#36 – Hike a trail in a national park (Picnic at Hanging Rock)

by Elizabeth on February 22, 2014 · 3 comments

in 101 in 1001, Australia

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Item #36 in my 101 Things in 1001 Days project: Hike a trail in a national park

Last November, instead of watching a bunch of terrified horses run around a track, Tim and I put our walking shoes on.  I had just finished re-reading that iconic Australian novel Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsey (is there an Aussie kid alive who didn’t study it at school?) and was so engrossed when I finished it that I followed it quickly with a viewing of the Peter Weir film.

If you don’t know (or don’t remember) the story, this trailer beautifully illustrates how deliciously creepy and cheesy it is.

Picnic at Hanging Rock is a 1975 Australian mystery film directed by Peter Weir, adapted from the novel of the same name.

It premiered at the Hindley Cinema Complex in Adelaide, South Australia on 8 August 1975. It became one of the first Australian films to reach an international audience, receiving international acclaim and commercial popularity, and thus has an important place in both cinematic and Australian history.

The film stars Helen Morse, Rachel Roberts and Vivean Gray.

St. Valentine’s Day, 1900. On a beautiful summer’s day a party of virginal Australian schoolgirls from an exclusive finishing school giddily prepare for an excursion to Hanging Rock, a magnificent natural monument drenched in a mysterious atmosphere.

The girls gain permission to explore the upper slopes of the rock. Edith takes a nap and wakes to discover that the other three girls have removed their shoes and stockings and have resumed their trek as if in a dream, disappearing into a passageway in the rock itself. What eerie events took place that day, and will those involved ever rid themselves of the demons that the ill fated picnic unearthed?

Based on the classic novel by Joan Lindsay, ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ is both sublimely spooky and majestically beautiful, boasting visually hypnotic photography by Oscar winner Russell Boyd, a haunting score by Bruce Smeaton and the timeless ethereal beauty of Anne Louise Lambert as Miranda, this classic helped revive the Australian film industry and established Director Peter Weir as a major international talent.

Despite our best pan-flute imitations we never found Miranda.  However, we did find a wild rabbit to pat and that was just as cool.

I was the happiest little photographer on earth exploring Hanging Rock.  The rock formations fascinated me, and every time we turned a corner we discovered a new breathtaking view or life growing happily in a crevice against all the odds.  I had to keep reminding myself to turn around because a single stack of rocks could look vastly different from the other side, so I guess that explains why the descent was every bit as good as the uphill walk.

We spent hours up there, and went off-road a lot of the time to get away from the crowds and spot wildlife.  We became pros at one-handed rock navigation and knowing when it was time to pass the camera back and forth.

I started this post with far too many photos, so believe it or not this is the edited list!  It’s still very photo heavy but I hope you guys will forgive me for that since I try not to do that too often.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Bailie @ The Hemborg Wife February 23, 2014 at 3:44 am

Ok so now I really really want to read the book and watch the movie as campy stuff is right up my alley! Also I was scrolling through admiring the pictures and then totally was like holy shit a kangaroo as being American it was very exciting even just in a picture!

Elizabeth February 23, 2014 at 10:25 am

Haha! Don’t worry, most Aussies have ‘holy shit a kangaroo’ moments too. I’m pretty sure those were my exact words that day.

You’ll have to tell me what you think of the book and movie. The final chapter was released after the author’s death and contains the ‘solution’ to the mystery… but I think it’s worth reading/seeing the story as intended before googling too much.

picnicathangingrocklocations April 15, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Beautiful photos, thanks so much for sharing.

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