Mount Wellington cable car proposals

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Mount Wellington.jpg

Mount Wellington (Tasmania) is a dominant feature on the skyline above Hobart, in Tasmania, Australia.

An aerial cableway (cable car) from Hobart to the peak of the mountain, has been proposed for the mountain on four occasions.

Early proposals[edit]

The first two of these pre-dated the construction of Pinnacle Road. In 1905, Arnold Wertheimer proposed the construction of an aerial cableway (at the time referred to as an "aerial railway") from The Springs to the Pinnacle of Mt Wellington,[1][2] and in 1906 established The Mount Wellington Aerial Railway Company Ltd.[3] This proposal was soon modified to run from Cascades to the pinnacle,[4] but in the end never eventuated.

The concept was shelved until 1931, when an Aerial Tramway proposal involving a nine-minute journey from The Springs to the pinnacle was publicised.[5] Included in this was a kiosk and observation deck, as well as the potential to provide for skiing on the slopes at the rear of the mountain.

After construction of Pinnacle Road was completed in 1937, momentum for an aerial cableway slowed. While general access to the pinnacle was easily available, justification for later cableway developments included the inability to access the pinnacle on periods of high snowfall;[6] the growth of Tasmania as a tourism destination;[6] and, since the increase of climate change awareness in the later parts of the 20th century, the environmental impact of motor vehicle pollution.[citation needed]

1987 proposal[edit]

The next proposal did not come forward until 1987, when the first of three proposals by Hobart engineer Tim Burbury was announced. The 1987 proposal, by Burbury's company Trinity Projects, was to feature a hotel on the pinnacle serviced by a cable car based at Fern Tree. The public opposition was high enough that the plan was dropped before it went into detailed design.[7] In 1993, Burbury relaunched a modified proposal, estimated to cost A$31 million, known as Skyway. It featured a change of base location, to a hill near Cascade Brewery, and used two high capacity carriages to transport passengers.[8] At the pinnacle, the hotel proposal was dumped for a restaurant, and added a ski field at the rear of the mountain. Again, there was strong public opposition to this plan – including a reduction of privacy of residents near the lower part of the cable car, and destruction of the natural alpine environment.[7] The third revision of Burbury's plan was announced in 2004, including an alternate route, change from a large carriage to a series of smaller gondolas, a modified pinnacle centre design and removal of the ski field component of the project.[8][9]

2014 proposal[edit]

After Burbury's death in 2010, Hobart businessman and entrepreneur Adrian Bold took on a renewed focus to develop a cable car for Mt Wellington. Several years of advocacy, feasibility assessment and preliminary design, culminated in a formal launch on 16 April 2014 of a two-part route from Cascade Brewery to a pinnacle centre at the summit, including a restaurant, café and function centre.[10][11] The proponent's partner, Toronto-based company BullWheel International, announced in November 2015, that it no longer had any involvement with the cable car proposal.[12]

The issue continued to be in public discussion over the years. [13][14][15]


The planning and construction of a cable car has been beset by a range of issues. [16]

The cable car proposal remains a divisive issue with opposition to the idea being led by a South Hobart based group.[17] A number of social media groups have been established both for and against the concept. Most recently a social media group has been formed which supports a cable car.

The proposal continues to be modified, [18] and versions now number those which avoid various stumbling points [19] [20] [21]


  1. ^ "Advertising". The Mercury. Hobart, Tasmania. 24 May 1905. p. 1. Retrieved 4 February 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ "Advertising". The Mercury. Hobart, Tasmania. 7 June 1905. p. 3. Retrieved 4 February 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "Advertising". The Mercury. Hobart, Tasmania. 13 April 1906. p. 8. Retrieved 4 February 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "Advertising". The Mercury. Hobart, Tasmania. 12 October 1906. p. 1. Retrieved 4 February 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "AERIAL TRAMWAY". The Mercury. Hobart, Tasmania. 14 July 1931. p. 7. Retrieved 4 February 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ a b "Snow go for peak fun". The Mercury. 2 August 2004.
  7. ^ a b Andrew Darby (17 August 1993). "Hobart's Mountain of Dreams". The Age. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Furore free hope on new cable car". The Mercury. 14 July 2004.
  9. ^ "Cable car mooted for Mt Wellington". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 13 July 2004. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  10. ^ Mount Wellington Cableway Company, MWCC Project Status
  11. ^ "Cascade's wildcard role with cable car". The Mercury. 16 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Australian Broadcasting Corporation. News (9 March 2010), A mountain of an election issue, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, retrieved 19 May 2018
  14. ^ Australian Broadcasting Corporation. News (13 April 2012), Beautiful view but where's the coffee?, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, retrieved 19 May 2018
  15. ^ Australian Broadcasting Corporation. News (8 May 2013), Liberals vow to open Mt Wellington to development, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, retrieved 19 May 2018
  16. ^ Felicity Ogilvie; Australian Broadcasting Corporation. News (1000), Cable car construction on Mount Wellington ordered to stop, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, retrieved 19 May 2018
  17. ^ Respect the Mountain - No Cable Car (Organisation : Tas.) (author.) (2014), Respect the Mountain, [Tasmania] Respect the Mountain - No Cable Car, retrieved 19 May 2018
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