A Trail of Tears Downunder

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Travel at this site almost always refers to business or leisure travel. Many of the posts deal with the business of travel itself-- and arguments for enlarging its vision to encompass persons of various ages and capacities.

But for many, travel operates within an entirely different economy -- geographic dislocation, forced migration, wars & skirmishes.

It is with the latter economy in mind that I found the movie "The Rabbit-Proof Fence" so moving. I recommend the film for an artistically rendered and compelling dramatization of a true account from Australia's "Lost Generations."

From an especially good background feature at IO Film:

Rabbit-Proof Fence tells the story of "half-caste" children who were brought up in camps and homes, in an attempt to "advance" them into white society - as domestic servants and farm labourers. What made a misguided policy into a heart-breaking one was the element of compulsion. Thousands were forcibly removed from aboriginal mothers between 1900 and 1971.

The "stolen generations" had become the subject of fierce debate in Australia, but the expat director knew nothing of the controversy. The politics interested him, but what really fired his imagination was the story of three children who run away from a camp and attempt to walk home over 1,000 miles of inhospitable country - The Great Escape, with three cute little girls up against everything the state and nature can throw at them.

Rabbit-Proof Fence is the true story of Molly Craig, who, in 1931, at 14, was taken from her mother in Jigalong, a depot on one of the fences that were being constructed across the continent in an attempt to keep marauding rabbits from destroying the western farmlands. Along with her half-sister Daisy, 8, and cousin Gracie Fields, she was taken to the Moore River Native Settlement in Western Australia.

And a review also from IO Film by "The Wolf".

"Leaping The Fence Of Australia's Past" by Brian Pendreigh

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