Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence


Doris Pilkington

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According to Pilkington’s glossary, a marbu is a “sharp-toothed, flesh-eating evil spirit that has been around since the Dreamtime.” The Dreamtime is the creation period in Aboriginal myth. Different Aboriginal characters in Rabbit Proof Fence mistake unfamiliar things for Marbus: for instance, a half-caste man, a horse, and a mysterious figure that Molly, Gracie, and Daisy encounter in the bush during their escape from the Moore River Settlement are all thought, at various times, to be Marbus.
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Marbu Term Timeline in Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence

The timeline below shows where the term Marbu appears in Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: From the Deserts They Came
Racism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Loss, Dispossession, and Reclamation Theme Icon
Family, Culture, and Identity Theme Icon
...settlers. Some Mardus, making their way to Jigalong, encounter what they believe to be a “marbu”—a dangerous, flesh-eating spirit—but are surprised to discover it is just a man who is “neither... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Moore River Native Settlement, 1931
Loss, Dispossession, and Reclamation Theme Icon
Family, Culture, and Identity Theme Icon’s haunted by “little hairy men.” Molly whispers to her sisters that they are in “marbu country,” and that they can’t possibly stay. (full context)
Chapter 8: The Escape
Family, Culture, and Identity Theme Icon
...gone, the girls breathlessly whisper with one another, believing that they have just seen a marbu—a flesh-eating dark spirit. Pilkington writes that the only logical explanation for the phenomenon all three... (full context)
Family, Culture, and Identity Theme Icon the dunes. The girls snuggle together, and though Gracie has a nightmare that a marbu is attacking her, the girls eventually sleep soundly, tired from their journey. (full context)
Loss, Dispossession, and Reclamation Theme Icon
...settlement. She is afraid of dying in the wilderness, shaken by her dreams of the marbu. Molly refuses, telling Gracie that they’ll be gravely punished if they return, and the three... (full context)