Hanging Rock, Victoria
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2012)|
A climber, bouldering a rockface on Hanging Rock
|Elevation||718 m (2,356 ft)AHD
(105 metres (344 ft) above plain)
|Listing||Register of the National Estate|
|Age of rock||6.25 million years|
|Easiest route||Walk, sealed and unsealed tracks|
Hanging Rock (formally known as Mount Diogenes), in central Victoria, Australia, is a distinctive geological formation, 718m above sea level (105m above plain level) on the plain between the two small townships of Newham and Hesket, approximately 70 km north-west of Melbourne and a few kilometres north of Mount Macedon, a former volcano. Best known as the site where a party of schoolgirls disappeared in February 1900 in the fictional story Picnic at Hanging Rock, Hanging Rock is located within the Wurundjeri nation's territory.
Hanging Rock is a mamelon, created 6.25 million years ago by stiff magma pouring from a vent and congealing in place. Often thought to be a volcanic plug, it is not. Two other mamelons exist nearby, created in the same period: Camels Hump, to the south on Mount Macedon and, to the east, Crozier's Rocks. All three mamelons are made of solvsbergite, a form of trachyte only found in two or three other places in the world. As Hanging Rock's magma cooled and contracted it split into rough columns. These weathered over time into the many pinnacles that can be seen today.
Hanging Rock contains numerous distinctive rock formations, including the "Hanging Rock" itself (a boulder suspended between other boulders, under which is the main entrance path), the Colonnade, the Eagle and the UFO. The highest point on Hanging Rock is 718 metres above sea level and 105 metres above the plain below. Hanging Rock is located within the Wurundjeri nation's territory but they exercised a custodial responsibility on behalf of the surrounding tribes in the Kulin nation. It was a site of male initiation and as such entry was forbidden except those young males being taken there for ceremonial initiation. After colonial settlement the Aboriginal people of the area were quickly dispossessed and forced out of the area by 1844. However one last initiation ceremony was held there in approximately November 1851 by a Wurundjeri Elder from the Templestowe area in the Yarra Valley. This ceremony was also attended by two young settler's children, Willie Chivers aged eleven and his younger brother Tom Chivers aged seven, who were being cared for on a daily basis by the tribe after their mother had died. Their father went missing after looking for their mother.
The rock's official name, "Mount Diogenes", was bestowed on it by the surveyor Robert Hoddle in 1844 in keeping with the spirit of several ancient Greek names given by Major Thomas Mitchell during his expedition through Victoria in 1836, which passed close to Hanging Rock. Others include Mount Macedon, Mount Alexander and the Campaspe River.
Hanging Rock is the centrepiece for the Hanging Rock Recreation Reserve, a public reserve managed by the local government authority. The reserve also includes a forest, horserace track, picnic grounds, creek, interpretation centre and cafe. The reserve is a habitat for endemic flora and fauna, including koalas, wallabies, possums, wedge-tailed eagles and kookaburras.
The reserve is open to the public during daylight hours seven days a week. Entry is charged per vehicle. Camping is possible by arrangement.
Friends of Hanging Rock, started in 1987, is a community group which holds events open to the public, such as night walks and wildflower tours. The group can be contacted through the ranger.
Influence on the arts
Hanging Rock was the inspiration and setting for the novel Picnic at Hanging Rock, written by Joan Lindsay and published in 1967. The novel dealt with the disappearance of a number of schoolgirls during a visit to the Hanging Rock. Their disappearance was explained in the final chapter, but Lindsay deleted this chapter at the suggestion of her editor, thinking the mystery was greater without it.
The novel inspired the film Picnic at Hanging Rock, made in 1975 and directed by Peter Weir. The success of the film was responsible for a substantial increase in visits to the rock and a renewal of interest in the novel. Yvonne Rousseau wrote a book called The Murders at Hanging Rock, published in 1980, which examined possible explanations for the disappearance of the girls.
As a result of the increased interest, the deleted final chapter of the novel was finally published in 1987 as The Secret of Hanging Rock.
Hanging Rock reserve is currently used as an occasional outdoor concert venue by major international acts on the Australian leg of their tours.
The following events have taken place at Hanging Rock as part of a trial by Frontier Touring and the Mount Macedon council:
- Leonard Cohen - 2010
- Rod Stewart - February 2012
- Bruce Springsteen - March 2013 (Wrecking Ball tour)
The facilities are temporary and currently only used once a year for "one off" shows.
In 2014 the Rolling Stones are scheduled to play a night concert at Hanging Rock as part of their On Fire tour.
- "Hanging Rock, South Rock Rd, Newham, Victoria, Australia (entry AHD4257)". Australian Heritage Database. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Retrieved 8 April 2008.
- Duncan, J.S, ed. (1982). Atlas of Victoria. Melbourne: Victorian Government Printing Office. pp. 74 =. ISBN 0-7241-8255-1.
- Country Racing Victoria. "Hanging Rock Racing Club". Retrieved 2009-05-07.[dead link]
- "Springsteen wrecks Hanging Rock".
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|This article relies on references to primary sources. (August 2007)|