Archive:  Hanging Rock

Last Updated  14/11/18



See Report on Council Meeting 16 December 2015 for update

MRRA Submission on the Hanging Rock Review (10/7/15)

Hanging Rock Action Group - Facebook:  Email:  Web:



NEW   Action Required  Plenty Of Questions Still Remain About The Future Of Hanging Rock And The East Paddock

(14/11/18 - P)   And boy, do they demand clear, comprehensive answers if State Government buys the East Paddock, before it buys it


First, the State government recently approved the Hanging Rock Strategy Plan, after Macedon Ranges Council requested it be changed to delete the reference to the East Paddock being the location for a 'for profit' kiosk / cafe / restaurant be deleted.

On 29 September 2018, the State government announced “As part of the funding [for Hanging Rock], the East Paddock site will be purchased and preserved by the Victorian Government, making sure the area and its superb views of Hanging Rock are protected into the future.”  

Crown Land reserves are usually reserved for a specific purpose, say, for recreation, water, conservation, etc. That's important, because that's what the land can be used for.  

The Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 provides for various licences, agreements and leases to be granted, including for purposes other than those for which the land is reserved.  The Act was changed on 12/9/18 to introduce new powers for a Minister to approve licences and agreements for up to 10 years (Section 17B 1A) for purposes other than those for which the land is reserved.  In the Act there are many instances where approval is contingent upon (variously) :

consistency with any VEAC* or Land Conservation Council (LCC) recommendation for the land.


* VEAC is the successor to the Land Conservation Council



  1. The Land Conservation Council’s Melbourne Area, District 1 Review 1987 Final Recommendations for Hanging Rock Reserve included a specific recommendation (page 89): 

“Notes: 1. The existing recreation reserve, Parish of Newham, encompasses Hanging Rock.  The significant geological, scenic, historical and floristic values of Hanging Rock should be protected.”  

This is replaced in the current draft VEAC Review with an intention to rely upon current master planning and environmental management planning, neither of which appears to have the same legislative status as an LCC or VEAC recommendation, or to require a statutory / legislative process (municipal or parliamentary consultation and approval) to be changed. 

  1. VEAC's classification of the Hanging Rock Crown Land reserve purposes as "Recreation - Community Use".  This means recreation is the primary land use, and where conservation or other values exist, their protection is secondary to and only where consistent with, recreation use of the land.

The above create some uncertainty about the Hanging Rock Crown Land reserve’s future, what could be approved there, and management of environmental and other (non-recreation) values.

  1.  The State government’s current proposal to purchase the East Paddock:

likewise creates uncertainty about the future of the East Paddock, and its continued vulnerability to future commercial use and development.


MRRA Says:


Over to the State government for some answers please.  We've all heard a lot of noise about how Hanging Rock "is now protected", but until all of the above are addressed and fixed in a nicely transparent and accountable way, with a view to strictly limiting commercial activities,  you couldn't be blamed for thinking there's more holes here than Swiss cheese.   Can't just be left as is.  And bless our cotton socks, starting with rezoning the East Paddock to Public Conservation and Resource Zone is an absolute no brainer, whether or not Council decides to sell it to the State government. 


It would all need to be above board.  Squeaky clean.  Not even a whiff of favours for mates.  Nothing gross like the previous Macedon Ranges Council's economic brainfart to hire out the shelters at Hanging Rock for wedding receptions...  Definitely not.  Hmmm... The concerts wouldn't want to expand or become permanent either, if the East Paddock comes under the current State government's ownership.  


The East Paddock was purchased by visionary leaders in the 1990s (Shire of Newham and Woodend) to PROTECT the Rock.  So far a succession of economics-focussed non-visionaries keep seeing it as so much unoccupied commercial land, waiting to be filled up and profited from.  That's not what Hanging Rock and the East Paddock should become

(in)famous for.  Their value is their outstanding and timeless beauty and naturalness, which will become an increasingly rare commodity over time.  That future must be set in place now.


