Picnic at Hanging Rock

Aussie Author month, is really quite exciting! It made me go back and think of all the books I loved as a child and young adult. The sad thing about this, is most of the books I used to read, were by overseas authors – at the time, I just knew what I liked to read and never pushed my boundaries too much, or worried about where the authors came from.

In Year Eleven, I can remember studying Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay. I can remember reading long into the night, when our teacher handed out the books – it was the first time that my skin prickled with excitement and fear at the same time!

This cover, is from the book that I read and it shows the trepidation but thrill, on the girls faces as they climb to the summit of ‘the Rock’. 

When you think about the themes that run through out the novel – girl crushes, disliked and unloved girls, the disappearance, the supernatural mystery, the murder/suicide of Sara, it’s a wonder we were allowed to read it at school! It provoked much discussion.

I guess we were lucky to have the movie to see as well – I think that actually scared me more than the book. I watched the movie oodles of times – of the things that fascinated me about it, was it was filmed at Martindale Hall, just out of Clare, in SA (McLeod’s Daughters country) and about an hour and half from where I was brought up. I can remember the day I went to visit the hall – and, with the movie in mind, it’s a truly haunting place.

And the ending is just so scary – does anyone really have any idea what happened to the girls? Do we really want to know? What are your thoughts?

On another note, looking out my window this morning, just indicated to my, why we have so many wonderful writers in this country. How could you not be inspired by our view?

Comments 8

  1. I have thought about going to Hanging Rock loads of times as I live probably an hour or so away from it, but I haven’t made it yet!

    I think I am going to have to make an effort to go to Martindale Hall as well, next time I am in Adelaide, especially seeing as it was also the inspiration for the home in Monica McInerney’s last book!

    1. Marg, I was going to mention the link to Monica! I’m pleased you did. Fancy living so close to ‘the Rock’ its self! Wow, what beautiful country you must live near.

  2. We must be the same age, because we did the book and film at school as well – in the Riverina, NSW. I can clearly remember lying in bed and jumping when I read the bit about the grizzly end to the headmistress.

    I’m sitting on the couch looking across the top of the laptop on my knee now, and the view that fills the window is Hanging Rock. It’s a wonderful area and a very inspirational place to live.

    The Rock has beautiful grounds, great cafe, race track, tennis courts, cricket club, and the climb to the top is only about 20 minutes,but well worth it. No guard rails etc., so hang onto your kids.

    (The story is all made up)Walked into the cafe one day and Anne Lambert was there doing a “where are they now?” Was tempting to holler “Miranda! You were in the cafe all the time!” – but ordered lunch instead.

  3. In 1988, my Uncle Greg gave me my first taste of Australian Novels. And I have been addicted ever since. That introductory book was Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park. I have read it dozens and dozens of times, it looks quite tatty now!
    I too have read Picnic At Hanging Rock, but at my own leisure and loved the complexity of it. I wish it was on our year 11 book list, instead we had Lord of the Flies…… Not the most inspiring read I’ve ever had.
    Martindale Hall is a must see destination, it’s the absolute Grand Lady of the Clare Valley, my sister was even married there!

  4. With the view you’ve got there Fleur, I’m glad you’re the author … me? well I would be gazing into the distance and daydreaming!! Bring on “Purple Roads’!!!

  5. Pingback: Round-up of Aussie Author Month – Week 1 – Book Thingo

  6. Hi Fleur, this is one of my favourites too. I reluctantly studied it at school, but over time came to appreciate its vivid expression of the Australian landscape and what has become our own, home-grown mythology. During one visit to Hanging Rock a few years ago, I experienced a very fearful period of separation from my ten year-old son who was accompanying me on a walk to the top. It was quite primal, underpinned by familiarity with Joan Lindsay’s story, and over-rode any rational thinking or problem-solving upon which I may have normally drawn. We did reunite soon thereafter and I reflected on what was simple disorientation. I have no ongoing fear of the site, in fact, I feel quite comfortable whenever I visit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *