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Rabbit-proof fence

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

The true story of three aboriginal girls, Molly (Everlyn Sampi), Daisy (Tianna Sansbury) and Gracie (Laura Mongahan), who are forcibly taken from their outback families in 1931 to be trained as domestic servants as part of an official Western Australian government policy. They escape and embark on an epic 1,500 mile (2,500 km) journey to get back home, with the authorities chasing them all the way.

Theatrical propaganda posters

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Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film Australia biography stolen generation Western Australia drama true outback fence tracker runaway mission

Persons of interest

  • Everlyn Sampi .... Molly
  • Tianna Sansbury .... Daisy
  • Laura Mongahan .... Gracie
  • Kenneth Branagh .... Mr Neville
  • David Gulpilil .... Moodoo
  • Ningali Lawford .... Molly's Mother
  • Myarn Lawford .... Molly's Grandma
  • Deborah Mailman .... Mavis
  • Jason Clarke .... Constable Riggs
  • Roy Billing .... Inspector Sellinger
  • Anthony Hayes .... Reg
  • Garry McDonald .... Mr Neal
  • Celine O'Leary .... Miss Jessop
  • Kate Roberts .... Matron
  • Reggie Wanganeen .... Tommy Grant
  • Don Barker .... Mr Evans
  • Carmel Johnson .... Mrs Evans
  • Heath Bergerson .... the Wiluna liar
  • Sheryl Carter .... Gracie's Mother
  • Doris Pilkington .... Author
  • Christine Olsen .... Screenwriter
  • Phillip Noyce .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Little Johnny Howard, come on down.

If you want to convince one of your redneck friends that they are wrong to refuse to say "sorry" because they didn't actually do anything bad themselves, or even to argue about the term "stolen generations" because an entire generation was not stolen, then take them along to see Rabbit-Proof Fence and half your work will be done for you. Anyone who does not recognise the injustice done to the first people of Australia does not deserve to breathe Australian air. Put them on a leaky boat and smuggle them up to Indonesia.

Everlyn's performance as the indomitable Molly is brilliant: she is everything that a girl needs to be to escape the clutches of the "protectors". Likewise the mothers and grandmother: their pain will break your heart. Ken's performance is drably, dully bureaucratic, so much so that you sometimes wonder if he's acting at all. Hmmm...

The biggest performer in Rabbit-proof fence is the Western Australian outback: it's hard, it's harsh, it's hot, it's horrible. It makes the girls' journey a feat beyond imagining, the government's determination to put them back in the "school" so much more atrocious, and Molly's courage all the more remarkable. You'll need a cool drink on hand when you watch this film.

Rabbit-proof fence should be put onto the syllabus of every school in Australia.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Disc: Single side, single layer
  • Features:
    • Biographies: Cast and crew
    • Documentary
    • Commentary: Phillip Noyce, Christine Olsen, Doris Pilkington Garimara, Kenneth Branagh, Peter Gabriel
    • DVD-ROM
    • Interviews
    • Press Articles
    • Study Guide
    • Trailers: Emotive, Chase
  • Languages: English
  • Picture: Widescreen 2.35:1, Fullscreen 4:3
  • Subtitles: English

Security censorship classification

PG (Adult themes)

Surveillance time

84 minutes (1:24 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 14 February 2002
DVD rental: 4 September 2002
VHS rental: 4 September 2002
DVD retail: 4 December 2002
VHS retail: 4 December 2002

Cinema surveillance images

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History of Australia's No. 1 Rabbit-proof fence
Of all the plagues introduced into Australia the rabbit was by far the most devastating and destructive.

Following a royal commission held in 1901, the Australian government decided to build a barrier fence from a point on the south coast through to a location on the north coast. This fence came to be known as the No. 1 Rabbit-proof fence.

When it was completed in 1907 the Rabbit-proof fence was the longest unbroken line of fence in the world. The fence was built in an endeavour to stem the rabbit hordes eating their way west across Australia from the other side of the continent.

Depots located at Burracoppin, Dromedary Hills and Jigalong were used for administration and as a place where the patrolmen maintaining the fence could pick up stores, take time off and spell their camels.

The fence acted as a barrier against rabbits for nearly half a century. Today long sections of the original fence are still maintained as a barrier against wild animals, particularly the emu.

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Where are they now?

Gracie

Gracie was transported back to Moore River settlement after her capture. Later she was sent out as domestic help on farms in Australia's wheatbelt, and to institutions in the city. She married and had six children and died in 1983.

Daisy

Daisy moved to the Jimalbar goldfields then to a camp along the rabbit-proof fence south of Jigalong. she married and had four children. Later she lived and worked on a mission. Daisy now lives with her family at Jigalong.

Molly

Molly was trained and employed as domestic help on Balfour Downes station where she met and married Toby Kelly, a stockman. She had two daughters, Doris and Annabelle.

In 1940, Molly was again transported to Moore River, and was denied permission to return to Balfour Downs. In January 1942 she escaped a second time, leaving Doris behind, but taking heR 18-month-old daughter on the same route she had taken nine years earlier. Three years later, Annabelle was taken from her and Molly never saw her again.

Molly and Toby worked in stations until their retirement 1972. Molly now lives quietly at Jigalong, where she is actively involved in community affairs.

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