The good part is everyone can help protect Hanging Rock and the East Paddock by making a submission by December 10th to the VEAC Central West Investigation, asking for Hanging Rock to be reclassified for a purpose that includes conservation.  MRRA will be.  National Park sounds good - National significance, National Park.  What do you think? 



Decision To Allow Ed heeran Concert ON Hanging Rock Breaks Faith And Process, And Totally Disrespects The Rock

(25/2/17 - C)  Macedon Ranges Shire may have new councillors but this decision - apparently without approval from new councillors - shows the rot at Council still goes deep  Council Performances file 

Ed Sheeran's recent gig in Macedon Ranges Shire made history - by violating the cultural and environmental values of Hanging Rock with a concert ON the Rock itself.  Other artists that have performed "at Hanging Rock" have in fact performed on the East Paddock AT Hanging Rock. 


Someone at Council approved it, ignoring undertakings given to the community that concerts would only be held at the East Paddock, ignoring the Hanging Rock Strategic Advisory Committee, and ignoring the State-government supported strategic and environmental planning currently being done for Hanging Rock.  The event would have taken time to organise, but those in the know kept their secret, even from councillors.  


A recent letter to the Midland Express asked all the right questions about the concert, then finished with "one fundamental question that needs to addressed: "Who is running the Macedon Ranges Shire Council, the council officers or the newly elected councillors?"    What a most excellent question.


MRRA Says:


SSome say because it was Ed Sheeran, it's OK.  We say it's not.  It's Ed Sheeran today, but there have been so many other examples - Daly Nature Reserve,  the Equine Centre, etc., and who will ever forget Council's gross development proposal to commercialise Hanging Rock, without community consultation?  The common thread with these is that even the most basic principles of governance and accountability were ignored to indulge in behaviour that is not acceptable under any circumstances.  What happened with the Sheeran concert cuts to the core of the relationship between a Council and the community it is supposed to represent.


Previous councillors gave the Shire's CEO delegated authority to em>finalise the contract with Frontier Touring for concerts at the East Paddock.  After what's happened, either the finalised contract somehow included concerts ON Hanging Rock without a resolution of council, or didn't include them and Mr. Sheeran's foray onto the Rock itself is a breach of that contract.  Either way, the contract with Frontier Touring must now be made public, as must those who authorised the Sheeran event.


The arrogance of not putting the matter before the new councillors for decision is yet more evidence of the dark culture that remains in the Council's administration, symptoms of which seem to include a preference for decisions made in corridors and corners instead of chamber, operating and making decisions without proper (or any) process and light, and disdain for community, policy and environment.   Nor does Frontier Touring emerge from the Sheeran 'coup' unscathed - why should the Macedon Ranges' community feel confident the company will behave in a transparent and respectful way in future?


When trust is gone, heads and delegations - if not contracts - must roll.



Hanging Rock Petition - Shelter Skelter!

(11/3/16 - C)  Call for help with delaying expiry of Hanging Rock Federal funding  More

"Listening Post" Re Protecting Hanging Rock 25 August, Outside Coles in Woodend

(22/8/15 - C)   Consultants for Hanging Rock Review are looking for more community feedback   Hanging Rock file

PPBAdvisory, the consultants running the State government's Hanging Rock Review, is looking for more community feedback on what people value about Hanging Rock, how it should be protected and from what, and how it is run, including financials.  There have already been consultation events.  Everyone is welcome, but this time the consultants are especially keen to hear from people who may not yet have "shared their visions for the future management of Hanging Rock". 


The listening post will be held on Tuesday, 25 August from  9.30am until 12.30pm, outside Coles Supermarket (128 High Street). 


For more information, go to


MRRA Says:

This is an incredibly important review and there are strong community expectations that Hanging Rock will at last get the protection it needs.  Please be part of making that happen.


More Consultation On Hanging Rock - Council Reveals Its Proposed 2 New Shelters And, Unusually, Asks You What You Think.  Comments in by Friday 24 July

(15/7/15 - C)   It's raining consultation in fact - there's a drop-in session as well at the East Paddock on Sunday 19 July, 10am - 1pm.

