PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK

It’s 47 years since Joan Lindsay’s book, Picnic at Hanging Rock, was published. In a note from the author, Lindsay prefaces the story with: “Whether picnic at Hanging Rock is fact or fiction, my readers must decide for themselves.” Apparently, according to this text, she later altered the words to “whether fact or fiction, or both …”

It’s 40 years since Peter Wier’s film cast light across Lindsay’s words, and we have been suspended ever since.

It’s 3 months since a group of us went to Lyndal Jones’s Watford Cottage at Avoca for a 5 day event that had no pre-defined outcome. We left the house not really knowing what to think about what happened (so many things), but in the days that followed, a string of emails weaved a fabulation – a story about what happened, that both did, and did not occur.

Then, on Feb 14 (Valentines Day – the day the famed picnic took place) we regathered at the Hanging Rock itself – picking up on the wake of the Avoca fabulating and entering into another fabulation – so real, so unreal, but importantly so affecting. There was a screening of the film at the base of Hanging Rock that night. The experience of watching the film – of being immersed in that story – and then pulling out into the realisation that the Rock was right here, the stars were overhead and the affective environment of Hanging Rock was simultaneously present in multiple ways.  This simultaneity could well be drawn upon as a technique of amplification.