17 June 2010

Forgotten Book: THE SECRET OF HANGING ROCK, Joan Lindsay


This week's contribution to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books

We all know the title PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK  mainly because of the Peter Weir film made of it in 1975.

PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK tells the story of a school picnic that took place at the Hanging Rock on Valentine's Day 1900. Three girls and their teacher disappeared without trace. See more details about the film in particular on Wikipedia.


You may not know the title THE SECRET OF HANGING ROCK.  This is apparently the final chapter that should have been in the original book by Joan Lindsay (1896-1984) published in 1967.

THE SECRET OF HANGING ROCK was first published in Australia by Angus & Robertson Publishers on St. Valentine's Day in 1987 (after Joan Lindsay's death).  This publication has a chapter titled ‘Chapter Eighteen’ that is supposedly the original last chapter of ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’.  This was “removed” before the original novel was published and its “existence” was not widely known about until 1987.
I apparently read it at the end of 1987.

I have no real memory of the book but this makes interesting commentary:
The actual chapter ran to just twelve pages set in large type. By adding an introduction by John Taylor and a commentary by Yvonne Rousseau, the finished booklet stretched to 64 pages. Named The Secret of Hanging Rock , it sold for A$7.95 in a sealed envelope. more

Read more 

Trailer for the Peter Weir film

5 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, this is intriguing, Kerrie - I'm going to have to track this one down...

Heartbeatoz said...

I've got this somewhere in the Shed will have to search it out we are renovating hence books in Shed :)

pattinase (abbott) said...

One of my favorite movies. I'd like to find this one.

Anonymous said...

Interesting story, I have the ebook of both picnic at hanging rock and secret of hanging rock if u want to read it, its hard to track down, dagbro@hotmail.com

Hannes Minkema said...

You should not believe that this 'missing chapter' was actually written by Lindsay. No material evidence exists to warrant that idea. No manuscript, no typoscript, no annotations, no diary entry, no letters by Lindsay, no notary act transferring the rights to her publisher, no 'last will' in which Lindsay says she wants the 'missing chapter' to be published - nothing of the kind.

All we have is hearsay. Specially from her publisher, who made quite some money of the 'revelation' of this 'missing chapter', which was conveniently published three years after Lindsay's death, when she was not around to refute its authenticity.

Lindsay herself was a firm and vocal advocate of her book being conceived and written as open-ended. She loathed the idea of her mystery to have some kind of practical 'solution'. Such 'solution' directly undermines the literary and philosophical underpinning of this great Australian novel.

It is high time some Australian philologist conducted some research into the matter and revealed it as a sham.

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