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The Mt Kate house is a small picturesque bush cabin located on the Ronny Creek flats. The land was owned by Major R E (Ronny) Smith (the principal private landholder in the Cradle Valley and a close friend and neighbour of Gustav Weindorfer)
The house was built as the homestead associated with the Cradle Valley timber mill and is the only structure surviving from the timber milling industry. By association, the Mt Kate house has a high cultural significance.
it was the demand for timber that provided the real impetus for road construction into the valley. In 1941 the Commonwealth Government, acting under its wartime powers, funded the major reconstruction of the Cradle Mountain Road from a rough cart track to an all-weather vehicular track.
Whereas previously timber-getters had only been able to remove whole logs from the valley, the new road allowed milled timber to be transported directly from Cradle Valley. A timber mill for King Billy pine operated in the valley from the 1930s through to the 1970s.
In 1945 the adjoining land owned by Major Smith was resumed by the Crown and incorporated into the Cradle Mountain Reserve.
In 1971 the reserve was proclaimed a State Reserve under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1970, and responsibility for the area was transferred from the Scenery Preservation Board to the newly formed National Parks and Wildlife Service.
At this time the land on which the mill and a private lodge (‘Blandfordia’) stood was resumed by the Crown for inclusion in the park. Logging ceased in the valley in 1972. The mill was removed and its site is now being actively rehabilitated, but the old homestead (the Mt Kate house) remains and is is currently used for temporary accommodation by park staff, seasonal rangers and track maintenance crews.
Taken with Pentax k-r on 14 December 2012.
Lens Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6