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Picnic at Hanging Rock

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,623 Ratings  ·  466 Reviews
It was a cloudless summer day in the year nineteen hundred.

Everyone at Appleyard College for Young Ladies agreed it was just right for a picnic at Hanging Rock. After lunch, a group of three of the girls climbed into the blaze of the afternoon sun, pressing on through the scrub into the shadows of Hanging Rock. Further, higher, till at last they disappeared.
They never ret
...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published July 2nd 1998 by Vintage (first published 1967)
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The Book Thief by Markus ZusakCloudstreet by Tim WintonTomorrow, When the War Began by John MarsdenA Town Like Alice by Nevil ShuteThe Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
Best Modern Australian Literature
8th out of 364 books — 472 voters
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCulloughTomorrow, When the War Began by John MarsdenA Town Like Alice by Nevil ShuteCloudstreet by Tim WintonPicnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
Best Books Set in Australia
5th out of 575 books — 380 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
ah! and there you are, my perfect little novel! it has been some time since last we've embraced. come, let us reacquaint ourselves.

but what is that you say, and so modestly? what is so perfect about you? my sweet darling, don't be so shy! you are indeed a wondrous creation.

here, let me count the ways...


1. your mystery is timeless. three schoolgirls and one schoolmistress disappear on Valentine's Day afternoon, in 1900, in australia, at the mysterious Hanging Rock. where did they go? did Nature
...more
Dem
Apr 27, 2014 Dem rated it really liked it
Recommended to Dem by: Diane S ☔
Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay is a sinister tale that had me at page one.

I really enjoyed this novel and set in Austrailia in 1900.

" It was a cloudless summer day in the year nineteen hundred, Everyone at Appleyard College for Young Ladies agreed it was just right for a picnic at hanging rock. After lunch, a group of threee girls climbed into the blaze of the afternoon sun , pressing on through the scrub into the shadows of hanging Rock. Further, higher, unitl at last they disappeared
...more
Diane S ☔
Mar 31, 2014 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
It is the atmosphere, the pervasive sense of dread and the wonderful descriptions that made this book for me, a special read. The school, the headmistress, the students all with hidden undercurrents of eeriness. What happened to those girls? An open ended ending, up to the reader's interpretation. Have never seen the movie but want to see it after reading the book. Wonder how closely adapted the movie is to the book? Very well done and mysterious read.
Sally Howes
PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK deserves its place as an Australian classic for the simple beauty of its prose and for its unique and extremely intriguing plot, but it must be said that in the end, it is an extremely frustrating story, even for those most skilled at reading between the lines. It has the feel of a very polished yet not quite finished manuscript, and once the chilling and compelling mystery of the disappearance of three boarding school girls and a governess at the Hanging Rock has been set ...more
Stuart
Aug 25, 2009 Stuart rated it it was amazing
It is very rare that you can say a book is "exquisite" but there is really no other words for this little gem by Joan Lindsay. Short and sweet, eerie and elegant all at once, this book is part romance, part comedy of manners, part horror story. Three schoolgirls and their teacher go missing during a picnic and the impact of the mystery reverberates throughout the small rural community they live in, negatively and positively changing the lives of a variety of characters from different social and ...more
Cheyenne Blue
Feb 10, 2014 Cheyenne Blue rated it it was amazing
Shelves: australian
My partner used to live near Hanging Rock. He came to Australia from Ireland as a teenager, and was immediately struck by the beauty and strangeness of the Australian Bush. He fell in love with it then, a love that never went away. He lived in Mt Macedon, a small community very close to Hanging Rock. He got his motorbike licence from the local policeman at Woodend ("Ride around the block and come back and tell me how you went." "Did you fall off? No? Good, then here's your licence.") and he live ...more
Cherie
Nov 17, 2014 Cherie rated it it was ok
I am sure enough has been said about this book and I do not have any earthshattering coments, except to the last ten pages. Wow! It was a complete surprise.

An ok story, written mostly from little evidence and a lot of imagination a loooong time ago.
I suppose if I were a writer in 1966 (or whenever she started) and was looking for something different to write about, I might pick this strange story to incorporate into a novel, like Joan Lindsay did. She did it her way. The writing is pretty dated
...more
Eleanor
This is my second re-read of this book and I admit I loved it even more than the first time. There's just something so magnetic and resonating that I think every subsequent foray into it will further stamp it into my mind that this is an Australian classic.

I feel the circumstances of the story - about a group of boarding girls and their governesses going on a picnic at the Hanging Rock and not all of them returning - is pretty much stamped into the Australian psyche, so I won't elaborate. What
...more
Nancy Oakes
Jan 15, 2009 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw this movie on IFC some time back & was sucked into the screen completely. When I realized there was a book, I bought a copy from a store called Aussie Books so that I could have a nice clean copy. I started this book one night and stayed up through the wee hours of the morning to finish it. It was most excellent! Definitely recommended but with the caution that if you don't like things left hanging, you're not going to enjoy this book. Me, I'm a firm believer that there are (even in th ...more
Jenna
Feb 17, 2013 Jenna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

3.5 stars.

