Picnic at Hanging Rock Sequence of Events

What I will do here is two things; one, list the individuals involved in the story, and two, give an sequence of events from the story.

The characters found in the story are as follows:

  • Mrs. Appleyard, the headmistress of Appleyard College.
  • Mrs. Greta McCraw, the Mathematics mistress
  • Mlle Dianne De Poitiers, the French and Dancing mistress
  • Miss Dora Lumley, Miss Buck: junior mistresses
  • Miranda, Irma Leopold, Marion Quade: senior female students and borders
  • Edith Horton: another female student, considered the college dunce
  • Sara Waybourne: the youngest female student
  • Rosamund, Blanche, and other students/borders.
  • Cook, Minie, Alice: domestic staff at the college
  • Edward Whitehead: the gardener
  • Irish Tom: the handyman
  • Mr. Ben Hussey: of the livery stables
  • Doctor McKenzie: family doctor
  • Constable Bumpher: policeman
  • Mrs. Bumpher, his wife
  • Jim: a young policeman
  • M. Louis Montpelier: a watchmaker
  • Reg Lumley: brother of Dora Lumley, junior mistress
  • Jasper Cosgrove: guardian of student Sara Waybourne
  • Colonel and Mrs. Fitzhubert: summer residents of Lake View, a place near the college
  • Michale Fitzhubert: their nephew from England
  • Albert Crundall: coachman at Lake View
  • Mr. Cutler: gardner at Lake View
  • Mrs. Cutler
  • Major Spack and his daughter Angela: English visitors
  • Doctor Cooling: another doctor from the area

The sequence of events in the story is as follows:

1. Near the town of Woodend, Victoria, Australia on St. Valentine's Day, 1900. (As has been pointed out in other sources, of course, St. Valentine's Day in 1900 did not fall on a Saturday as occurs in the novel. This is one of the problems in establishing whether or not the events, or anything at all like them, actually happened.)

2. 19 girls + 2 governesses + the local coachman all set out to the picnic grounds at Hanging Rock. (Hanging Rock is a real place.) There was also another party of 2 teenage boys, one elderly gentlemen, and one woman in the same area.

3. 4 girls went to explore Hanging Rock.

4. The girls fail to return, and one of the governesses has now gone missing.

5. About one hour after the girls left, one of them (Edith) returned screaming.

6. A search was immediately undertaken for the girls. Darkness halted the search (they were not equipped with the necessary lighting devices for a search at night.)

7. The coachman informs the police.

8. The young men say that the saw the girls crossing a creek but did not see the governess. One man is particularly taken by Miranda, one of the missing girls.

9. The police, a tracker, a bloodhound and others search Hanging Rock for three days without recovering any trace of the girls or the governess.

10. On the fourth day, Edith says she now remembers that she saw the governess, apparently in her underwear.

11. The bloodhounds again find no trace of anything in the continuing search.

12. On the 6th day, the two young men (Mike and Albert) go out on their own to search the Rock.

13. Albert returns alone.

14. The next day Mike is found, injured, on the Rock. He lays unconscious for six days.

15. Meanwhile, the police and the doctor, tipped off by a note written by Mike in his notebook, return to the Rock and find one of the girls, Irma, unconscious. Her clothes are torn and dirty and she is missing her corset and shoes. Her feet, though, are clean and have no cuts on them, and she is "intact" according to the doctor; translated, nobody had sex with her yet. Unfortunately she is of no help in the investigation because she is suffering total amnesia relating to the event. She ends up spending time with Mike and falls in love with him, but he pines only for Miranda.

16. Mike goes to Melbourne to visit Miranda's parents, and Albert goes with him. Albert resigns his position as a college worker, thus beginning a wave of resignations from the unfortuante girl's college. Irma's parents give Albert a thousand pounds money for helping to rescue Irma.

17. The handyman and the housemaid now leave the college. The other housemaid then leaves, leaving only the cook and gardener left still working at the college.

18. Irma is to be withdrawn from the college, and ten other girls indicate that they are going to be withdrawn, undoubtedly due to the strange events.

19. Mlle Dianne de Poitiers, the French and Dancing mistress, announces that she is getting married and will also be leaving the college.

20. Sara's guardian has not paid her bills, and she is to be removed from her art lessons, a move that the art mistresses opposes. In response, the art mistress is fired.

21. A junior governess leaves with her brother. They both are killed that night in a hotel fire.

22. Sara disappears.

23. Mrs. Appleyard claims that Sara's guardian came to get her. Mlle de Poitiers informs the police. Sara's corpse is found; apparently she committed suicide.

24. Mrs. Appleyard goes to Hanging Rock and dies when she falls from the Rock.

25. The following summer, a fire finishes the destruction of the college.

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