Cradle Mountain

Postcard of Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake (Tasmaniana Library, SLT)

Earlier called Ribbed Rock, this iconic peak was renamed the more evocative Cradle Mountain by Van Diemen's Land Company surveyor Joseph Fossey. The name was due to the 1545-metre mountain's now-familiar dipping profile between the main summit and Little Horn.

Henry Hellyer is often credited with the first ascent in 1831, but Binks puts the case that Fossey may have climbed it in 1828 when trying to establish a route between Surrey Hills near Saint Valentine's Peak and the central plateau.

Gustav Weindorfer and his Tasmanian wife Kate both played an immense role in having the Cradle Mountain area declared a National Park, and also in popularising it as a tourist destination after they built Waldheim Chalet in 1912.

After climbing the peak with friends in 1910, Weindorfer said: 'This must be a National Park for the people for all time. It is magnificent, and people must know about it and enjoy it'. If you go up there on a sunny summer's day, you will quickly realise that they do and they are.

In autumn, the slopes of Cradle are one of the most accessible locations to admire the golden hues of the deciduous beech.

Further reading: I Boss-Walker, Peaks and high places, Hobart, 1950; J Siseman & J Chapman, Cradle Mountain, Lake St Clair and Walls of Jerusalem National Parks, Melbourne, 1980; N Haygarth, A view to Cradle, Canberra, 1998;B Wilkinson (ed), The Tasmanian Abels, Hobart, 1995;M Giordano, A Man and a Mountain, Hobart, 1987; C Binks, Explorers of Western Tasmania, Devonport, 1986.

John Cannon