Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence with Sarah Hyde

When you’re 60 days into a 70-day, 1500 kilometre hike in the desert, you feel bliss in the small things – the star in the middle of a sliced apple, the moment of the sun pierces over the horizon. With every kilometre, your inner joy and creativity emerges.

This was my experience following in the footsteps of Molly, Gracie and Daisy, whose stories were told in Doris Pilkington’s book, Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence

“I know it’s a long way to go but it’s easy. We’ll find the rabbit-proof fence and follow that all the way home”

In 1931, Molly (Doris’ mother), Gracie (Molly’s half-sister) and Daisy (cousin) just wanted to go home after being forcibly removed from their families and placed in government settlements. They were only 14, 11 and 8-years old, respectively.

Once they escaped, they trekked over 1600 kilometres along the rabbit-proof fence that crossed Western Australia from north to south.. This fence is a pest-management fence but “for the three runaways, the fence was a symbol of love, home and security”.

In 1941, Molly walked the fence again, this time with her daughter. Molly later said, “How else was I going to get home?”

To us, Molly, Gracie and Daisy are three Australian women who did something extraordinary but for them it was simple; they just wanted to get home.

Their story is impactful, filled with courage and strength and motivates women to act.

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COME LISTEN TO SARAH’S STORY IN PERSON!
THURSDAY 13 DEC, 6-9PM, MARRICKVILLE

Come listen to Sarah share stories like why she no longer calls Molly, Gracie and Daisy the ‘girls’ but the ‘Nannas’; the importance of involving women, the community and young people; her tips for walking 25km a day for 70 days…

  • FREE pizza + Capital Brewing Co. beers!

  • All profits go to People Outdoors, a wonderful charity who help people with physical or intellectual disabilities get into the wild.

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Walking in the Nannas footsteps…

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In 2016, I invited women to join me to follow in their footsteps and dive into this part of Australia’s history; to listen, learn and walk together into our tomorrow.

The walk is about celebrating the values the girls acted on; family, home and their Aboriginal culture that gave them the skills to be able to do this walk in 1931 as young girls. It is about life-long, meaningful connection and change.

The walk was culturally respectful. I received the blessing of the 8 Aboriginal countries that we walked through and we met with the Elders along the way. The Pilkington family also gave us their blessing to walk their Nannas story and they even walked with us on the first and last day.

We shared the story with over 2500 young people before the walk even started. Mrs Pilkington believes it is very important to share the story with the youth of Australia and so, with her family’s blessing, I did! The children acted out the story and spoke the language of the Nannas, Martu. They learnt some sign language that the Martu use when on country such as the signs for ‘emu’ and ‘kangaroo’. Some of the children shared their own Aboriginal language with their classmates!

Personally, walking in their footsteps, changed my life. I had always felt like I had something important to do and I think this is it. Palya! (goodbye/thank you)

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Follow Sarah, the Pilkington family and the Rabbit Proof Fence:

Instagram | @rabbitprooffencewalk and @hiking_roots