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Lindsay claimed to have written the novel over two weeks at her home Mulberry Hill in Baxter, on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula, after having successive dreams of the narrated events.An excised final chapter of the novel was published posthumously as a standalone book in 1987, titled The Secret of Hanging Rock, and also included critical commentary and interpretive theories on the novel.
The school scours the rock in search of the three girls and their teacher, but they are not found.
The disappearances provoke much local concern and international sensation with rape, abduction, and murder being assumed as probable explanations.
Miranda, Marion, and Irma climb still higher in a trance-like state while Edith flees in terror; she returns to the picnic in hysterics, disoriented and with no memory of what occurred.
Miss Mc Craw is also nowhere to be accounted for except for being seen by Edith who passed her ascending the rock in her underwear.
Concerned parents begin withdrawing their daughters from the prestigious college, prompting various staff to leave; the college's handyman and maid quit their jobs, and the French instructor, Mlle.
Dianne de Poitiers, announces that she will be getting married and leaving the college as well.Several organized searches of the picnic grounds and the area surrounding the rock itself turn up nothing.Meanwhile, the students, teachers and staff of the college, as well as members of the community, grapple with the riddle-like events.In a pseudo-historical afterword purportedly extracted from a 1913 Melbourne newspaper article, it is written that both the college and the Woodend Police Station, where records of the investigation were kept, were destroyed by a bush fire in the summer of 1901.In 1903, rabbit hunters came across a lone piece of frilled calico at the rock, believed to have been part of the dress of the governess, Miss Greta Mc Craw, but neither she nor the girls were ever found.According to her editor Sandra Forbes, Lindsay's original draft of the novel included a final chapter in which the mystery was resolved.At her editor's suggestion, Lindsay removed it prior to publication.At Appleyard College, a private boarding school for upper-class girls near Mount Macedon, Victoria, a picnic is being planned for the students under the supervision of Mrs. The picnic entails a day trip to Hanging Rock, on St. One of the students, Sara, who is in trouble with Mrs. Afterward, Miranda goes to climb the monolith with classmates Edith, Irma, and Marion despite being forbidden to do so.The girls' mathematics teacher, Greta Mc Craw, follows behind them separately.Another book, titled The Murders at Hanging Rock, was published in 1980, proposing varying interpretations.The novel has been adapted across numerous media, most famously in the 1975 critically acclaimed film of the same name by director Peter Weir.