Autumn Outings – Hanging Rock, Macedon Ranges

About 70km NW from Melbourne in Central Victoria, not far from Mount Macedon (a former Volcano) is Hanging Rock, a 105m goliath and distinct rock formation. Hanging Rock is a mamelon, created approx 6.25 million years ago by stiff magma pouring from a vent and congealing in place.

Hanging Rock contains numerous distinctive rock formations, including the “Hanging Rock” itself (a boulder suspended between other boulders), the Colonnade, the Eagle, the Flying Saucer, Stonehenge and Morgan’s Blood Waterfall, amongst numerous others. The highest point on Hanging Rock is 718 metres above sea level and 105 metres above the plain below. It is quite steep and access is via a Ramp or stairs.

Of course Hanging Rock is famous for other reasons, mainly the iconic movie made by Peter Weir in 1975 – Picnic at Hanging Rock (Original novel written by Joan Lindsay in 1967). The plot focuses on a group of students from a girls college in 1900 who inexplicably vanish at Hanging Rock while on a Valentine’s Day picnic. It also explores the outlying effects the disappearances have on the school and local community. The book is entirely fiction, but written as though it is a true story, corroborated by ambiguous historical references. It quickly reached Urban Legend Status, with so many different theories on what actually happened to the girls, from being murdered, to UFOs and Time Warps. The plots, the intrigue, all shot beautifully with a haunting soundtrack. A must see if you never have. Considered groundbreaking for it’s time for the Australian Film Industry and the book is still considered one of the most important and classic novels of Australian literature.

I visited here in my youth and I seriously do not remember so many trees, it is quite difficult to actually see the rock formations until you are quite close. I also don’t remember ever seeing so many tourists. Way back when, I went with a few friends and I don’t think there was very many other people. If you stood still and quiet, you could hear cicadas and the wind move eerily through the trees and sigh as it moved through the rocks. All I heard on this trip with parents yelling and children laughing (or screaming).

There is a racetrack (for horses)and expansive picnic and sporting grounds, as well as a cafe and tourist centre, none of which were here my last trip 30 plus years ago. They also use this as a outdoor concert venue, but for the life of me (after visiting) I can’t think why? I guess this can be crossed off my Bucket List, as quite frankly I think I preferred You Yangs from a photographic point of view (I also didn’t have to work so hard to get to the rocks, call me lazy!), but Moth had never been.

Excerpts from the movie and the trailer can be seen on Youtube.

~ Julz