On Tuesday 14 February 2017, Miranda Must Go campaigners held an Anti-Picnic at Hanging Rock. We gathered to contest the site’s habitual associations with Joan Lindsay’s novel, Picnic at Hanging Rock, and instead draw attention to the real losses and traumas Aboriginal people have experienced due to European settlement.
As Valentine’s Day is the date when the schoolgirls of Lindsay’s novel go missing and fans traditionally celebrate the book by holding picnics at Hanging Rock on 14 February, Miranda Must Go supporters decided to come together to present alternative histories and storytelling at the iconic site.
Amongst those who attended the Anti-Picnic were Aboriginal activists and supporters Viv Malo, Robbie Thorpe, Marjorie Thorpe and Clare Land. Also present were local residents and community groups, including Friends of Hanging Rock, as well as Macedon Ranges Shire Council Arts and Culture coordinator Robyn Till and Councillor Bill West.
On the day we presented a reading of a satirical play, “How it Goes”, by Elspeth Tilley, author of White Vanishing: Rethinking Australia’s Lost-in-the-Bush Myth. Tilley expressly wrote the play for the Miranda Must Go campaign. The reading was performed by Carissa Lee, Ash Dyer, Ben Hjorth, Catherine Ryan, Amy Spiers and Beth Sometimes.
The play is available to download and Tilley welcomes, indeed encourages, people to use, perform or remix it under the Creative Commons license.
We also ended the day with a lively, open discussion about the campaign and the concerns it raises.
In the video below Aboriginal activist, Robbie Thorpe, explains why campaigns that contest dominant white Australian myths are important.
You can also watch an ABC News story about the event below.
— ABC News 24 (@ABCNews24) February 14, 2017
More documentation from the day to come…