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Cremer, Kurt (1934–2005)

by Kosciuszko National Park Advisory Committee

Kurt Cremer, n.d.

Kurt Cremer, n.d.

Willow infestation in our streams and rivers might not have been recognised as such an important natural resource issue today if not for the work of Kurt Cremer, who sadly passed away on 2nd  June 2005 after a short illness.

Kurt was born in Tehran, Iran on 9th  September, 1934 where his father was helping establish a technical education program. His family was divided by World War II, with Kurt, his mother and four sisters returning to Germany, and his father sent to Australia as a civilian internee.

The family reunited in Sydney in 1950 and became Australian citizens. Kurt obtained his professional forestry qualifications as a forest scientist at the Universities of Sydney and Tasmania. Kurt and Christine Meyer were married in 1959 and raised a family of twin sons and a daughter. Kurt’s forestry research took him to Tasmania and then Canberra with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). He retired as a Principal Research Scientist from the CSIRO in 1987 as an honorary research fellow. Kurt died at the family home “Gurubang”, a rural property near Numeralla NSW, where he and Chris had created an oasis of trees.

Kurt’s main interests of study were fire ecology and natural regeneration in wet eucalypt forests, weather damage in plantations, and other silvicultural problems. During his career, Kurt had many scientific papers published at an international level. He edited a book on Trees for Rural Australia, and won awards for his conservation work. He carried this environmental work into his retirement, including a passion for the nature and effect of willow tree infestations in our streams, where, since 1993 he had been studying the natural spread and control of problem willows.

Kurt was appointed to the Kosciuszko National Park Advisory Committee in 2000. He provided training to Park staff in willow identification and techniques for control. These programs were then implemented along many creeks and rivers under Kurt's watchful eye. He also provided valuable advice to fire managers, serving as a member of the Cooma Snowy Bush Fire Management Committee. His work has inspired many that had contact with him. As a result, he has been the major influence in the establishment of control and eradication programs for willow species in southeast NSW, and particularly in Kosciuszko National Park. This ongoing work will be recognised as his bequest to future generations and the natural environment.

Kurt’s work will continue to have a resounding influence on Australian river managers for a very long time. At the time of his passing, he was developing advice on willow trees and water use to assist in the control of problem willows in irrigation districts of the Murrumbidgee valley.

Original publication

  • Obituaries Australia, August 2005

Citation details

Kosciuszko National Park Advisory Committee, 'Cremer, Kurt (1934–2005)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/cremer-kurt-19145/text30714, accessed 13 December 2017.

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