Picnic at Hanging Rock is an Australian historical fiction novel by Joan Lindsay. The novel, set in 1900, is about a group of female students at an Australian girls’ boarding school who vanish at Hanging Rock while on a Valentine’s Day picnic, and the effects the disappearances have on the school and local community. The novel was first published in 1967 in Australia by Cheshire Publishing and was reprinted by Penguin in 1975. It is widely considered by critics to be one of the greatest Australian novels. In 2022, it was included on the “Big Jubilee Read” list of 70 books by Commonwealth authors, selected to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II.[1]

Picnic at Hanging Rock (novel) by Wikipedia

I remember watching Peter Weir’s The Picnic at Hanging Rock, well I definitely can recall the girls and the soundtrack, but what surprised me was how little of Joan Lindsay’s story the picnic actually takes up. It is a fascinating story that unravels as it goes on. Romy Ash touches on the dream-like element to the narrative.

Picnic at Hanging Rock was written quickly, after Lindsay had a particularly vivid dream, and it’s a dream state that permeates the narrative. The characters fall in and out of sleep, daydreaming in a way that suggests they may have woken up in a different reality. We see this just before the girls disappear.

On the Unpublished Ending of Picnic at Hanging Rock, and Other Mysteries by Romy Ash

I wonder if the story would have had the same impact if the final chapter with the girls travelling through a ‘hole in space’ had not been removed?

α”₯ “Stan Grant” in REVIEW: Australia Day (Stan Grant) – Read Write Respond ()