It was an honour to present Mr Josef Oetterli of Sheffield with his Kate and Gustav Weindorfer Honours List award from the Friends of Cradle Valley in recognition of his life-time contribution to the Cradle Valley community.
Josef is 84 now, and a resident of the Tandara Lodge. For seventeen years, following in the traditions of the Connell family, Austrian Frans Eselboc, and Gordon and Joan Saunders, Josef was the Manager and Head Ranger of Cradle Valley, living on site with his wife Maria and their two children Margaret and Tony in the new ranger’s residence.
When he arrived in North-West Tasmania from Switzerland about fifty years ago, Josef says he liked what he saw so much that he decided then and there that he would never leave. “It is such a beautiful country”, he says. “Especially the mountains”.
Being a Parks and Wildlife Ranger in Cradle Valley in those “olden days” was vastly different to what happens now. “It was very remote”, he said. Like his predecessors at Waldheim, Josef played host to all the visitors to the valley. It was his job to promote the valley and to get to know everyone who arrived, as well as personally directing groups to the various natural attractions to ensure their safety and well-being.
Josef says he always made sure they had “a good time” as well, so that they would enthuse about their experiences in the Cradle area when they went home. “They were like satisfied customers, and they would spread the word about Cradle Valley better than any Government advertising could ever have done”, he said.
Written by John Wilson, Apr 2014