Jenae Johnston ran meditation classes which Tanja Ludwig attended before her death.
Jenae Johnston ran meditation classes which Tanja Ludwig attended before her death.

Chilling detail behind mum and child’s cliff plunge

A woman and her toddler found dead at the bottom of a NSW lookout frequently visited the site prior to the suspected murder-suicide, according to an associate.

The bodies of Tanja Ludwig, 33, and her two-year-old daughter Tilly were recovered from the base of the cliff below Robertson Lookout at Mt Keira near Wollongong on Tuesday afternoon.

The tragic discovery came after emergency services were called to the site following reports of a concern for welfare.

It's believed Ms Ludwig, originally from Germany, plunged to her death in dense bushland with the child in her arms. Wollongong police have launched an investigation and are treating the deaths as a murder suicide. A report will be prepared for the coroner.

Bushwalk the Gong founder Jenae Johnston said she was friendly with Ms Ludwig, and that the pair had walked through bushland at Mt Keira together just a fortnight ago. According to Ms Johnston, it was Ms Ludwig's "favourite place" and "there was only love and gratitude when she spoke".

"Tanja loved the bush," Ms Johnston wrote in a Facebook post.

"She attended many of the meditation events we held in the rainforest under Robertson Lookout.

"Her last conversation with me, less than a fortnight ago, we walked along the pathway together in the rainforest and she shared how she had brought her German friends that were visiting here for walk as it was her favourite place."

Ms Ludwig also spoke about "how much her daughter loved the trees and how she ran along the pathway enjoying it so much", according to Ms Johnston. 

"(Ms Ludwig) told me of the new trails they had explored together and the big tree she found," she said.

"She just loved this place and was always so thankful for the experience of being in nature, meditating and staring up into the tree canopy.

"She was thankful that she could come to this place to feel so relaxed and restored.

"The last place I saw her was under the view of Robertson Lookout sharing a tea."

The bodies of Tanya Ludwig and her two-year-old daughter were recovered from the base of the cliff below Robertson's Lookout, at Mt Keira, near Wollongong, NSW. Picture: Justin Lloyd.
The bodies of Tanya Ludwig and her two-year-old daughter were recovered from the base of the cliff below Robertson's Lookout, at Mt Keira, near Wollongong, NSW. Picture: Justin Lloyd.

Ms Johnston said she was shocked to learn of Ms Ludwig and her daughter's deaths, particularly because of where they had occurred.

"I could never of expected that you would lose your life in a place you loved so much. I just never knew," she wrote.

"I looked through my photos this afternoon of you in one of your favourite places in the rainforest.

"Eyes closed in meditation, palms in prayer position in thanks and gratitude.

"I will always remember you in peace Tanja, peace in your favourite place."

Ms Ludwig recently split from her partner in amicable circumstances and had been living with her daughter in a granny flat in the Wollongong suburb of Coniston, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Her final public Facebook post, published on December 17, shared a list of suicide prevention and counselling services, including Lifeline, Beyond Blue, Mensline and Relationships Australia, titled "It's a really tough time of year for people".

"It's ok not to be ok," Ms Ludwig wrote in the caption. "We all need support sometimes."

A picture of a beaming Ms Ludwig also referred to Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Awareness awareness week. Her profile was bombarded with tributes as news of her and her child's death began filtering out.

"I wish I did know you so I could've tried to help you find light in the dark," one local wrote on Wednesday.

Tanja Ludwig is believed to have jumped to her death holding her two-year-old daughter Tilly (pictured).
Tanja Ludwig is believed to have jumped to her death holding her two-year-old daughter Tilly (pictured).

Anti-domestic violence project, The Red Heart Campaign, mourned Ms Ludwig's child as the seventh young life killed this year.

Flowers have been laid near the lookout by members of the community touched by the tragedy.

An eerily similar incident took place on April 18, 2002, where a woman, 31, jumped off the same cliff holding her five-year-old son.

In that tragedy, the child miraculously survived the fall with his mother's body taking the brunt of the ­impact, The Sydney Morning Herald reported at the time.

If you or someone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 44 or Beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

megan.palin@news.com.au | @Megan_Palin


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