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Kate Cowle was born in Fingal in 1863 where she was one of nine children. Kate’s family moved to a farm in Devonport in the early 1880’s and upon the death of her father in 1894 she obtained financial and personal independence. She moved to Melbourne and joined the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria in 1902 to further her interest in botany. It was as an active member of this club that she was to meet her future husband and business partner Gustav Weindorfer.
In 1906, against the wishes of her family, she married Gustav. They spent their honeymoon on Mount Roland collecting and classifying plant species. It was here that Weindorfer first saw Cradle Mountain. In 1910 Kate and Gustav each purchased 200 acres of land on Cradle Mountain that was later to form the base for the development of their tourism venture.
Their dream was to establish a park for all people for all time. The park was the forerunner to Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National where visitors are more than happy to pay for an unforgettable wilderness experience. Unfortunately Kate did not live long enough to see the realisation of the dream as she died on the 26th April 1916 after a long battle with illness. She will always be remembered as playing a key role in the beginnings of Tasmania’s tourism industry at Cradle Mountain before WW1.
Schnackenberg, S., Kate Weindorfer - The Woman Behind the Man and the Mountain, Launceston: Regal Publications, 1995