INITIALLY a book, Picnic at Hanging Rock has been turned into multiple formats including TV shows and films.
Set in Australia, it gets its name from the natural geological formation – hanging rock – in Victoria.
State Library of Victoria Collections Joan Lindsay wrote several books throughout her life
The book was turned into a film in 1975, and is also being remade as a TV series, due for release this year, starring Natalie Dormer.
The book is set in 1900, and focuses on a group of students who go on a picnic, on Valentine ’s Day, with their teacher at Hanging Rock.
The girls, who attended a girls’ boarding school, mysteriously vanish while on their outing.
The remainder of the book details the fallout from their disappearance, including the effect on the local community, and it’s widely seen as a commentary on the Australian bush life and the Victorian population.
Alamy The book was turned into a film in 1975
Who wrote Picnic At Hanging Rock?
It was written by Joan Lindsay (1896-1984), who was an Australian novelist, playwright, essayist, and visual artist.
She was also the author of several unpublished plays, short stories and essays.
Lindsay married Sir Daryl Lindsay in 1922, and they remained married until his death in 1976.
Following her husband’s death, Lindsay spent a lot of her time involved with the local art community in Melbourne.
After her death from stomach cancer, her home was donated to the Australian National Trust as the couple had no children.
There is an estate named after her, and her home is now a museum of her and her husband’s artwork and effects, operated by the Lindsay Estate.
It’s considered one of Australia’s greatest novels
When was the book published?
It is regarded as one of the best Australian novels and despite it being fiction, it is written as if it were a true story.
The foreword of the book says: “Whether Picnic at Hanging Rock is fact or fiction, my readers must decide for themselves.
“As the fateful picnic took place in the year nineteen hundred, and all the characters who appear in this book are long since dead, it hardly seems important.”
The book was first published in 1967 in Australia, and was reprinted in 1975.
Lindsay says she wrote the book over two weeks at her home in Mulberry Hill.
She said she felt compelled to write the novel after having a number of dreams about it.
netflix It’s being remade as a TV show starring Natalie Dormer
Australian newspaper The Age reported: “The dream had centred on a summer picnic at a place called Hanging Rock, which Joan knew well from her childhood holidays.
“Joan told Rae [her housekeeper] that the dream had felt so real that when she awoke at 7.30am, she could still feel the hot summer breeze blowing through the gum trees and she could still hear the peals of laughter and conversation of the people she’d imagined, and their gaiety and lightness of spirit as they set out on their joyful picnic expedition.”
What else did author Joan Lindsay write?
Picnic at Hanging Rock is Lindsay’s most well-known and acclaimed book, but she has written others.
She published her first work in 1936 under the pseudonym, Serena Livingstone-Stanley, called Through Darkest Pondelayo.