There is a draft concept plan (pdf, 10mb) on Council's website about two new picnic shelters (and toilets).  One shelter is in the East Paddock (in a similar, highly-exposed location as the hotel/convention centre/restaurant Council wanted), and the other is on the edge of the Hanging Rock Reserve. 


Council's media release says they are jointly funded by the Australian government, and the designs have been developed by a consultant with input from Council's Hanging Rock Development Advisory Committee (the one Council won't allow Landcare to be on).   Council wants to know if you think the designs and natural materials complement the look and feel of the Rock.


You can make a submission or comments by emailing or writing to PO Box 151, Kyneton, 3444 by Friday 24 July.


There is also a drop-in session in the East Paddock (off Colwells Road) on Sunday 19 July from 10am to 1pm - consultants and council staff will be there.


MRRA Says:

Consultation on Hanging Rock?  Wow, all we have to do now is get Council to reveal where it is secretly tucking away all the money from Hanging Rock!  


Just as well they are consulting, because these designs look like they would definitely benefit from broader input than that provided by Council's Hanging Rock Development Advisory Committee.   Aw, shucks, that'll explain it - this is the Committee that supported all of that over-development stuff - you know, the stuff we were told we wouldn't see from Hanging Rock, the stuff we needed.  Well, you will see these shelters from Hanging Rock, and a few other places.  Wait, there's more: construction of VIEWING MOUNDS is also proposed.


Can we please get a grip here?   Hanging Rock is one of Australia's icons. Surely we can do better than shelters that have voluminous, somewhat-sail-like, white (zinc) rooves and pale, pale stone walls; better than something that is so starkly 'foreign' and intrudes on and damages the landscape?    This is a little too much about artsy-fartsy economic development, not enough about landscapes and environment.  Drop the 'plastic' viewing mounds and get back to basics.  These shelters are what the planning scheme says should be avoided.


Start with the Significant Landscape Overlay, Schedule 1 that applies to both the Rock and the East Paddock.  To comply with the overlay, these shelters must comply with Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, which requires that : 

"2.7  Development to be permitted in urban and rural areas shall be planned to achieve harmony with the natural environment, and to maintain the generally rural character and high landscape values of the Policy Area."  

These shelters aren't there yet.  That's why they don't work. 


Hanging Rock Review:  Workshop In Woodend This Wednesday 15th July 2015 6.30pm

(13/7/15 - C)   Your chance to have your voice heard in how Hanging Rock is managed and protected in future.  RSVP Monday 13 July   Red Alerts

Here's what the DELWP website says at


“There will be a discussion and workshop about future management arrangements for the Precinct.  This is a great opportunity for community members to work towards a shared vision of how the Precinct is managed in the future. - See more at:


When:   Wednesday, 15 July

Time:     6.30pm - 8.00pm

Where:  Woodend Community Centre, Corner of High Street & Forest Street, Woodend

RSVP:  Monday, 13 July by emailing (Please note any dietary requirements as this is a catered event) - See more at:


 MRRA Says:

Yes, notice of the workshop is a little bit short, but we can all do this!   Try to RSVP today if you can, but MRRA suggests you go along with or without an RSVP.


UPDATE  Don't Miss Your Chance To Say How Hanging Rock Will Be Managed And Protected  Submissions (electronic) close 5.00pm Friday 10 JulyFriday 31 July   

(13/7/15 - C)  Time for electronic submissions extended until 31 July, 2015.    NEW  MRRA Submission

Check out the latest news at DELWP's website


Don't Miss Your Chance To Say How Hanging Rock Will Be Managed And Protected (Submissions close 5.00pm Friday 10 July)

(4/7/15 - C)  Great news - it doesn't have to be Council's plans for gross over-development.  Thanks to the State government, at last the COMMUNITY gets to say what it values and wants.  Red Alerts

The State government recently announced a review of all things Hanging Rock, to be conducted by an independent consultant.  The Review is expected to be completed by September 2015.  Stage 1 of the Review will look at management, service delivery and financial sustainability.  Stage 2, which will start later in the year, will look at planning provisions (protections) for the Hanging Rock precinct (i.e. the area around the Reserve).  


