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Doris (Nugi Garimara) Pilkington


Nugi Garimara AM (1937–2014) is Doris Pilkington’s Aboriginal name. She was born on Balfour Downs Station in the East Pilbara. As a toddler she was removed by authorities from her home at the station, along with her mother Molly Craig and baby sister Anna, and committed to Moore River Native Settlement. This was the same institution Molly had escaped from ten years previously, the account of which is told in Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence.

At eighteen, Nugi left the mission system as the first of its members to qualify for the Royal Perth Hospital’s nursing aide training program. Following marriage and a family, she studied journalism and worked in film and video production. Caprice: A Stockman’s Daughter, originally published in 1991, was her first book and won the 1990 David Unaipon Award. Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence was first published in 1996, and was released internationally in 2002 as the film Rabbit-Proof Fence, directed by Phillip Noyce. Nugi’s own story is told in Under the Wintamarra Tree (UQP, 2002).