LITR 5831 World / Multicultural Literature

Film / Video Highlights

Joyce Strong

October 20, 2015

Rabbit Proof Fence


Directed by Phillip Noyce

Cast: Everlyn Sampi- Molly Craig, Tianna Sansburg- Daisy Craig Kadibill, Laura Monaghan- Gracie Fields, David Gulpilil- Moodoo, Jason Clarke- Constable Riggs, and Kenneth Branagh-  A.O.Neville

Set in 1931, Rabbit Proof Fence is an Australian drama that is based on the 2013 novel by Doris Pilkington. It tells the true story of three half-caste girls who were forcibly taken from their mothers due to a government policy. Sisters Molly and Daisy, and their cousin Gracie were removed from the town of Jigalong  by Constable Riggs as a result of an order signed by Chief Protector of Aborigines, A.O. Neville. Molly, Daisy, and Gracie were sent to Moore River Native Settlement. The settlement was used to house half-caste children and teach them the culture of the white race. The girls eventually escaped and spent three months trying to find their way back home following the rabbit proof fence.

Molly, Daisy, and Gracie and other aboriginal children sent to Moore River and similar institutions became known as the Stolen Generations. Aboriginal children throughout Australia were removed from their homes between 1905 and 1970 by the Australian Federal and State government agencies. They became disconnected from their families and culture. There were several reasons given for the removal and one was that the government wanted to eliminate the black race and assimilate the Aboriginal child in the European way of life.

Scene 1

Neville, the Chief Protector of the Aborigines explaining his reason for removing half-caste children from their homes

Is the title “Chief Protector” a contradiction?  Is Neville really protecting the Aborigines or is he actually protecting the idea of colonialism?

Scene 2

Molly, Daisy, and Gracie receiving new clothes after arriving at Moore River

What do the statements made by the nun to Molly and Gracie in this scene imply?

Scene 3

Moodoo bringing a runaway back from visiting her boyfriend

What do Moodoo represents as both a tracker for the settlement and a father to one of the girls?

Scene 4

Moodoo and Constable Riggs waiting for a sighting of Molly and Daisy

Moodoo seems sympathetic to Molly, Daisy, and Gracie. Do you think he could have caught them like the other girl?  Was their escape to freedom a reminder of what he wants for himself and his daughter?

Scene 5

Molly and Daisy reunited with their mother

What did the gathering and chanting of the women symbolized as Molly and Daisy made their way back home?


An example of a similar history in the United States is the Native American Boarding School. The boarding schools were established in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and remained opened until the 1970s. The objective was to educate and train Native American youths in the American way of life. They were forbidden to speak their native language and use their traditional names. Their hair was also cut upon arrival. Investigations of these boarding schools after their closure revealed mental, physical, and sexual abuse students experienced at the hands of teachers and administrators. The effects of attending Native American boarding schools are still felt in the 21st century.