Skip to content

Book of the Week: ‘Beyond the Rock’ by Janelle McCulloch

May 8, 2017

xbeyond-the-rock.jpg.pagespeed.ic.ew-bWD3MhBWhy we love it: If Australian classic Picnic at Hanging Rock didn’t already have you fascinated, you sure will be left wondering after Janelle McCulloch’s analysis of author Joan Lindsay.

After the now-iconic novel was released in 1967, and subsequently turned into a film of the same name eight years later, there was one prominent question – was it a true story disguised as fiction?

Did a Valentine’s Day picnic at the eerie Hanging Rock in 1900 really end with three girls and a teacher’s disappearance, turning a community upside down?

Beyond the Rock puts the microscope on enigmatic Lindsay, retelling her early years as a private schoolgirl (similar to the girls lost in Picnic), to life as a socialite, wife and writer, detailing her 88 years with the backdrop of the Australian landscape. McCulloch’s narrative paints Lindsay as a mysterious and intuitive woman who navigates life and marriage to prominent artist Sir Daryl Lindsay.

The Victorian author was 69 years of age when inspired by a dream to write Picnic – a piece that captured the imagination of her readers and pushed her into an almost unwanted prominence.

If Lindsay’s original foreword wasn’t mysterious enough: “Whether Picnic at Hanging Rock is fact or fiction, or both, readers must decide for themselves . . . we live in an age when Fact is nearly always harder to swallow than Fiction’, McCulloch’s unearthing of an earlier document with a dash through the words:

‘For the author, who knew Mount Macedon and the Hanging Rock very well as a child, the story is entirely true’ will give you a chill.Janelle McCulloch 1

Excerpts from Lindsay’s two autobiographies and quotes from friends add to the richness of this biography, as does McCulloch’s clear admiration of Lindsay’s character.

While the blur between fact and fiction is the undercurrent of this book, the best part is the fascinating story of a notable Australian woman who transformed with the times and had a keen eye for a compelling tale.

Similarly to Picnic, Beyond the Rock is part ode to nature. The coffee table book is beautifully designed and reflective of the intriguing and eerie feel Lindsay created.

Scattered with photos of Lindsay’s stunning Mulberry Hill estate and snaps from trips to Europe with her husband, much like McCulloch’s earlier book La Vie Parisienne, the scrapbook design adds that something extra. And it makes perfect sense – McCulloch, like Lindsay, pairs novel writing with journalism and would understand how imagery and ‘look and feel’ enhances words.

The book is well timed, too, given FremantleMedia Australia and Foxtel’s 2016 announcement that the story is being made into a six-part miniseries.

Whether you were captivated by Picnic many years ago or are yet to discover the local classic, Beyond the Rock is a read that will suck you in and make you wonder – where are the lines between fact and fiction, and do they matter?

Purchase a copy or start reading here!



  1. Tracey Allen

    I can’t wait for the Picnic At Hanging Rock TV series and the novel will always have a special place in my heart. This sounds like a great companion book so thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. jordan shoes

    However, not everyone enjoys running and even regular joggers ought to mix up
    their cardio to problem their bodies in new ways.

  3. pokerace99 login

    Greate pieces. Keep writing such kind of information on your site.

    Im really impressed by it.
    Hi there, You have performed a fantastic job. I’ll certainly digg it and in my
    opinion suggest to my friends. I’m confident they will
    be benefited from this website.

  4. bong889

    There is a rich diversity about bat roosting songs that you simply are bound to appreciate
    and to make your life easier, also to make it easier that will get the background music for My
    – Space that you want, you might also need to be able to pick from different genres.

    There we were holding, anticipating their forthcoming experience
    and joyously reliving the past one — Peter, Susan, Edmund,
    and Lucy, inside the guises of actors William Moseley (now a dashing 20-year-old),
    Anna Popplewell (a newly minted Oxford freshman), Skandar Keynes
    (with vocal octaves further at 15), and Georgie Henley
    (approaching teenhood, a great six inches taller than we
    last saw her). The plastic’s name can often be abbreviated to CR-39, standing for Columbia Resin, and it
    is less than 50 % the load of glass, which supplanted quartz in the early twentieth century.

  5. health services

    Great site you’ve got here.. It’s hard to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays.
    I seriously appreciate individuals like you!
    Take care!!


    An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a friend
    who was doing a little research on this. And
    he in fact bought me breakfast due to the fact that I found it for him…
    lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!

    But yeah, thanx for spending time to discuss this matter here
    on your site.

  7. mental health articles

    It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this outstanding blog!
    I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.

    I look forward to new updates and will share this site with my Facebook
    group. Talk soon!

  8. continue reading

    I tend not to drop many remarks, but i did a few searching and wound up here Book of the Week:
    Beyond the Rock by Janelle McCulloch – Better Reading.
    And I do have a couple of questions for you
    if you don’t mind. Could it be simply me or does
    it look as if like some of the responses appear like coming
    from brain dead visitors? 😛 And, if you are posting at other places, I would
    like to follow anything new you have to post.

    Would you make a list of all of all your communal sites like your
    twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?


    No longer to inspect whether an individual exists, yet to laid out the outcome as
    well as control it. That has months to include this society into
    a business.

  10. monitor energy

    That keeps a deal from failing because the opportunity buyer cannot have the proper financing.
    It helps save the effort of needing to see your neighbor to check on your plants every second day or feed your dog or air the property when on a trip.

    Checking up on the youngsters, or crazy cat may be possible while at the office, or perhaps in another the main world.

  11. permanent drug detox

    Thanks in favor of sharing such a good opinion, piece of writing is good,
    thats why i have read it completely

  12. sbobet wap

    I was very happy to find this site. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!!
    I definitely loved every part of it and i also have you saved as
    a favorite to see new stuff in your blog.

  13. Jeannie

    Greetings from Carolina! I’mbored at work so I decidced to checck oout your site on my iphone during lunch break.
    I really like the info you present here and can’t wait to take a
    look when I get home. I’m surprised att how quick your blog loaded on my
    phone .. I’m not evenn using WIFI, jyst 3G .. Anyhow, superb site!

  14. prediksi togel

    Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Spending some time and
    actual effort to produce a great article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.


    F*ckin’ awesome issues here. I am very glad to
    look your article. Thanks a lot and i am taking
    a look ahead to touch you. Will you please drop me a e-mail?

  16. image

    Excellent beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a
    blog website? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea

  17. brett buchanan

    WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for christian louboutin outlet

  18. Alcohol and Drug Evaluation Lawrenceville

    I do agree with all the concepts you have introduced
    to your post. They are very convincing and will definitely
    work. Still, the posts are very short for newbies.

    May you please extend them a little from next time?

    Thank you for the post.

  19. background search

    I’m extremely pleased to uncover this site. I need
    to to thank you for ones time for this wonderful read!!
    I definitely savored every little bit of it and i also have you book-marked
    to check out new stuff in your website.

Leave a Reply to digital marketing kansas city Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *