New management for Mt Hart

BEN JONES

The Department of Environment and Conservation will take over management of the Mt Hart Wilderness Lodge after former manager Taffy Abbotts agreed to relinquish control of the Gibb River Road property.

A war of words erupted between Mr Abbotts and the department earlier this year after Mr Abbotts was asked to leave the popular tourist property he had managed since 1991.

Mr Abbotts was originally offered $200,000 for the improvements and work done on the property during his stint as manager, work he valued earlier this year at $1.9 million.

He has since agreed to an undisclosed amount to leave the property and packed up and left last weekend. The department’s deputy directory-general of parks and conservation, Jim Sharp, said the department appreciated Mr Abbotts’ contribution.

“I am pleased that we have been able to end our association with Mr Abbotts on a positive note and I wish him well with his next venture,” he said.

Mr Abbots confirmed he was leaving the station voluntarily.

“I hope those who take over the running of that special place I have called home, and cared for, will do it justice and continue to conserve the historic homesteads and gardens for both the people of the Kimberley and wider Australia,” Mr Abbotts said. He and his partner were planning to make a fresh start elsewhere in the Kimberley.

“We are moving to a bare bush block with no power, no internet and we are going to rebuild our lives brick-by-brick,” he told the Broome Advertiser.

The department will continue to operate Mt Hart as a tourism facility.