A Picnic at Hanging Rock, Australia
Hanging Rock is the name of a large geological formation which rises out of the plain roughly 70km north-west of Melbourne. In 1967 it provided the setting for what was to become a popular cult novel: Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock . I watched the film adaptation of Lindsay’s novel when I was 10 years old – and was mesmerised by the hypnotic visuals, the open-ended mystery of the young girls who went missing during a school trip to the rock. Earlier this year I had the chance to visit the rock for myself – seeking out this lonely promontory in central Victoria, to stage my very own picnic at Hanging Rock. There was a classic car show being held at Hanging Rock on the day we visited. I had travelled by car with a Canadian friend, herself a resident of Melbourne. As we sat in the queue for the car park, something large and grey bounded past between the stationary vehicles ahead. Anywhere else I would have guessed it was a greyhound, though it seemed far too large – too muscular – to be a dog. “Was that a... a kangaroo?” I asked, hesitantly. Nowadays Hanging Rock is surrounded by an enclosed recreation reserve, featuring picnic areas, forests and a racetrack encircled by a chain-link fence. We parked up on the grass, and made our way towards the looming rock formation. Walking through the rows of parked cars, past ambling enthusiasts and proud motor hobbyists, we seemed to be the only ones who'd come here for the rock itself. As ridiculous as it felt to a...