide for your basic needs – food, tools, clothing, entertainment, medicine.You also had to understand your need for each other and to work together. And in this world of interdependence and reciprocity, you can’t think of the present without thinking of the past and the future. The story of how the Nyungar fared against the early colonists explains what is at stake for other Aboriginal people as Europeans expand their hold over the country.Depots like Jigalong were established as part of maintaining the fence. The government’s removal policy focuses on them because they are seen as easier to assimilate; as well, their own community at first are wary of them and the disruption they pose to traditional tribal and kinship systems.Superintendent Keely from Jigalong Depot wrote to the Department of Native Affairs in Perth, observing that Molly and some other children weren’t getting fair treatment because they were half-caste.The fence was built in 1907 to stop rabbits migrating into Western Australia from the east, but there ended up being more on the WA side of the fence than on the South Australian.It provides a graphic example of the failed attempts by Europeans to understand their new environment and brings home the fact that European impact could not be tempered. Half-castes become a distinct part of the community and represent the conundrum of being caught between two worlds.Pilkington shows that this is a people who had long adapted to everything around them to survive and would continue to show that same resilience in the face of huge changes.She shows a society in which there is evolution and adaptation as traditional people sought to keep their values and adapt to living between two cultures.That story, central to the film adaptation, is given a more complex and expansive treatment in the book.For Pilkington, the story of her own family cannot be told without the context of first contact and first settlement, of the erosion of physical security and the erosion of the way of life of Aboriginal people in other parts of the country.

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    To me, Follow the Rabbit-proof Fence is a book about connection to country and family. The heart of the story is the extraordinary journey Molly, Gracie and Daisy take as they escape Moore River Settlement and make the long walk home across hundreds of kilometres of desert back to their families.…

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