Australian film director Peter Weir made his iconic movie “Picnic at Hanging Rock” in 1975. Based on Joan Lindsays novel of the same name, he filmed part of her legendary story in South Australia, at historic Martindale Hall. The film - and the story behind it - have captivated me since I was a child... today I visited Martindale Hall for the first time.
"Martindale Hall was built for a wealthy bachelor pastoralist, Edmund Bowman Jr (1855–1921). The architect was Ebenezer Gregg of London. Due to the specialist nature of the work involved, 50 of the 60 tradesmen were brought from England, and they returned when it was completed. The hall has some 32 rooms and also a large seven-room cellar, and its environs at the time also included a polo ground, a racecourse, a boating lake and a cricket pitch.
A decade after its construction, debt and drought forced the Bowmans to sell all their holdings. William Tennant Mortlock bought Martindale Hall in 1891. His son, John Andrew Tennant Mortlock, developed Martindale Station and built up an impressive collection of artwork which was displayed at the Hall. Dying childless, his wife became the heir to the Mortlock fortune, and she bequeathed Martindale Hall and the estate to the University of Adelaide in 1979 upon her death.
Martindale Hall along with 19 hectares of grounds were later handed to the South Australian Government and is now managed by the national Trust of South Australia."