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For all the people, for all time – Cradle Mountain

9 October 2011 No Comment

Cradle Mountain National Park

“This must be a national park for the people, for all time. It is magnificent and people must know about it and enjoy it”

Gustav Weindorfer

How unbelievably lucky are we that get to spend the majority of our time at Cradle Mountain? It is a place that people dream of visiting, it is awe-inspiring, adjectives such as majestic, breathtaking, and extraordinary are bandied about when the area is mentioned. It is the quintessential Tasmanian destination. And people like me get to live here!

Something that I feel gets taken slightly for granted and isn’t generally explored by those who visit (especially after our local fauna show their gorgeous faces, they are the ultimate distraction) is the rich, dynamic history of our National Park. A lot of people spent a lot of time and resources on ensuring that this place would be accessible and enjoyable for many generations after theirs, and even after mine. And it seems that, occasionally, people disrespect that fact.

An Austrian man named Gustav Weindorfer (b. 1874) is considered to be the Founding Father of Cradle Mountain National Park. He and his wife Kate met in Victoria, but moved to the area and married in 1906. They were an early example of ‘Tree-Changers’, setting a trend which is actually very popular at the moment. They fell in love with the area, packed up their lives, and moved here. They even honeymooned on Mt. Roland, the mountain which stands over the Sheffield/Railton area, and is a popular hiking destination for locals and visitors alike.

Gustav and Kate, it is reported, bought and farmed a 100 acre property in Kindred, a small area close to Sheffield. In 1910, Gustav, Kate, and a man named Ronnie Smith climbed Cradle Mountain. As a result, Kate Weindorfer is credited as being the first white woman to climb Cradle Mountain.

According to Ronnie, as the small party rested on the summit of Cradle Mountain, some 1545 metres above sea-level, Gustav Weindorfer proclaimed “This must be a national park for the people, for all time. It is magnificent and people must know about it and enjoy it”

I tend to agree with him.

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. This area spans a total of 1.38 million hectares, and also includes Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers, Hartz Mountains, Mole Creek Karst, Southwest, and Walls of Jerusalem National Parks, as well as a number of other reserves and conservation zones. Tasmania has 18 National Parks and over 2000kms of walking tracks. It is my view that Tasmanians themselves could really be utilising the fantastic opportunities these protected areas provide to a much more beneficial end than what we currently are, but that’s a whole different can of worms.

Those ‘expensive’ National Parks fees that visitors to the Park are required to pay enable us to keep our National Parks clean, keep our walking tracks up to date and safe, and provide the necessary protection and man power to achieve this, not to mention employment opportunities, in the form of Park Rangers. The current price for a 24 Parks Pass to Cradle Mountain is $16.50 per adult, but there are a number of other Parks Pass options available. I will reiterate from previous articles: Do Your Research. Visit www.parks.tas.gov.au

We aren’t all as lucky as I am to live in such a magnificent and revered location, but please, come and visit! But be honest, help us out, and just remember, I pay National Parks Fees too.

Koby Blizzard is a born and bred Tasmanian who works and lives in the Cradle Mountain area. She loves all things Cradle and Tasmania and is just embarking on a writing career. This is her fourth piece about her exploits working at Cradle Mountain.
Image: Ed Lipkins – via Flickr

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