Q & A – Stefanie Wernekinckadmin
Local favourites, sharing their insider tips on places and things to do on and around Tamborine Mountain – Your gold coast hinterland!
Stefanie Wernekinck and her brother Anton Schafroth manage the family-owned German Cuckoo Clock Nest at Gallery Walk on Long Road, Tamborine Mountain. Scenic News last week caught up with Stefanie at the renowned tourist destination which continues to preserve beautiful mechanical forms of time in an ever-changing technological world.
When and why was German Cuckoo Clock Nest opened?
My parents, Lothar and Sigrid Schafroth, started the business in 1994. They moved our family of five from Toowoomba and started the shop in a little cottage behind the St. Bernard’s Hotel. My father lined the walls of the cottage in timber and created a clockface entrance and ramp from the carpark to the cottage. Perhaps they chose Tamborine Mountain because it offers beautiful natural surroundings, a small but strong community and the opportunity to build their own business.
The mountain certainly shares similarities with the small towns and villages of their homeland in southern Germany. They ran with the idea of a German clock and souvenir shop based on the success of similar tourist attractions in the clock making regions of the Black Forest and other southern towns in Germany. It was a leap of faith to build the Bavarian chalet on Gallery Walk, and the duo worked six to seven days a week for a solid decade until the business could afford to employ more staff.
How did you survive the impacts of COVID-19 in 2020?
COVID-19 was a very uncertain time for the German Cuckoo Clock Nest team. We were grateful to receive JobKeeper for our 11 staff. We also have an online shop and clock repair business which kept us all ticking over nicely during the quieter times of the 2020 pandemic. A big thank you to all the locals who support our business in one way or the other.
What did you do before becoming involved in the business?
I completed a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education, working in community arts and events management, as well as a short period of part-time teaching.
How would you describe the business?
The chalet of 1000 clocks! The Cuckoo Clock Nest is a tourist icon which has been on Tamborine Mountain for 26 years. Our business is a celebration of my family’s cultural heritage, offering handmade products which are unique and long lasting.
What is it about your business that you love?
I love that the clocks never cease to fascinate their visitors, enthralling people of all ages with their incredible mechanical workings and wonders. The products are rich in cultural history and stories, and we share this knowledge with our customers.
Is it a business that gives you satisfaction?
Our work is meaningful to us because we deliver a very high standard of service and product to our clients. I’m also grateful to have the opportunity to work and reside in the beautiful community of Tamborine Mountain.
If you were not doing this what would your ideal job be?
I would really enjoy working abroad being a translator for various languages, or I would also really love to be a part of the arts industry, specifically music and theatre.
Interesting facts about yourself?
I love gardening because it’s so good for the soul. There is nothing better than successfully growing your own organic produce.
What do you do for fun?
I practise yoga, play guitar and love to cook.
The simple pleasures in life are the most precious. Stay positive, be kind and make time for yourself.