Here's the fact-sheet for the Review.   You can find out more by going to


For further information about the consultation process, please contact Catherine at PPB Advisory on 03 9269 4206.  You can submit your views on future management arrangements for Hanging Rock by emailing them to   Electronic submissions close at 5.00pm on Friday, 10 July 2015.


MRRA Says:

Fantastic opportunity to straighten out Council's secrecy, and self-interested mis-management, of Hanging Rock.  It needs to be managed, in perpetuity, to serve and protect the interests of Hanging Rock, not third parties.  


We suggest you put in some brief comments, and here are some suggestions for changes that MRRA thinks are needed: 

Hanging Rock: "Haunted Rock?" Launch

28/4/15 - C)  Saturday May 9, 2 - 4 pm, Newham Mechanics Institute 

Amy Spiers and the Macedon ranges Writers' Group are inviting local residents and groups to join them for a publication launch and short presentation on Saturday 9th May at Newham Mechanics Institute, Newham. For further details see Haunted Rock flyer


Breathtaking! Planning Minister Acts Decisively To Make Hanging Rock Off-Limits To Commercial Development

(22/5/14 - C)   But it seems Council is contemplating taking the Minister's money, but not 'no commercial development' 

In 2013, Macedon Ranges Shire Council controversially approved pursuing extensive commercial development at Hanging Rock and its East Paddock, including private investment on public land, contrary to the Shire's Hanging Rock Management Plan.  Council also deliberately excluded community consultation. 


Wide-spread community opposition, a petition of some 6,000 objecting signatures, and mentorship by Anne Lambert (we remember her as Miranda in the movie Picnic At Hanging Rock) have influenced Council only to the extent that Council recently agreed to finally consult the community - next year - while continuing to tender for private investors in the meantime.  


Minister for Planning Matthew Guy last Friday (16/5/14) intervened.  Accompanied by local MLC Amanda Millar and Macedon candidate Donna Petrovich, he returned to Hanging Rock with a stunning announcement that he is changing planning controls to protect Hanging Rock and its surrounds from commercial development... and providing $1 million in State funding over 4 years to improve the Rock's facilities and environment (to be administered by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries [DEPI])  See Minister's media release 16/5/14   The Minister also stated (at Hanging Rock) that funding would be perpetual.  He said his earlier (March) visit to Hanging Rock left a lasting impression of its significance and sensitivity, and the need to protect it, and his intervention also recognised the extensive community opposition to Council's development proposal.


MRRA Says: 

This masterful stroke came suddenly and, from community delight to date (including MRRA's), it's one VERY popular decision.  Much appreciation is being expressed to the Minister and Amanda Millar for listening to, and acting in the interests of, the community - which our own Council doesn't do.


MRRA also applauds the magnificent efforts and determination of the Hanging Rock Action Group [HRAG].  HRAG perceptively identified Council's development proposal as a Solution in search of a Problem.  HRAG exposed Council's mis-information campaign in  ten 'error and misleading information' bulletins, which show Council's claim of dire financial need (and output on various other matters) is not sound, consistent or credible.


On the other side of the ledger, on 8 March 2014, former Macedon Ranges' Mayor and Councillor Noel Harvey (chair of the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges Tourism Board) went public in the Australian newspaper about his support for development at Hanging Rock.  Link to Australian article   And last week, current Councillor Russell Mowatt (a supporter and apparently now advocate of Council's Hanging Rock development proposal) wrote to local papers with a collation of Council's usual flawed arguments.   Link to 6/5/14 Mowatt letter   It was a big mistake.


Enter Richard Hughes (former Mayor of the former Shire of Newham and Woodend, which Council purchased the East Paddock to protect Hanging Rock) with a responding letter exposing and correcting the obvious flaws in Cr. Mowatt's letter.  Link to 13/5/14 Hughes' letter 


Last Friday, the Minister's actions cut through the garbage to the nub of the issue: here's the money Council says it needs to maintain Hanging Rock, and in exchange, here are restrictions that don't allow commercial development at Hanging Rock.  Seems crystal clear to us but not, apparently, to Council.


