Rock's secrets revealed

Friends of Hanging Rock member Matthew Nickson and president Luke Spielvogel.

Friends of Hanging Rock member Matthew Nickson and president Luke Spielvogel.

Secrets of Hanging Rock will be revealed in the first comprehensive chronicle of its kind, Hanging Rock - A History, due for release on Friday.

More than three years in the making, the book provides answers to many longstanding questions about the iconic landmark.

Is its geology unique? Who were the traditional custodians? Was Joan Lindsay's story fact or fiction?

"This is the story of its shared social landscape which we think needs to be told," said Luke Spielvogel, Friends of Hanging Rock president.

The group published the book and worked with author, noted historian Dr Chris McConville, to gather information over more than three years of research.

Sifting through records in historical societies, archives, museums and libraries across the world, members discovered previously unknown material and records, including the earliest known painting of Hanging Rock from 1858, a watercolour by artist W.H. Burkitt.

While delving into the past, the book doesn't ignore the current and ongoing community conversation around striking a balance between commercial development and environment value.

"This book demonstrates that this friction has long existed here and of course far beyond the Rock," Mr Spielvogel said.

"This place remains special for visitors who come for a picnic while also being an icon of global popular culture. Better understanding that diversity of experience remains our great opportunity to ensure Hanging Rock retains its unique place in the Australian imagination."

Australian broadcaster, writer and filmmaker Phillip Adams, and supporter of the friends group, has written the book's foreword, and describes it as "a fine book that documents its geological rarity and its cultural significance to indigenous, white and other hued Australians".

The book will be officially launched at the Newham Mechanics Institute in Newham at 7.30pm on Friday, December 8, and will be available for sale online and in bookstores. RRP $29.99, 264 pages, 146 illustrations. For details, visit