Picnic at Hanging Rock is an iconic Australian story. The disappearance of three girls and one woman from a “civilised” picnic into the mysterious Hanging Rock plays on the worst fears of the landscape that are ingrained in the Australian psyche, which is why I think it has become such a classic. The tension between the European settlers and the harsh Australian bush depicted in the story is central to our cultural heritage. It’s an important story, so it makes me cringe to admit that
...more
Sarah
13/4 - I read this about seven years ago, long before I found GR or made an effort to write more than a line or two declaring "I liked this" or "I didn't like this". So, it's been sitting on my 'reread to review' shelf for ages, waiting for me to find the right motivation to read it again. I finally found it in this year's POPSUGAR challenge with their 'A Book that Takes Place in Your Hometown (Melbourne)' category. I was quite excited when I saw that category for two reasons. First because I kn ...more
Rusalka
Mar 07, 2015 Rusalka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rusalka by: Top Aussie Books Before You Die
When I was a kid, the movie of this book was standard midday movie material for so many years. I had absolutely no interest in this book at all. All I remember about the movie was my parents sometimes switching to it, sometimes me as there was nothing else on besides cricket, and me sticking out about 30 mins and getting thoroughly bored.

Girls in ridiculous dresses prancing around the bush complaining that it was hot and there were flies. Of course there was. It was the end of our ridiculously h
...more
_inbetween_
Jul 09, 2008 _inbetween_ rated it did not like it
Surprisingly superficial. Instead of "a sense of evil" and "inexplicable terror", Lindsay has all her bad characters be ugly (ie. big or fat) and all her pretty characters be good (ie. lovely, beautiful, elegant, slim). Not a mention goes by without Miranda's shining hair, Irma's lovely curls and stunning face or Madame's slim figure. I was hoping for irony, but Lindsay seriously stipulates that Irma's loving nature makes her deride unattractive(ly dressed) people, and it's completely okay that ...more
Orient
May 01, 2016 Orient rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: suspense fans
"Picnic at Hanging Rock" is a really mysterious and spooky story. It's presented as based on a true story that happened in 1900, but as I found out in the net, it's completely fiction.

Things are never fully explained and I could only guess the real causes and the real cruel or strange motives. As I finished reading it almost at night-it gave me shivers, because I didn't expect this book to create such a spooky and fearful atmosphere. The biggest horror is the mix of haziness and cruelty of peopl
...more
Sean Kennedy
Dec 25, 2014 Sean Kennedy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favourite books.

Four girls and one of their governesses climb Hanging Rock on St. Valentine's day. One returns immediately, scared out of her mind and with no memory of why she is in such a state. Another is found later, also with no memory of what happened to her during her time on the Rock. The other two girls and their teacher are never seen again.

One of Australia's most enduring, and fictional despite it being so ingrained our cultural memory it often is mistaken for being real, m
...more
Maggie
Jun 12, 2012 Maggie rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca McNutt
May 17, 2016 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing
Set in Australia in the year 1900, this odd and immersive mystery novel is a true classic that makes the reader question logic and wonder about the unexplained.
Terri
On Valentine's day 1900, young women from an Australian boarding school go on a picnic at the Hanging Rock. 3 Girls and a teacher disappear mysteriously. A week later, a young man finds one of the girls on a ledge with no memory of the events.

I had originally seen the movie based on this novel a few years ago and really enjoyed it. It was a great mystery with no resolution and a hint that maybe something otherworldy may have occurred.

The author says in the book that it doesn't matter whether it
...more
Justin Evans
Jun 23, 2016 Justin Evans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Just as Wuthering Heights, a work of social satire and horror, is often thought be a love story, so PaHR, often said to be a work of horror, is really a smart, light comedy in the vein of Midsummer Murders. I did not expect that. Obviously the film has had quite an effect, not only on my expectations, but also the expectations and experiences of other readers; from many GR reviews, you wouldn't know that the girls' disappearance is completed by page 47. What follows is a very mid-century British ...more
Oscar
‘Picnic en Hanging Rock’, de la australiana Joan Lindsay, publicada a finales de los sesenta, se ha convertido en una obra de culto. En ella, la escritora nos presenta una peculiar novela de misterio, aunque no se rige estrictamente por los parámetros al uso de dicho género, una novela que atrapa al lector desde su principio. Mediante una inteligente estructura y dosificación de la intriga, la historia nos presenta la extraña desaparición de tres alumnas y una profesora, pertenecientes al presti ...more
Joseph Fountain
Nov 24, 2015 Joseph Fountain rated it liked it
I was fairly excited about reading this – the synopsis from Goodreads intrigued me:

Everyone at Appleyard College for Young Ladies agreed it was just right for a picnic at Hanging Rock. After lunch, a group of three of the girls climbed into the blaze of the afternoon sun, pressing on through the scrub into the shadows of Hanging Rock. Further, higher, till at last they disappeared.

