Images of a Big Island

Tough as Nails!

With the recent passing of my uncle,I was going through some old photos last night and also watched a video shot by a family friend. The video was of my father recounting his memories about the early days of Cradle Mountain following the death of Gustav Weindorfer.

He mentioned that Waldheim Chalet and surrounding land was eventually purchased by the Connell family and run as a guesthouse for a period and it was this family who put in many of the tracks in the area that are still in use today. In those days it would have been hard physical labour indeed as it was all done by hand including the cutting of the timber “cordoruy” used in lowlying areas to make walking easier.

I have posted before about the Ellis brothers who originally built what is now known as Cradle Mountain Lodge back in the ’70s. Ossie Ellis, over the years surveyed,marked and cut many of the day walking tracks around the lodge  that I have been fortunate enough to walk over the years. One of my favourites is the Canyon track which can be quite challenging in places!

On one of my recent visits to the area I went for a walk along the track to some hidden falls and was delighted to see that some of the original cordorouy & original marker posts that Ossie put in were still there albeit in sad disrepair in places.

Even though helicopters were used to drop materials closer to the more remote parts of the track, the labour involved in putting it all in would have been huge as all the boards were split by hand, tied together by wire and nailed where needed. Not to mention the digging of drains and levelling where needed! Ossie was in his ’60s at the time.

Eventually the miles of cordorouy that Ossie and some friends put in will rot away or be replaced by timber walkways which will conform to safety standards and constructed by teams of builders & volounteers

This image is my homage to a breed of men & their skills that are slowly disappearing into the mist of time.

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