Sunday, 13 February 2011

Picnic - at hanging rock...

The five of us indulged in a picnic today. A huge steep hilly bush walk, followed by a restful picnic. It was bliss. The air and the sun and the sky and the smells. All wonderful.

It made me recollect and ponder.

The screenplay of Picnic at Hanging Rock, adapted from Joan Lindsay's novel, tells the story of the disappearance of three schoolgirls and their teacher during a picnic at a geological formation known as Hanging Rock, on Valentine's Day in 1900.



111 years ago.

Imagine. And the specualtion behind the story is still going, even today.

The reason for the girls disappearance is never discovered, but the implication of both book and film is that the mystery has a profound and lasting effect on everybody in their community.

It's human nature to repeat strange stories about identities and places we know.


(There is a laneway where I used to live that is known as Rippers lane. No crime was ever committed there at all, but it has a spooky vibe, and so I guess that's an example of how urban legends get imagined and amplified? The dots get connected, the gaps get filled in, regardless of truth?)


These stories are part of our human makeup, and we relish in the telling of such whispers to others, gaining a sense of satisfaction from relaying a tale, and sensing the awed reaction from others.


Picnic at Hanging Rock has now gained urban legend status, despite never being based upon truth. What could be more enticing when visiting an ancient structure, taking a picnic in the Australian bush, or even just on Valentine's day itself- weaving a yarn around the wild story of how the girls disappeared and were never found.

The story is only fiction, by all reckonings. Hanging Rock still suffers a reputation never the less. As far back as records can trace, there have been no verfied mysterious disappearances or horrifying happenings up on the rock. Ever.

Imagine. And the specualtion behind the story is still going, even today.

Which urban legends still fascinate you? Which mysteries or crimes do you still speculate upon? Share with me?


15 comments:

  1. www.giftsofserendipity.comFebruary 13, 2011

    Hi Lucy,

    What a terrific post.
    You sparked a memory from my childhood, I must have been about nine and was on a Brownie or Girl Guide camp to Hanging Rock.
    I hadn't seen the movie at the stage but recall it as being a less-than-pleasant weekend with low-lying clouds, fog and of course, lots of ghost stories told by the older girls after 'lights out'.

    I think one of the most evocative things about 'Hanging Rock' the movie was the music and of course the cliff-hanger ending, I'm so glad I hadn't seen it before I went on that camp!

    Felicity x

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  2. www.giftsofserendipity.comFebruary 13, 2011

    Hi Lucy,

    What a terrific post.
    You sparked a memory from my childhood, I must have been about nine and was on a Brownie or Girl Guide camp to Hanging Rock.
    I hadn't seen the movie at the stage but recall it as being a less-than-pleasant weekend with low-lying clouds, fog and of course, lots of ghost stories told by the older girls after 'lights out'.

    I think one of the most evocative things about 'Hanging Rock' the movie was the music and of course the cliff-hanger ending, I'm so glad I hadn't seen it before I went on that camp!

    Felicity x

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  3. I loved the book and movie of Picnic at Hanging Rock. I even wore a dress (I felt) was like the ones in the movie to my high school leavers dinner. I still have it!

    For me, the mystery of sorts I still dwell on is the Tasmanian Tiger. I so want to believe it is still out there deep in the thick Tasmanian wilderness. Perhaps it is!

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  4. Hanging Rock is not so far from us. Been there many times and it does have a feeling about it - but I think it's all just in our minds more so than anything! I love the book though - brilliant stuff.

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  5. I went to Braemar College, which is the school that was supposedly the one in the story. It's in Woodend, up on the mountain, and is a heritage-listed building. Regardless of whether or not the legend is true (and I agree with Caz - the Rock has a very eerie feeling!), the school has enough stories and legends of it's own!! It's apparently full of ghosts and things that go bump in the night. Right in the middle of the central building, there's a room that you can't get into...it has no doors but it has boarded-up windows. It is said that if you enter the school in the middle of the night, you can hear a baby crying in the room with no doors...all I know is, I had to go into the school one night to get some work I left behind, and I ran like the clappers!!!!

    Thanks for the shiver up my spine, Lucy - I'd forgotten how much I love Hanging Rock. Might organise a picnic sometime soon myself! xxx

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  6. Great post, Lucy. I loved that movie. I'm racking my brains trying to think of one - do you remember The Hook? That tale told about a couple smooching in Lover's Lane and they hear a thumping on the car roof? And the boyfriend gets out to investigate? Yeah, you know the rest.....

    It's not really an urban legend but the tale of the Marie Celeste always gave me the spooks. They say it never happened - the ship was never found with no crew aboard, but the myth prevails to this day.

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  7. Growing up I spent many a weekend at Hanging Rock, and as teenagers do, my friends and I would often try to scare each other as we climbed it by recalling the story. The one that fascinates me the most though is the aircraft and vessels that have supposedly disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle.
    Happy Valentine's Day lovely lady. xx

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  8. Life In A Pink FibroFebruary 14, 2011

    I've always found Picnic at Hanging Rock to be a dissatisfying book. I'm a person who Needs To Know - and it drives me nuts that you're left hanging (so to speak). I'm with DeerBaby - the MarieCeleste is my favourite!

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  9. Life In A Pink FibroFebruary 14, 2011

    I've always found Picnic at Hanging Rock to be a dissatisfying book. I'm a person who Needs To Know - and it drives me nuts that you're left hanging (so to speak). I'm with DeerBaby - the MarieCeleste is my favourite!

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  10. ShrinkingVegoFebruary 14, 2011

    I love urban legends. I especially love hearing how they came abut, what was the event or story that started it all. Don't have a favourite, just love them all...

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  11. Hello Lucy, I enjoyed your story at Ed Pilolla's. Thank you.

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  12. therhythmmethodFebruary 14, 2011

    One of the scariest films I saw as a kid was Fortress, based on the Faraday School kidnapping in the 70s. 2 men in rubber masks kidnap a teacher and groups of kids from an outback school with sawn off shotguns. Not quite picnic at hanging rock, but some mysteries/crimes just chill you to the bone, and this was the one for me.

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  13. For me the story of Jaws was enough for me to imagine everything shark shaped when my Mum turned off the lights.

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  14. When I was a teen there was a double homicide in our sleepy little town. The speculation was enough to keep people jumping for years. It's still unsolved, and I still wouldn't walk through 'that' part of of town alone at night! :\

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  15. Hey there, Lucy. A lovely recount on the impressions made on you and others by one of my favourite stories also. In fact, after a brief period of separation from my then ten-year-old son a few years ago it inspired me to write. The result was an extrapolation of the original story, while hopefully preserving the sense of mystery and mythology. www.mobiuspublishing.com.au

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I am a comment addict. Thank you so much for your words...xx