Comments attributed to Mayor Roger Jukes (Star Weekly, 16/5/14 suggest Council's going to take the State government's money, but it ain't gonna ditch the commercial development proposal.


Mayor Roger Jukes said a long-term plan for Hanging Rock was still needed to ensure the icon’s ongoing financial and environmental sustainability.  “We’re pleased that the Victorian government has recognised the need for immediate funding to address the ageing of state-owned infrastructure, weed and pest problems at the rock. “But Hanging Rock needs ongoing investment if it is going to continue to thrive as a natural asset and tourist icon.”


Hello, hello.  "...ageing of State-owned infrastructure"?  Have we been missing something all this time? 


 Up until last week, wasn't everything at Hanging Rock Council's ageing facilities, and Council's problem?  You know, all the gear Council has deliberately let run down (a la demolition by neglect), which Council says it can only afford to fix if its commercial development proposal goes ahead?   Blimey, if it's State-owned, why didn't Council realise that, and apply for State funding, years ago?  Ohh, and why is Council whipping $131,000 out of the Hanging Rock Financial Reserve in this year's budget for new picnic tables and barbeques?  


More - much more - information, please!  What/which State-owned infrastructure will the State funding be spent on... and (drumroll, please!) here's the $64,000 question: what/which infrastructure / facilities / rehabilitation does Council think it still needs to bankroll  from "on-going investment" (additional to new funding and undisclosed concert income) at Hanging Rock?   An excessively precise answer will suffice.


Read the Minister's lips carefully, Council:  funding  i-n... p-e-r-p-e-t-u-i-t-y...  In other words, on-going funding, which is like on-going investment but without the strings.  Be grateful.  The problem Council says-stresses-insists Hanging Rock has, has been fixed!   Be humble.  Accept that Council's hideous development proposal is gazumped, and redundant (if not prohibited).  Otherwise, Council risks showing the Minister the same contempt it shows its community, not to mention being seen as too close to this development, and developers.  That's so not a good look, and neither is running an elitist and secretive Council development advisory committee as a de facto statutory Committee of Management for Hanging Rock.  


Meanwhile, an extremely well done to the HRAG guys, and the other Guy.  That's a high-five all round. 


P.S.  Is there anyone out there who knows or can confirm if Council has contributed $75,000 to the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges Tourism Board?



Minister for Planning Climbs Hanging Rock 

(25/3/14 - SP)   The Rock's timelessness, vulnerability, and community ownership:  all noted   

 A group of around 40 locals greeted the Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy, and MLC Amanda Millar at Hanging Rock last Thursday, before most headed off  - led by the Minister at a cracking pace - to the  top of the Rock.  Ms Millar had invited the Minister to visit, in a speech to Parliament late last year.  Joanne Duncan (retiring MLA for Macedon),  and Macedon seat candidates Donna Petrovich (Liberal) and Mary-Anne Thomas (Labor) were also there.   


Here's how the local press have reported on the Minister's visit to date:


Midland Express: story or  the Minister gives fair notice to council to involve and consult the community, and that the State could step in if unhappy with plans.  It's Council's decision but the State government will be watching firmly, to make sure the primary concern is protection of the Rock and environs.


Weekly: story or  Amanda Millar described Council's development proposal as of "great significance" to residents.


MRRA Says:

With the Rock and its vistas weaving their magic spell on everyone,  the vision of the lone and very visible 'Hardwick' house, just beyond the east paddock and smack in the Rock's viewlines, presented an indelible image of the damaging development Hanging Rock, and Macedon Ranges, must be protected from.  Questions were raised about how the house was approved - in a Rural Conservation Zone and a drinking water catchment - when previous dwelling applications have been refused.  


The Minister gave MRRA assurances that State policy protection is on its way, and we will definitely hold him to that.   With Council increasingly seen as a lost cause, this Shire and Hanging Rock need State help, not only to save them from our own damaging Council, but to conserve their special value for future generations.   We take heart therefore from the Minister's assurances, and that he will be 'watching firmly' where Council goes with Hanging Rock.  


