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Picnic at Hanging Rock

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  4,066 ratings  ·  334 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 retu
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 MarsdenThe Thorn Birds by Colleen McCulloughA Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
Best Modern Australian Literature
9th out of 319 books — 382 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 541 books — 290 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
Apr 27, 2014 Dem rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Diane S.
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
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
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
Nancy Oakes
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
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
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
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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
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
Nov 08, 2014 Rusalka rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Sean Kennedy
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
Ok, what to say about this book?
I should probably just mention quickly that it's actually 2.5 stars out of 5.

The Plot:
In 1900, a class of young women from an exclusive private boarding school- Appleyard's College- go on an excursion to Hanging Rock which is deep in the Australian bush. The excursion ends horribly when three girls and a teacher mysteriously vanish. Only one girl returns having lost any memory of what happened...

My thoughts:

Some words were hard to read and understand.
The College g
Ignacio Senao f

-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
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
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
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
Andrew Schirmer
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
‘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
3.5 Stars

I finally got my hands on a copy of "Picnic at Hanging Rock", which I meant to read for the longest time. I went in with rather high expectations...and I'm not quite sure if they were met. I was ready for an eerie and creepy atmosphere throughout the book, surrounding the disappearance of the three girls and their teacher. A spooky horror/mystery story. Not sure why I expected all that, probably all the tidbits I heard about the book and the movie (which I haven't seen yet).
Instead thi
As I grew up with Hanging Rock pretty much in my backyard, it's not surprising that I read this novel. I later saw the authorised theatrical production that explains what happened to the girls.
What I like most about the story is how accurately it portrays the life and times of 1900 Victoria (Australia) and the school system. The setting is accurate with many of the features described still there today. It is a thrilling read and will have you reading in to the early hours before you can put 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
Debbie Johansson
This is one of my favourite books; I've always loved the film and the mystery. The reader gets a wonderful sense of that period in history; including that of the differences in the class system. I enjoy Joan Lindsay's descriptions and her use of witness statements and newspaper articles as a way of telling the story.

The girls disappearance causes a large domino effect, altering people's lives and displaying their true natures. The college girls are more horrible to each other in the book than in
"Blue hydrangea, cold cash divine
Cashmere, cologne and white sunshine
Red racing cars, sunset and vine
The kids were young and pretty..."

This Lana song kept running through my mind as I read this book, as minus the red racing cars, the above verses pretty much sum up the themes and characters of the story. Riches, wealth, nature, young and beautiful children all come together to create one of the most spellbinding mysteries I've ever had the good fortune to read during a dreary Saturday afternoon.
Erik Kubik
Mystical, grisly story without a shred or outright declaration of murder or supernatural. The film adaptation was quite complimentary of the original story, but Ms. Lindsay's beautiful prose accentuates the brooding feeling of uneasiness as the fates of the students, the headmaster, and the school are intertwined in the horrible events which occurred on the Rock on St. Valentine's Day. This book has been an inspiration to my own writing.
It's hard to write about this book, since it's still inside my head, but I think it's such a book which will stay there for a long time.

I love how the writer spun this web of stories and then pulled it into a noose at the end. The use of narrator's voice that takes distance to the events at times carries the eerie athmosphere throught the novel.

Extremely interesting is also the depiction of time, the idyllic Victorian world that meets the harsh reality of a totally different environment than whe
This book is hauntingly beautiful. Perfect read for the month of October as its eerie mysterious flare is what makes the book amazing.
For those who don't know, Picnic at Hanging rock is an Australian work of fiction that is considered to be one of our biggest mysteries in which 3 young girls and a teacher go missing in the Victorian bush. What makes this books so mysterious is that it is still debated if this is a true story or not.

"Whether Picnic at Hanging Rock is fact of fiction, my readers
Belinda G
For someone who has actually HAD a picnic at Hanging Rock,this book is incrediby creepy. I think it would be incredibly creepy anyway... but even more so when you've been to the place.
I love the whole old time Random Capital Letters. It reminds me of my old books, how they will have a random Capital every so often. Who capitalises Australian Bush? The Australian part, obviously yes, but bush? It makes me happy!
I dont think this book would be as good for someone who isnt A) Australian or B) Victo
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picnic at hanging rock 6 20 Oct 29, 2014 02:55AM  
YA e dintorni: Picnic at Hanging Rock di Joan Lindsay: discussione 7 13 Sep 05, 2014 10:08AM  
YA e dintorni: Picnic at Hanging Rock (il film): discussione 3 8 Aug 24, 2014 02:02AM  
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Joan Lindsay, Lady Lindsay was an Australian author, best known for her "ambiguous and intriguing" novel Picnic at Hanging Rock.
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“Everything begins and ends at exactly the right time and place.” 20 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.” 4 likes
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