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Waldheim Chalet preserved for the future


Tasmanian heritage conservation pioneer Gustav Weindorfer’s replica cottage Waldheim at Cradle Mountain looks set to withstand the elements for decades to come when conservation works are complete.

Gustav Weindorfer pushed for the preservation of the Cradle Mountain area as ‘a national park for all people for all time’ and built Waldheim, German for ‘forest home’ as a chalet for visitors in 1911.

The mountain weather took its toll on the timber structure over the decades and it had deteriorated to such an extent that the decision was taken by the then Parks and Wildlife Service to demolish it and replace it with a replica structure on the same spot. This was completed in 1976.

Cradle ranger and heritage carpenter Ted Bugg is managing the project to restore the structure, thanks to an Australian Government Jobs Fund grant totalling $491,000 for works on Cradle Mountain walking tracks and at Waldheim. The Waldheim component of the project is about $53,000.

“The importance of the chalet itself is that it represents the origin of heritage conservation and national parks in Tasmania and for that it has both national and international significance,” Mr Bugg said.

Mr Bugg said Gustav Weindorfer was a visionary, for pushing for the area to be declared a scenic reserve and wildlife sanctuary.

A large part of the conservation works involves the replacement or repair of weathered and decayed materials such as roofing shakes or shingles, wall palings and pole frames that support the building on both the bathhouse and the chalet.

At the chalet, a new section of roof with a steeper pitch has been constructed to provide better drainage of rainwater and reduce damp problems within the building. Roof shakes, or shingles, are of peppermint and king billy pine, chosen to match the original in appearance and durability.

Friends of Cradle Valley spokesman John Wilson said they are very pleased the work is going ahead and also with the craftsmanship being displayed by heritage carpenter Tim Youlden.

"I think it's iconic. I think it should never be allowed to fall into disrepair because it means so much to the whole of the story of the valley and the story of the national parks system in Australia," Mr Wilson said.

Waldheim Chalet preserved for the future

The bathhouse has a new roof and timber inside has been replaced.

Waldheim Chalet preserved for the future

Heritage carpenter Tim Youlden working on the new roof section of the chalet.

Waldheim Chalet preserved for the future

Ranger Ted Bugg and Friends of Cradle member Peter Sims discuss the works.

Waldheim Chalet preserved for the future

The Waldheim Chalet.

Waldheim Chalet preserved for the future

Conservation works are focussing on replacing decayed material such as this verandah post.

Waldheim Chalet preserved for the future

Friends of Cradle members John Wilson and Peter Sims inspected the works this week.