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Almost a walker's paradise: A history of the Cradle Mt-Lake StClair Scenic Reserve to May 1922


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Jetson, T 2005 , 'Almost a walker's paradise: A history of the Cradle Mt-Lake StClair Scenic Reserve to May 1922', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis traces the transformation of the Cradle Mt-Lake StClair National Park
from waste land to a mecca for bushwalkcrs. It is based on the premise that walking
in wild places does not occur until walking is a valued pastime, such places are
identified, appreciated and made accessible, and there is a group with the affluence,
time, and inclination to walk there. Romantic, and later environmental, ideology
underpinning this development provided a framework within which colonists viewed
the landscape. Aborigines and later European pastoralists, hunters, piners and
miners modified the landscape, and explorers, government and private, discovered
and made known the area. The continuing search for grazing lands and gold made
the area more accessible to the general public. From the mid 19th century the
number of walkers, including women, increased from a few to a steady trickle.
Most were educated middle and upper class professionals and nearly all relied on
locals, often hunters and prospectors, as guides. Although attitudes to the land
remained predominantly utili tarian throughout the 19th century, there always existed
a minority whose appreciation was aesthetic. Expressing approval in Australian
tenns was a slow process and even by May 1922 when the area became a scenic
reserve some comparisons were unmistakably British. Many forces contributed to
this evolution. Some were Australian adaptations of international concerns such as
the influence of natural history, a perceived need to protect and preserve naive flora
and fauna and reserve lands from exploitative land uses. An ever increasing proportion of native born in the population grew up knowing no other landscape.
The works of artists and photographers played a central role in awakening this new
appreciation. International examples provided models for land protection and
indicated potential economic benefits from tourism to national parks. Tourism
bodies and scientific associations coalesced to lobby successfully for national parks
and scenic reserves. Passage of the Scenery Preservation Act 1915 and creation of
the National Park, 1916, signified government approval for these new ideas. Gustav
Weindorfer, Clive Lord, ET Emmett and Fred Smithies spearheaded a campaign for
a national park for the Cradle Mt-Lake St Clair area. Pressure from mining and
hunting groups ensured that a compromise, a scenic reserve, was reached. The
decision recognised bushwalking as one component of tourism-recreation
dominance as exploitative land uses continued within or surrounding The Reserve.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Jetson, T
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