They never returned.

I’m a puzzle solver professionally, so I was ready for a good mystery. Lindsay created some marv
...more
Trelawn
Apr 27, 2016 Trelawn rated it really liked it
Shelves: challenge-2016
This was a solid four star read. The book centres around the mysterious disappearance of three students and a teacher while at a picnic at Hanging Rock. Joan Lindsay does a great job of building an atmosphere of panic and desperation as the weeks pass with no clue as to what happened at the Rock. Lindsay sets the narrative out as a true story with frequent asides to the reader and extracts from newspaper articles and police statements. What I didn't know before starting this was that my edition ...more
Ignacio Senao f
Aug 23, 2014 Ignacio Senao f rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


-Historia: 5. Una historia que la sinopsis e introducción te la resume perfectamente y ya no hay más. Es atractiva, pero es eso y punto (no quiero explicarme mucho por no spoilear) Pero el punto fuerte de esta novela no es esto. La primera parte se desarrolla la trama casi por completo, lo restante es ver como este suceso afecta al entorno.
-Narración: 10. Maravillosa, una lectura muy fluida, con una traducción que posiblemente la haga más grande si cave.
-Ambientación: 10. Creo que Tolkien se que
...more
Brenda
On the 14th of February, 1900, St Valentine’s Day, a group of young ladies, all students of Appleyard College in Victoria, not far from Bendigo, went on a picnic with two governesses and the driver of their cart. The picnic was to Hanging Rock, at the base of Mount Macedon, a dangerous place which they had been warned about; they were not to venture beyond the creek at the bottom of the Rock.

After a leisurely lunch and doze in the sunshine, three senior students, accompanied by a younger studen
...more
Daniel Taylor
I read this because it was one of the choices on the First Tuesday Book Club's "50 Australian Books You Must Read Before You Die". Even though I saw the movie when I was a boy, and later got to know one of the actors from the film, the book had never appealed to me and even though I plan to read anything on the Book Club list, I wasn't looking forward to this one.

It tells the tale of three schoolgirls and their mistress who go missing on a picnic at the haunting Hanging Rock. Only one girl retur
...more
Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance]
I had a weird little moment a couple of weeks ago. I was on the ferry from Townsville, heading towards Magnetic Island for the first time. When the boat picked up speed, there was a strange high-pitched whistling of wind through a metal fitting. The whistling and the wind whipping our faces made it impossible for any of the passengers to talk, so we were silent. Looking around at the sparse, rocky piece of coast ahead, distant islands blobbing the horizon, I was suddenly acutely aware of how far ...more
Rosemary
Jun 03, 2012 Rosemary rated it really liked it
I thought I knew the plot of this - three girls and a teacher disappear during a picnic at Hanging Rock in Victoria, Australia; one is found later with no memory of what happened; enigmatic ending - but in fact that's only half the story. There is a lot of drama that happens to the other characters after this event.

It's one of those terrible, doom-laden stories that you read with the same kind of fascination as watching a train crash, wondering how an author can bear to inflict such fates on hi
...more
Andrew Schirmer
Feb 14, 2013 Andrew Schirmer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aussie
Forget about literature in translation, why do Americans neglect the Australians? Similarities abound: geographical likeness (and isolation), a painful history regarding the treatment of its indigenous peoples, complicated questions of identity. One could go on! I had to order this from the UK, of all places.

Now to this perfect little novel. It is a master class in measured writing. The plot is ever so simple, with the major event happening near the beginning, the rest is all fallout. Lindsay g
...more
Adam
In a perfectly sane, settled world where all frontiers have been (or are being) conquered, a single outbreak of Mystery, of the inexplicable, will bring chaos and bewilderment to countless onlookers. Joan Linday's novel calls attention to the taboos, shadows, and other limits that hem in our weary daylight world of Enlightened Reason. Lives, she suggests, spent in denial of these things are sure to be crushed by bereavements occurring in a haunted landscape unmarked by human ken.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
The movie gave me the creeps, so I had to read the book. I could relate to this well because I graduated from a rather physically isolated women's college. Chilling and atmospheric!
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Joan Lindsay, Lady Lindsay was an Australian author, best known for her "ambiguous and intriguing" novel Picnic at Hanging Rock.
More about Joan Lindsay...

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“Everything begins and ends at exactly the right time and place.” 28 likes
“Although we are necessarily concerned, in a chronicle of events, with physical action by the light of day, history suggests that the human spirit wanders farthest in the silent hours between midnight and dawn. Those dark fruitful hours, seldom recorded, whose secret flowerings breed peace and war, loves and hates, the crowning or uncrowning of heads.” 8 likes
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