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My friend and frequent contributor to this blog, Robert Horvat, took an interesting trip this weekend–with his family he went to Hanging Rock, the famous geological formation in Victoria, Australia which has a fascinating geologic, literary and cinematic history. Once known as “Mt. Diogenes,” Hanging Rock is the setting of Joan Lindsay’s fascinating 1967 mystery novel Picnic at Hanging Rock, which takes place in 1900 and features the story of a group of schoolgirls on an outing from their boarding school. Three of the girls and one teacher vanish mysteriously in the vicinity of the rock; one is later found, remembering nothing, and the deepening mystery causes a wave of despair and madness that ripples outward through the neighboring towns. Picnic at Hanging Rock was made into a hypnotic film in 1975 by Peter Weir, which I chose as one of my favorite “Twisted Time movies” and which I count as a major inspiration for my novel The Valley of Forever.

Incidentally, just two weekends ago I had a dinner party at my house where the guests watched and discussed Picnic at Hanging Rock. When Robert told me he was going to the real place, I thought it was a fascinating coincidence! I also decided to post his pictures on this blog. All photos are by him.

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If you’ve seen the movie, you would expect a girl in a white lace dress to come stumbling out of these rocks, dazed and hypnotized.

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This may be the cave-like notch where a key scene of the movie takes place.

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Modern graffiti with a philosophical message.
Here’s the trailer for the 1975 film Picnic at Hanging Rock.

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Searching for Miranda? Robert’s daughter contemplates the “mystery” of Hanging Rock.
All photos in this article are copyright (C) 2015 by Robert Horvat. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
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