Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park celebrates centenary

Jacquie Petrusma,Minister for Parks

This week marks the 100th anniversary of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park being proclaimed as a protected area in Tasmania, providing the opportunity to reflect on the significance and importance of this site to Tasmania.

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is one of Tasmania’s iconic visitor destinations and is a major visitor drawcard to the state.

Well before Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair was proclaimed as a protected area in Tasmania, it was the country of the Big River Tribe and the site holds immense cultural significance.

It is a place of deep spiritual connection to creation stories, especially as Tasmanian Aboriginal people first lived and cared for and protected this beautiful country for at least 40,000 years.

A couple who understood the need to continue this legacy, and to ensure that this area continues to be cared and protected for was Gustav and Kate Weindorfer who built their rustic alpine chalet ‘Waldheim’ in 1912.

It is not too hard to imagine how Gustav fell in love with the Park, famously declaring in 1910 from the summit of Cradle Mountain: “This must be a National Park for the people for all time. It is magnificent and people must know about it and enjoy it”.

It was this call for action that began the reservation of land in 1922, with 158,000 acres between Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair proclaimed as a Scenic Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary.

Then in 1927, 63 990 hectares, including Cradle Mountain, were set aside as a reserve. In 1971 ‘The Reserve’ became what we now know as the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.

Importantly, the visitor growth for the national park over the years has been significant which is why continuing to invest in improvements is a priority for the Tasmanian Liberal Government.

A range of projects to limit and manage visitor impacts to the Park and the Overland Track have been invested in to protect the natural and cultural values of the Park while also ensuring a world class visitor experience.

This includes the new Cradle Mountain visitor centre and amenities, walker huts and shelters, improved road access and parking facilities, an extensive walking track network, the introduction of the shuttle bus system, and the new Dove Lake viewing shelter, which will open in Spring this year.

We have truly come a long way in 100 years, and I would like to congratulate all the staff from the Parks and Wildlife Service for the work undertaken to preserve this special place.

As this week is also National Volunteer Week, I would also like to thank the powerhouse of our committed Parks and Wildlife volunteers, including Wildcare Friends of Cradle Mountain, and all our other individual volunteers as well as other volunteer groups right across our beautiful state.

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