Mueller 2014 Aug

Mt Mueller, 2014 August.

The real Mt Mueller summit from the ever-so-slightly lower eastern one.
In the 1800s, Baron Ferdinand von Mueller was a spokesperson who helped change and shape public opinion towards Australian native flora and thus has a role in the history of the development of National Parks. Von Mueller, as Government Botanist for 43 years, was listened to when he spoke about matters arboreal. In an age when those with power were ripping out Australian trees in areas that we now know as national parks, and were allowing grazing of cattle, sheep and goats – and even releasing rabbits into the area (to force it into “a proper state of culture”) – von Mueller called for the protection of native forests.

In a public lecture in 1861, he went so far as to declare that trees have rights (echoing, for me, the words of Goethe who wrote about “die Rechte der Natur” [the rights of nature] and Blake who opined that “everything that lives is Holy”). Further, he argued that trees are “a gift entrusted to us” during our short stay on earth and that we have a responsibility to pass them on to the next generation “as an unimpaired property”.

View from the second highest point on the eastern ridge line.

It is fitting that he has been given a mountain in Tasmania (he climbed Mt Wellington whilst here, no mean undertaking in those days). He also has mountains named after him in QLD, NT, WA and on an island in the north Atlantic, a mountain range in New Guinea, a glacier (and a lovely hut) in NZ and a waterfall in Brazil, as well as plants that bear his name, such as Boronia muelleri that grows in my garden.

Looking down on the Needles.
Looking back at the eastern half of the mountain. This is a “two for the price of one” peak.
On Sunday, at last, I climbed his Tasmanian mountain, often seen, but with access problems due to the inevitable Tasmanian locked gate syndrome. It also doesn’t help that the access roads are not on the map – and, of course, neither is the track. I find it odd that Tasmania wants tourists and their money, yet at the same time fails to provide information on places like this that they could go to. If we gave them better (free) access to these places, they may well stay in our state longer, as there would be more to do. For locals, the need for a key makes this a good walk to do with a club. I let Graham from Pandani club do this irksome key-work for me.
Looking back along the final scramble section. The saddle is to the right.

There is a very visible track with pink ribbons leading from where the Abels book tells you to park. Said track is overgrown, requiring goose-stepping so as not to trip on horizontal arms of bauera, but it’s there, and marks the easiest way through the tangle. After 30 minutes of battling this (and mud), the vegetation changes, as does the gradient, and the remaining 30 mins to Fossil Lake are easier to travel. Don’t look forward too much to the lake. I can’t think of a lake that I find less attractive. Although natural, it resembles an artificial dam with the dead trees and mud around its circumference, legacy of a previously higher water level. (In terms of measured moving times, the lake represents the half-way mark to the western – real – summit).

Me, having fun on top. Mt Anne group in background.

After the lake, the pad becomes very narrow (a human foot wide), but still easily visible until you reach the eastern summit of the mountain. From there its presence is patchy, but you don’t need it: all you do is stay high and enjoy the views and the pleasant ramble along the tops of the eastern high section that curves around and then descends to a saddle, after which there is a final scramble (which has cairns every now and then – they’re not needed either) to the top.

The view from both summits was expansive with innumerable mountains and ridges and ranges to be admired. Unfortunately for photography, the day was rather hazy, outlines not sharp and the lighting was flat. I hadn’t even bothered taking up my full-frame camera, but that was mostly because I was expecting it to rain in the afternoon. It held off, a favour for which, considering my pet virus which is still an unwanted bodyguest, I am extremely grateful.

From the saddle on the descent

See:
Mosley, Geoff, Natural for World Heritage, Appendix C
Harper, Melissa, The Ways of the Bushwalker, 42
Fairfax, Louise, Complexity and Paradigm Change, Melbourne University and   Harris-Manchester, Oxford University, libraries.

2 Replies to “Mueller 2014 Aug”

  1. Hi Jude, It would be a huge and unpleasant road walk without the key. Do you not belong to a club? That is always the easiest way to get into such places (and the reason I climbed that one – and any other ones that involve getting permission to have a gate unlocked – with a club. I prefer to do day walks with a friend or solo.) If you don't, I suggest phoning Parks and asking them how you can get in. The key is stored in Hobart in a govt office. If you go with a club, they do all the spadework for you. HWC went there 17 Nov. its you didn't ask earlier. Geoff Morffew 0427232174 got the key for that one. Maybe he wouldn't mind helping you.

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