Fortified against the facts

16/12/09

As the granddaughter of Molly Craig and the daughter of Doris Pilkington-Garimara, I am deeply offended by the comments made by Keith Windschuttle. White station owners and itinerant workers often took advantage of young Aboriginal girls, many of whom were raped. Their punishment? Taken from their loving parents and their homelands to an alien environment and brainwashed into believing their parents had abandoned them. A.O. Neville had the sole intention of attempting to “breed out” the Aboriginal race. I have read many Native Welfare files in my job as an information officer with a government department, and what I read broke my heart. Aboriginal women were described in the most derogatory terms by ignorant people who had no intention of learning about our culture and history. My mother worked tirelessly to gather the facts for her book, Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence, and Phillip Noyce and Christine Olsen did a fantastic job of bringing her story to life through the film. I feel sorry for Mr Windschuttle if he has to resort to distorting the truth to panhandle his latest book. Maria Pilkington, Mt Lawley, WA

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Windschuttle runs wild with our history
In support of Phil Noyce, there can be no doubt that Auber Neville’s policies were driven by his plan to ”breed out the colour” (”Director, historian at odds over film”, December 15).His scheme to ”save” Australia from America’s ”race problem” is set out at length in his 1947 book Australia’s Coloured Minority. It proposes that ”full bloods” be segregated from the rest, presumably to die out. ”Half and quarter caste” women were to marry partners of lighter colour, including British migrants in the case of the lightest. Neville’s book provides photographs illustrating the results of selective breeding. It is more than likely that Molly Craig and Gracie Fields would have been removed, sooner or later, under such a policy.Jeremy Beckett, Pyrmont
We are indebted to Keith Windschuttle for advising us that the children who were the subject of the film Rabbit-Proof Fence were removed from Jigalong because they were “running wild”. We are even more indebted to him for telling us that the term “running wild” had other connotations – possibly sleeping with white men.Through his research we are now aware that the office of the West Australian protector of Aborigines was also the office of the West Australian protector of pedophiles.Timothy Ashton, Darlinghurst
More Letters: http://www.smh.com.au/national/letters/nothing-swell-about-the-swill-when-dad-got-home-20091215-kuhn.html