Rabbit-proof Fence - Australian Film

Wed Nov 13, 2002 8:05 am

If this film is on at your local cinema, make an effort to go and see it.

I've just watched it at my local cinema, and enjoyed it.

Deals with official Australian government policy towards "half-caste" (aboriginal half-caste) children from 1930s to 1970. The policy was to snatch these children from their families in the bush (to "save them from themselves"), and relocate them to camps where they were to be tutored in the teachings of western civility. Some of these children would then be adopted by (white) foster parents. They never saw their real families again.

The film is based on a true story of 3 sisters who were taken from their mother at a young age. They manage to escape from their centre, and make their long way home across the expansive Australian desert plains. Quite emotional.

I won't reveal the end. But the landscape footage alone is worth going to see.

I don't know the extent to which this film purports to be an accurate portrayal of what went on in Australia at the time, but accurate or not, it's still worth a look.

As it is not a hollywood genre of film, you might have trouble finding a place where it might be sreened.

Review :,4061,790983,00.html

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RE: Rabbit-proof Fence - Australian Film

Wed Nov 13, 2002 8:25 am

The movie is probably 99% acccurate. I went to the premiere of the film in Sydney with the Director - Phillip Noyce. It is based on a true story and is generally considered to be an accurate depcition of the way in which the government 'protected' indigenous Australians.

Fighting for the glory of the Australian Republic.

RE: Rabbit-proof Fence - Australian Film

Wed Nov 13, 2002 8:32 am

Hi Qantas

I have some background information here,4120,818516,00.html

Apparently, it initially caused a bit of a huff & puff in Australia, which doesn't surprise me at all.

I'm heading down there this Xmas to see family, will be interested to talk about it with them.

I too saw Mr. Noyce at the London Film Festival the other day. Some very good films out at the moment, this was one of them.


RE: Rabbit-proof Fence - Australian Film

Wed Nov 13, 2002 9:48 am

I have seen the movie twice at the cinemas and twice on DVD. I have also read the books written by Doris Pilkington and Nugi Garimara. It is a totally accurate account of what happened in this country in the creation of the Stolen Generation. It is also an accurate description of the living conditions of that time in Moore River (just north of Perth).

Kudos have to go to Noyce for bringing this fantastic book to the big screen, for is forces the nation to sit back and take in exactly what happened to the Aboriginal people in that day and age.

What I found particularly disturbing in that era is that the "Chief Protector of Aborigines", A.O. Neville (played by Kenneth Branaugh), believed that by breeding these half-caste Aborigines with "white" people, would eventually bring about a race of "white" Aboriginal people. Now whether Neville in fact did pursue this policy is not really known by me, but what is known, is that this was the general sentiment of the people in that time.

The government is Canberra is worried about this film being screened overseas, for it will bring this country "unwanted" (and as far as Howard is concerned "unwarranted") attention. And from what I have seen in terms of this movie in foreign press is exactly the type of attention which the government in this country did not want. And I say good, for the truth should be known.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if Howard and co. have seen the movie yet. One thing is known. They weren't at the premiere of the movie. As Noyce commented "Well, Little Johnny is away at the moment," Noyce laughed. "And also my mother said, 'If you invite that prick, I'm not coming.'"  Laugh out loud

I don't know if others who have seen it noticed the soundtrack for the film, but it is brilliant. From what I understand it was the creation of Peter Gabriel (yes, the "Sledgehammer" and Genesis Peter Gabriel).

If you have the chance get it on DVD, with the special features. Noyce actually scoured the country to find the 3 girls who played Molly, Daisy and Gracie. Total unknowns, who I think have performed great on the screen.

RE: Rabbit-proof Fence - Australian Film

Wed Nov 13, 2002 11:38 am

I don't beleive there was any "huff or puff" in Australia. If there was it must have been limited to only a few. Most of us acknowledge the aboriginals weren't treated very well in the past and we're not ashamed to have it known. After all, you can't learn from your mistakes if you don't acknowledge them.