Thanks too, to Amanda Millar, for her role in inviting the Minister to visit, an occasion which additionally let some of the many concerned local residents voice their concerns directly to the man at the top.  The Minister himself seemed to relish his visit: walking, talking and being photographed with gusto.  He even put this photo on his Twitter account: 


Left to right:  MLC Amanda Millar,  MRRA Secretary Christine Pruneau, Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy. 





18/10/13  - C

ABC 7.30 Victoria


Lightning strikes twice:  pants on fire - Council caught out again. 


Council sends financial figures to ABC but figures confirm Council's claim Hanging Rock is making a loss / not making a profit is a lie.  Figures show Hanging Rock in surplus for 9 of the past 10 years, making a profit in 7 of the last 10 years.  



COUNCIL LIES:  We don't believe a word Council says.  Neither should YOU, and this shows why...   And what's the betting the "private investor" is already lurking around and known to some at Council...


11/10/13 - C

ABC 7.30 Victoria:


CEO exposed putting up 'misinformation' on Hanging Rock finances:  Hanging Rock isn't making a loss, it's just not making [enough] profit.  = PeterJohnstononmics

Councillors made decision to go ahead with ginormous development at Hanging Rock based on officer misinformation.


10/10/13 - C

Watch "7.30 Victoria" - ABC, Friday October 11 2013


Macedon Ranges Council hands an international icon and public land to private developers, subsidised by ratepayers, for massive commercial development, without a shred of consultation.   There is no democracy in Macedon Ranges. If they can do this with an icon, what else is going on?


"Hanging Rock For Sale" online petition: 

Hanging Rock:  Not For Sale

(23/4/13-RA-C)  Why is an internationally significant icon, and a nature reserve, being treated as commercial land?  

The recent Bruce Springsteen concert at Hanging Rock brought to an end the agreement with a concert promoter to hold open air concerts at the East Paddock, next to Hanging Rock.  While popular, the concerts have been a catalyst for commercial use of land which was acquired by the former Shire of Newham and Woodend, specifically to protect Hanging Rock.  

This land has already been quietly rezoned by Ministerial amendment (meaning the community wasn't consulted) from a Rural Conservation Zone [RCZ] to Public Park and Recreation zone [PPRZ].  Hanging Rock itself, on the other hand, is zoned Public Conservation and Resource zone [PCRZ].   The automatic question is, of course, why wasn't the East Paddock also zoned to PCRZ, same as Hanging Rock?

Macedon Ranges Council chose the zone because, unlike Hanging Rock, the East Paddock is not Crown Land, and Council - not the State government - has control of it.  Macedon Ranges Council is also the body which has entered into agreements to use the land commercially, and apparently has grand plans to provide permanent structures to promote more commercial use.  To date, the community has not been consulted on these plans, or on deals or arrangements to use the land for commercial gain in future.



It is interesting that in the last edition of Council's newsletter, several Councillors nominated Hanging Rock as the Shire's best icon, or otherwise sang its praises.  It's a pity previous and current councillors - and particularly officers - apparently don't have sufficient appreciation of both the natural values of Hanging Rock, and the ownership of it. 

The Rock itself is a sacred aboriginal place, and many visitors will tell you they feel its spirituality.  It is geologically and geomorphologically significant, and a visual beacon for the Shire.  It's also supposed to be a safe haven for native wildlife - significant native wildlife.


It could be argued that the East Paddock belongs not to Council but to the people of the former Shire of Newham and Woodend, who had the foresight to preserve this land in order to preserve and protect Hanging Rock.  We all know that people use the grounds around Hanging Rock, but not on the scale of disruption open air concerts produce on this land. 


Before Council makes further decisions about what will or won't happen at Hanging Rock and the East Paddock, it must produce reports of values and impacts upon them, and it must start consulting the people who own it, and love it for what is - not what it becomes for profit.


Speaking of profit, Council raves on about flow-on economic effects of commercial activities at the Rock, but what did Council get out of the concerts?  Rumour has it, very little.  That went well then...