RABBIT-PROOF Fence, the film that in the eyes of millions of children around Australia tells the true story of the Stolen Generations, is "grossly inaccurate" and should be withdrawn from schools.
Keith Windschuttle, a frontline warrior in the history wars, has questioned the veracity of the film - though not the book on which it was based - in the third volume of his series, The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, to be released next week, The Australian reports.
In Phillip Noyce's award-winning film, three young indigenous girls are snatched from their family's embrace on a remote settlement in Western Australia, forcibly removed by a racist government bent on "breeding out the colour". Based on a true story, the movie tells of Molly, Daisy and Gracie and their remarkable 2000km trek home following the rabbit fence. It remains the most vivid and poignant example yet of what has come to be known as the Stolen Generations.
The problem is, this big-screen version of their journey, which is now a staple of school curriculums across the country, does not include all the details of the original story. Windschuttle has researched the experiences of sisters Molly Craig, 14, Daisy Kadibill, 8, and their cousin Gracie Fields, 10, for his book.
According to the historian, Molly and Gracie were removed from their families on the Jigalong Depot more than 75 years ago because of their "sexual activity with white men working in the area".
The West Australian chief protector responsible for their removal, Auber Octavius Neville, had not been trying to "breed out the colour" by marrying off half-caste Aboriginal girls to whites as depicted in the film, Windschuttle said. His claim was born of a review of state archives, where he found a letter to A.O. Neville in December 1930 by a Mrs Chellow, from Murra Munda Station near Jigalong, in which Molly and Gracie were accused of "running wild with the whites".
"Running wild' was said to be a contemporary euphemism for promiscuity, which meant the girls were having sex with the white males in the area," Windschuttle writes in the preface of his new work.
He told The Australian yesterday: "They didn't say these girls were sc--ing boys, they said they were running wild . . . anyone from that era knows the meaning of the term. "That is the big lie of the film. Neville did not use child removal in order to breed out the race."
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