I have long had a fascination with the book, the movie and the Mini Series, Picnic at Hanging Rock. In particular the 1975 iconic Australian movie by Peter Weir. Haunting, psychological thriller about a group of school girls who missing from a picnic at Hanging Rock in the 1900s. The novel was written in 1967 by Joan Lindsay. Many people thought it was a true account, but it was actually fictional. There were many conspiracy theories, as the towns mentioned existed, as does Hanging Rock (I’ve been there). But town halls, police stations and school buildings have been burnt or torn down.
Still the movie is incredible and so haunting. Then quite recently (2018) a TV Mini-series was made as well. It grabbed my attention and pulled me in again. I have been wanting to do something similar since then. Inspired by the story. Of course, like everything else it got put on hold, but that was in my favour, it allowed Nicola to enter my life, I didn’t know her before then. She made the perfect Miranda, the lead character. Beautiful and enigmatic. She leads the girls up the rocks in search of adventure, never to be seen again.
My other character is a mix of Irma and Marion and perhaps some of the other girls as well. I would love to have captured Sarah, but she never was at the Rock.
Costumes were one thing and did take a while to source. The next was location. Hanging Rock at Mount Macedon is only about one hour from home, but climbing is a physical impossibility for me. I tried a few years ago and gave up about half way. Too many steps and rocks to climb. The next problem was once up there, there really wasn’t enough room to manoeuvre well. I wanted something that had room, but the look and feel of the Rock. Hence we went to Big Rock.
Big Rock is near Little River, a few hours drive from home, in the You Yangs National Park. We met there in the morning and setup. There were actually several places in that one location which we shot, the rocks, the crevices, the picnic area and such, it was fantastic.
The weather held fair, mostly overcast and not too windy nor too cold, such a miracle! Shooting on location can be challenging, we had two additional dates lined up if this didn’t work out as planned.
We also shot at one other location, which was a hidden gem we found, just as we were leaving. It was brilliant. But I’ll save that for another post…