On St Valentine’s Day 1900, three schoolgirls from an exclusive English-style boarding school go missing, along with a teacher, at Hanging Rock, in central Victoria.
After their picnic lunch, school friends Miranda (Anne Lambert), Marion (Jane Vallis) and Irma (Karen Robson) ask permission from their French mistress Mademoiselle de Portiers (Helen Morse) to go for a walk around the base of the rock. Overweight Edith (Chris Schuler) asks if she can come too. They pass sleeping picnickers, Colonel Fitzhubert (Peter Collingwood) and his wife (Olga Dickie), and the Colonel’s English nephew Michael (Dominic Guard), who’s drinking with Albert (John Jarratt), the manservant. Michael is mesmerised from afar by the beauty of Miranda.