Podcast episodeCover image for of Picnic at Hanging Rock

Picnic at Hanging Rock  /  Australian stories

‘She felt herself choking and tore at her frilled lace collar. “Miranda!”’

Fainting spells, frilly collars, mystery, hysteria and a truly awesome backdrop – Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock might be 50 years old this year, but it remains a point of Australian cultural obsession. The book – written by Lindsay in just four weeks back in 1967 – has inspired a film, a radio play, stage adaptations, fashion spreads, music videos and a new miniseries coming out this year.

Why do we keep coming back to Lindsay’s eerie tale of a Valentine’s Day school picnic gone wrong? Perhaps it’s the ambiguity around fact and fiction; perhaps it’s the striking combinations of imagery or maybe it’s the maddening obscurity of the ending.

At this celebration of Joan Lindsay’s iconic novel (and its enduring myth), Helen Withycombe hosts a conversation between Lindsay's biographer Janelle McCulloch, theatremaker Tom Wright (who adapted the play for Malthouse Theatre in 2016) and Helen Morse, who played the French teacher in Peter Weir's film version of the story.

They discuss the true story (and the mysticism) that inspired Lindsay, the book's refractions of nature and time, the troubling history of Hanging Rock itself and why Lindsay’s tale continues to haunt and provoke Australian storytellers today.

Left to right: Helen Withycombe, Janelle McCulloch, Tom Wright and Helen Morse — Photo: Jon Tjhia

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Podcast episodeCover image for of Mark Colvin, 1952–2017

Mark Colvin, 1952–2017  /  Biography & memoir

In this episode, we pay tribute to Mark Colvin, who died this morning. Colvin was one of the most trusted and revered figures in Australian journalism today.

We thought we'd share his recent Fifth Estate discussion with Sally Warhaft, recorded on 29 November 2016, in which he reflected on the release of his memoir, Light and Shadow, discussing the unlikely convergence of family and foreign affairs in his personal and professional lives, as well as four decades at the forefront of news reporting.

Colvin won the respect of generations of Australians through his work at the original Double J, his stint as the ABC’s correspondent in London and for his reporting on Australian politics and international conflicts. Today he’s known as the voice of ABC Radio’s current-affairs flagship PM and the darling of Australian Twitter.

Mark Colvin

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Anything and everything in Australian stories from across our archives.

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