3d An early Tasmanian national park
Gustav Weindorfer’s vision for Cradle Mountain
The vision of a national park at arose when Kate and Gustav Weindorfer first visited Cradle Mountain in January 1910. Austrian-born Gustav Weindorfer was jubilant to see the view from the summit.
This must be a National Park for the people for all time. It is magnificent and people must know about it and enjoy it, he declared.
The Weindorfers’ desire to have the area protected for all time inspired them to build a chalet to encourage people to visit the area, and appreciate its wild beauty and the need for conservation.
Gustav Wiendorfer and his wife, Kate
The following excerpt is taken from A Man and a Mountain – The story of Gustav Weindorfer by Margaret Giordano 1987.
Thus in March 1912, Gustav Weindorfer began building his alpine chalet. He called it Waldheim, meaning "forest home". It was designed to suit the natural environment and he built it himself, siting it on his wife's allotment and selecting the timber for it from the ancient King William pines in the interior of the nearby forest.
His great reverence for trees meant that, unlike the earlier pioneers in the island, he had no intention of laying waste around him. King Billy pines (as they are more usually known) are slow growing. The colour of their beautiful, scented, long-lasting wood varies from a pale to a very dark pink. They reach a height of up to 40 metres and attain full maturity only after many centuries, in some cases living as long as 1,200 years o more. …. He had an experienced timber worker helping him to build.
Returning from a trip away – he was appalled to find that the man had disobeyed instructions by felling a huge pine tree close to the building site, when he had been expressly told to get all timber from a distance. Long before conservation became a widely accepted ideal, Gustav considered it essential to live in harmony with his surroundings, making as little impact as possible on the natural environment.
While Gustav constructed Waldheim, Kate managed their farm at Kindred. The chalet was opened to visitors from Christmas 1912. After Kate's death in 1916, Gustav continued to pursue their vision for a national park and was supported by naturalists who had successfully campaigned for the proclamation of the Mt Field National Park.
Waldheim - The Weindorfer's mountain home
The hard work and commitment of the Weindorfers and other activists resulted in the Cradle Mountain scenic reserve being declared in 1922. It became one of Tasmania’s early national parks.
Today, Cradle Mountain is one of Tasmania's most popular visitor destinations.
Activity 3.4 - Park manager