Joan Lindsay

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Joan Lindsay, Lady Lindsay (16 November 1896 – 23 December 1984) was an Australian author, best known for her "ambiguous and intriguing" novel Picnic at Hanging Rock.[1]



Joan à Beckett Weigall was born in St Kilda East, Victoria, Australia, the third daughter of Theyre à Beckett Weigall, a prominent judge who was related to the Boyd family, perhaps Australia's most famous and prolific artistic dynasty. Her mother was Ann Sophie Weigall née Hamilton.

From 1916 to 1919 Joan studied painting at the National Gallery School, Melbourne. In 1920 she began sharing a Melbourne studio with Maie Ryan (later Lady Casey). Joan exhibited her watercolours and oils at two Melbourne exhibitions and also exhibited with the Victorian Artists Society.[2]

Joan Weigall married Daryl Lindsay in London, on St. Valentine's Day 1922. The day was always a special occasion for her, and she set her most famous work, Picnic at Hanging Rock, on St. Valentine's Day. Daryl was the youngest of a noted family of artists and writers, the most famous of whom was Norman Lindsay. Daryl had moderate success with his paintings of white flowers - a difficult subject to capture successfully. When the couple returned to live in Australia, they renovated a farmhouse in Baxter, Mulberry Hill, and lived there until the Great Depression forced them to take up humble lodgings in Bacchus Marsh, renting out their home until the economic situation improved. With that difficult experience behind them, Daryl abandoned painting to become Director of the National Gallery of Victoria, which necessitated their relocation to Melbourne until his retirement. They retained their country home during their Victoria sojourn, however. Daryl was knighted in 1956,[3] thus Joan became Lady Lindsay.

Her work Time Without Clocks describes her wedding and idyllic early married life. The work takes its title from a strange ability which Joan described herself as having, of stopping clocks and machinery when she came close. The title also plays on the idea that this period in her life was unstructured and free.

Lindsay also wrote several plays which remained unpublished, although one, Wolf, was performed. She contributed articles, reviews and stories to various magazines and newspapers on art, literature and prominent people. She and Daryl co-authored the History of the Australian Red Cross. She, Daryl, and Lord and Lady Casey were founding members of the National Trust of Victoria, and she encouraged others to bequeath to the Trust. Lady Lindsay was interested in the development of a national identity, and her novel Picnic at Hanging Rock - in Peter Weir's hands - was hailed as initiating a Renaissance in Australian film.

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