Lady Joan Lindsay

Is your surname Lindsay?

Research the Lindsay family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Related Projects

Joan à Beckett Lindsay (Weigall), Lady

Birthplace: Saint Kilda, Port Phillip City, Victoria, Australia
Death: December 23, 1984 (88)
Frankston, Frankston City, Victoria, Australia
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Theyre à Beckett Weigall, Barrister & Judge and Annie Sophie Henrietta Hamilton
Wife of Sir Daryl Ernest Lindsay, Artist
Sister of Marian Hamilton Pollak; Nancy Carol Youngman and Theyre Hamilton Weigall

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Lady Joan Lindsay

Lady Joan Lindsay

Authoress of "Picnic at Hanging Rock" which was filmed, and "Time without Clocks"

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.


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 of Victoria Art 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.

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.

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, a position he held between 1942 and 1955. The position necessitated their relocation to Melbourne until his retirement. They retained their country home during their Victoria sojourn, however. Daryl was knighted in 1956, 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.

Daryl Lindsay died in 1976. Lady Lindsay died in Melbourne in 1984 of natural causes. The Lindsay's had no children. They donated their Mulberry Hill house to the National Trust upon her death.

Picnic at Hanging Rock

Picnic at Hanging Rock is her best known work. It was made into a 1975 feature film by producers Patricia Lovell, Hal and Jim McElroy, and director Peter Weir. The story is fiction, though Lindsay dropped hints that it was based on an actual event. An ending that explained the girls' fates, in draft form, was excised by her publisher prior to publication.[citation needed] The final chapter was published only in the 1980s, in accordance with her wishes.

Lindsay based Appleyard College, the setting for the novel, on the school that she had attended, Clyde Girls Grammar School (Clyde School), at East St Kilda, Melbourne—which, incidentally, in 1919 was transferred to Woodend, Victoria, in the immediate vicinity of Hanging Rock itself.


Through Darkest Pondelayo (1936), a satire on English tourists abroad

Time Without Clocks (1962), an autobiographical sketch of her early married life

Facts Soft and Hard (1964), an account of her travels with Daryl in the USA while he was on a Fulbright Award

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1967),

Syd Sixpence (1983), a children's book

Lindsay, Joan à Beckett (1896–1984)

by Terence O'Neill

Joan à Beckett Lindsay (1896-1984), author and artist, was born on 16 November 1896 at East St Kilda, Melbourne, third daughter of Theyre à Beckett Weigall, barrister, and his wife Annie Sophie Henrietta, née Hamilton. Joan’s maternal grandfather, Sir Robert Hamilton, was governor of Tasmania (1887-93), and her great uncle, Sir William à Beckett, the first chief justice of Victoria. She grew up in a comfortable and stable household, frequently enlivened by visits from guests such as her cousins Penleigh and Martin Boyd, and from friends of her parents, including Sir Isaac Isaacs, and Professor T. G. Tucker, who was to become her beloved stepfather in 1934. First educated by governesses, she then attended Clyde Girls’ Grammar School, East St Kilda (dux 1913), where she briefly edited the school magazine and designed the school crest.

In 1916-20 Miss Weigall studied at the National Gallery schools under Bernard Hall and Frederick McCubbin. She shared a studio with her lifelong friend Maie Ryan, with whom she co-authored an unfinished novel, 'Portrait of Anna', and, in 1920, exhibited her work. While living in London she married (Sir) Ernest Daryl Lindsay on 14 February 1922 at the St Marylebone register office. In 1924, back in Melbourne, they held a joint exhibition, opened by their friend Dame Nellie Melba.Although later judged 'a fine artist' by Alan McCulloch, Lindsay turned to writing after her marriage. In the 1920s she contributed short stories and articles, mainly on art and artists, to newspapers and periodicals, in particular the Sydney journal Home. She explored the uncanny and macabre in unpublished plays such as 'Cataract' and 'Wolf!', the latter being a joint venture with Margot Goyder and Ann Joske, who as 'Margot Neville' were among Australia’s best known detective-story writers. Returning to England and Europe through the 1930s, she provided Martin Boyd with the outline for his desert-island novel Nuns in Jeopardy (1940). Her own parody of popular travel books, Through Darkest Pondelayo (1936)—published under the pseudonym Serena Livingston-Stanley—contained, according to Boyd, 'one of the best collections of malapropisms in the English language'. In 1941 the Lindsays jointly produced the profusely illustrated The Story of the Red Cross.

Daryl Lindsay’s term (1941-56) as director of the National Gallery of Victoria disrupted their life at Mulberry Hill, their home on the Mornington Peninsula purchased in 1925 and modified by Harold Desbrowe Annear. Wartime staff shortages led Joan to become, as she called herself, a 'museum wife', working three days a week as Daryl’s assistant. In 1949 she collaborated with Ursula Hoff and McCulloch in writing Masterpieces of the National Gallery of Victoria; she also joined Maie Casey and others in compiling Early Melbourne Architecture, 1840-1888 (1953).

With Daryl’s retirement a comparatively tranquil routine returned to their lives. Small and delicate in appearance but vivacious and independent, Lady Lindsay served as president (1958-64) of the Arts and Crafts Society of Victoria. She produced in quick succession three books. The gently nostalgic Time without Clocks (1962) provided snapshots of the inter-war years and glimpses into her idiosyncratic perception of time. Facts Soft and Hard (1964) was a brisker account of a 1952 trip to the United States of America. Her most famous book, the novel Picnic at Hanging Rock (1967), evoked the brooding monolith that had fascinated her since childhood. It further explored the elusive nature of time in its account of the disappearance of three girls and a teacher from a nearby school. The final chapter, which partly explains their fate, was deleted at the request of the publisher (and not published until 1987). This air of mystery was a major factor in the success of the internationally acclaimed film version (1975), directed by Peter Weir.

In 1969 a car accident left Lady Lindsay with severe injuries requiring a long convalescence. After Sir Daryl’s death in 1976, her life settled into a new rhythm, including regular visits to the Lyceum Club, Melbourne, and to the McClelland Gallery, Langwarrin, where in 1972—many years after she had stopped painting—she held another exhibition with Lady Casey. Her rapport with the children of Rick Amor, an artist who lived in a cottage on her property, led her to resurrect an unpublished children’s story, Syd Sixpence (1982), which Amor illustrated for her. Joan Lindsay died at Frankston on 23 December 1984 and was cremated. Her home was bequeathed to the National Trust of Australia.

Select Bibliography

◾ M. Boyd, Day of My Delight, 1965

◾D. Lindsay, The Leafy Tree, 1965

◾G. Catalano, The Solitary Watcher, 2001

◾T. O’Neill, 'Literary Cousins' , Australian Literary Studies, vol 10, no 3, 1982, p 375

◾Meanjin, vol 62, no 2, 2003, p 120

◾Woman’s Day, 28 July 1975, p 22

◾Age (Melbourne), 1 November 1975, p 6

◾Herald (Melbourne), 24 December 1984, p 2

view all

Lady Joan Lindsay's Timeline

November 16, 1896
Saint Kilda, Port Phillip City, Victoria, Australia
December 23, 1984
Age 88
Frankston, Frankston City, Victoria, Australia