With all due respect Scotty the Government has acknowledged the past issues with respect to the mistreatment of the aboriginals and Howard has issued a *personal* apology. Our country has nothing to hide with regards the treatment of aboriginals, we acknowledge the mistakes. They no longer remove aboriginal children from their parents for no reason and the right of aboriginals to live as they always have is now protected by law. Obviously there are ignorant white folk that disagree with this, but they're in the minority where I live.

Movies such as this are critical to ensure that the community acknowledges and remembers what has gone on in the past, but don't vilify the country because of what has occurred in the past, that is not the way to achieve reconciliation.

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RE: Rabbit-proof Fence - Australian Film

Wed Nov 13, 2002 12:54 pm

First step toward real reconciliation is a *government* apology. I can stand up and take the blame and feel sorry for what happened and it has about as much impact as when Howard does the same.

Parliament must stand up and apologise. Nothing more or less.

Fighting for the glory of the Australian Republic.

RE: Rabbit-proof Fence - Australian Film

Wed Nov 13, 2002 12:55 pm

You say that the government has acknowledged the past. Yeah, they have basically said this, "Yes, we know that it happened, but because we couldn't give a shit, we ain't saying sorry. What the f%@* do those blackies need an apology for anyway". That is exactly the type of attitude which comes from Canberra these days (which should be noted is also where Bron lives).

In the last few years there have been formal apologies made by just about every State parliament, church groups (including those who were involved in the "abduction" of children), and other groups, yet not by the Federal government. WHY? Has there been a rush to the courts by State Parliaments saying sorry? No, so why would a Federal apology be any different.

The Liberal Party is the most racist party I have seen in this country, and those who are in its membership should be ashamed of themselves.

The reconciliation process is one which is happening at grass-roots level in Australian society, and it is at this level that Government will be forced to do that the public want; the ALP has already said that their first item of business when re-elected into Federal office is to issue an apology (i.e. say sorry), but yet when presented with grass-roots level events Howard replies with "To be effective, the reconciliation process must involve and inspire all Australians." So I guess that over 200,000 people walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge on a cold Sunday morning in 2000 wasn't inspirational enough? Especially as there was a representative cross-section of Australian society present on that day.

But you are right Bron. Don't vilify the country because of what happened in the past. You are also right in saying that it won't bring reconciliation. What will bring reconciliation is a formal Federal Government apology; so feel free to vilify this country's Government for their refusal to reconcile the past.
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RE: Rabbit-proof Fence - Australian Film

Wed Nov 13, 2002 3:33 pm

hey all,

what a coincedence...just started watching the film in history, very controvericial.

i will come back with an opinion when weve finished watching it  Smile


RE: Rabbit-proof Fence - Australian Film

Wed Nov 13, 2002 6:38 pm


Please don't infer that the politicians live in Canberra because that's just not true. Indeed, you'll note meet a politician unless you get into Parliament House and over 50% of sitting time is done in Sydney. You do realise that Howard lives at Kiribilli House?

As for the rest of the discussion, i'm interested in continuing it but the first thing I need to do is understand why the apology from the Government is such an issue and why you think it will result in reconcilliation.

Also, please explain to me how the Liberal Party is racist, there appears to be a whole side to the Liberal party that I appear to be missing.


RE: Rabbit-proof Fence - Australian Film

Wed Nov 13, 2002 9:59 pm

Should have noticed this before (of course!) but Kenneth Branagh is, well....the same Kenneth Branagh in the latest Harry Potter film ("Chamber of Secrets")....totally different character altogether....he's good!

I want to add that I thought all those who acted in Rabbit-Proof Fence were absolutely brilliant..especially the three girls. Utterly amazing performance...where do they find these people?

You'll bet I'll be seeing it again.
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RE: Rabbit-proof Fence - Australian Film

Thu Nov 14, 2002 4:39 am

On March I visited Australia an I watched a very interesting documentary about the film on the QANTAS TV screen. I hope to see the film some day here in Spain.

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