Mulberry Hill - Langwarren Victoria


Lady Joan Lindsay (nee Weigall) was born 16th November 1896. She was an Australian novelist, playwright, essayist and a visual artist. Born in St Kilda Melbourne, she was the daughter of a prominent judge and grandfather was the Governor of Tasmania. Spending her early years at boarding school, she went on to study art and enrolled with the National Gallery of Victoria Art School. She shared a studio and would exhibit her artwork in the 1920’s. It was during art school that she met her husband Daryl and they wed on Valentines Day in 1922. They renovated an old farm house in Baxter Victoria and affectionately named it Mulberry Hill. During the great depression, they were forced to move and rent it out until finances improved. It was during this time that Joan focused on writing instead of painting. Several works were published as well as their eventual return to Mulberry Hill when her husband went on to become Director of the National Gallery of Victoria. He was knighted in 1956 and Joan became Lady Joan Lindsay. Daryl died on Christmas day in 1976. Joan never remarried and even downgraded her four poster marital bed down to 2 modest single beds in their bedroom. His picture still sits on her nightstand. She threw herself into her writing and painting and in 1967 published the widely acclaimed ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’. Joan passed away on 23rd December 1984 of Stomach Cancer. As her and her husband never had children, the property was donated to the National Trust of Victoria where it still sits today. What I find absolutely fascinating is that all of the belongings and furniture still remain as it was the day she left. Her slippers are still at the foot of her bed. Her dentures and glasses still sit in her nightstand. Her husband’s day suit is still hanging in the wardrobe. Her studio remains as it well, complete with the typewriter she used to write a little well known novel called 'Picnic at Hanging Rock'.