The Picnic Ground

1975

EXT.  PICNIC GROUNDS.  MID AFTERNOON

FX:  The cicadas, a touch shriller and louder now, bridge from the previous scene. The picnic has been cleared away. The girls, drugged with rich food and sunshine, are sitting and lying about, dozing and daydreaming. (2)

Except for those people down there we might be the only living creatures in the whole world.

The Location

The picnic scene was filmed at the base of Morgan’s Blood Waterfall and Queen Mary’s profile. These are located at points 1 and 2 on the Hanging Rock Information Brochure.

Morgan's Blood Waterfall and Queen Mary's profile - locations 1 and 2 on the Hangin Rock Information Brochure

Morgan’s Blood Waterfall and Queen Mary’s profile – location of the picnic scene.

All the major scenes of the movie were prioritised as an A, B or C, with A scenes given the most time, B scenes less, and C scenes shot as quickly as possible. The picnic scene was given an A because of the limited time light was over the picnic ground. (15)

The scene was scheduled “reasonably off the script” for one day but when Director of Photography Russell Boyd first visited the site he realised the area was only adequately lit between 12 – 1230pm and that 12pm was the perfect time. (15)

Boyd also invented the scene’s diffused light technique after visiting the wedding department of David Jones. He selected a bridal veil with a grading similar to a mosquito net which was then placed on the camera lens. (15)

“Light played such an incredibly important part in that film, um, I felt I couldn’t manufacture it, I couldn’t even try to re-create that beautiful light that was there for an hour a day.”(15)

Selected shots – then and now

On the southwestern edge of the picnic ground is where the girls leave to explore the rock and Miranda says “And don’t worry about us Mademoiselle, we shall only be gone a little while”.

miranda-picnic-ground-then-and-now

I should like to make a few measurements at the base of the rock if we have time, with Miranda and Irma

A wire fence now runs through where Helen Morse lay.

mlle-and-greta

Now I know.

jane-vallis-vivean-gray-helen-morse

Jane Vallis (Marion), Vivean Gray (Greta McCraw) and Helen Morse (Mlle. de Poitiers) at the southwest corner of Morgan’s Blood Waterfall during filming  Source: (12)

spot-by-tree-1.jpg

Looking toward the southwest corner from the opposite perspective between takes – Helen Morse (left in hat)   Source: (12)

The picnic ground (Morgan’s Blood Waterfall) was also where the class toasted St. Valentine as Miranda cut the cake:

to-st-valentine-1

1975 – Toasting St. Valentine beneath Morgan’s Blood Waterfall (above) and how same place looks now (below).

to-St-Valentine-16-Aug-2016

The same rock formation now as it appeared in the cake cutting scene in 1975.

to-St-Valentine

1975 – Miranda (Anne-Louise Lambert) cuts the St. Valentine cake beneath Morgan’s Blood Waterfall.

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