Pine Hill Soak Conservation Park VKFF-1078

It was now day two of the 2021 VKFF Activation Weekend, Sunday 28th November 2021. Marija and I had three parks to activate.

To kick off the morning we headed to Subway for some coffee and some Bacon & Egg rolls.

We then headed southeast out of Bordertown to our first park of the day, the Pine Hill Soak Conservation Park VKFF-1078. The park is located about 301 km south-east of Adelaide, and about 30 km south of the town of Bordertown.

Above:- Map showing the location of the Pine Hill Soak CP. Map c/o Google maps

The park is located at the intersection of Frances Road and McCarthy Road. There is scrub to the north and east of the park, but this is not part of Pine Hill Soak Conservation Park.

Above:- An aerial shot of the park. Image c/o Google maps

The Pine Hill Soak Conservation Park is about 51 hectares (130 acres) in size and was established on the 17th day of September 1987.

Above:- SA Govt Gazette re Pine Hill Soak CP.

The park’s name is derived from a soak known as Pine Hill Soak which is located near the southern boundary of the park. A soak or soakage, is a source of water and is so called because the water generally seeps into the and, and is stored below, sometimes as part of an ephemeral river or creek.

The park consists of Brown Stringybark open forest with desert Banksia with some River Red Gum and South Australian Blue Gum. The park also contains Native Pine.

During our visit to the park, there were a number of plants in flower.

It was a beautiful warm morning, with not a cloud in the sky. The moon was out in all its glory.

It was incredibly quiet in the park except for the occasional screech of a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo flying overhead.

Marija and I were set up and ready to go in the park by about 9.30 a.m. South Australian local time. We spent hours in the park and operated on 20, 40, & 80m SSB using the Yaesu FT857d, 40 watts, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole.

We made a total of 116 QSOs, which included 52 Park to Park contacts.

Band conditions on 40m were much better compared to Saturday.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB before the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK5CZ/p (Leven Beach Conservation Park VKFF-0814)
  2. VK4AAC/p (Shelbourne Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2189)
  3. VK2VH/p (Shelbourne Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2189)
  4. VK7DW/p (Mount Barrow State Reserve VKFF-1818)
  5. VK4GHW/p (Ravensbourne National Park VKFF-0427)
  6. VK3PF/p (Sale Common Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2431)
  7. VK5BJE/p (Mylor Conservation Park VKFF-0785)
  8. VK4MGL/p (Crows Nest National Park VKFF-0121)
  9. VK3BEL
  10. VK3BBB
  11. VK2CCP
  12. VK2PKT
  13. VK3EJS
  14. VK7QP
  15. VK3HEW
  16. VK2MOP
  17. VK3DNQ
  18. VK5HS/m
  19. VK5PE/m
  20. VK2IO/p (Sydney Harbour National Park VKFF-0473)
  21. VK5IS
  22. VK5FANA
  23. VK3DAC
  24. VK5BJF
  25. VK3PF/p (Holey Plains State Park VKFF-0758)

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB after the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK5IS
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK3PF/p (Holey Plains State Park VKFF-0758)
  4. VK2IO/p (Sydney Harbour National Park VKFF-0473)
  5. VK1MA
  6. VK3SQ
  7. VK2LX
  8. VK2LEE
  9. VK4MGL/p (Crows Nest National Park VKFF-0121)
  10. VK3GTV
  11. VK5MRE
  12. VK3VIN
  13. VK2YK/p (Watts Gully Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2886)
  14. VK2MG/p (Wyrrabalong National Park VKFF-0550)
  15. VK3SMW
  16. VK3MCA/p (Gisborne Flora Reserve VKFF-2322)
  17. VK3MPR
  18. VK7QP
  19. VK3FIMD
  20. VK3PF/p (Giffard Flora Reserve VKFF-2321)
  21. VK5NBL
  22. VK3ZNR
  23. VK3PEF/p (Greater Bendigo National Park VKFF-0623)
  24. VK3ZK/p (Echuca Regional Park VKFF-0966)
  25. VK2HRX/p (Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041)
  26. VK4AAC/p (Wilsons Hill Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2230)
  27. VK2VH/p (Wilsons Hill Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2230)
  28. VK3PF/p (Mullungdung Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2406)

Marija worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK1MF/p (Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve VKFF-0835)
  2. VK4MGL/p (Crows Nest National Park VKFF-0121)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB before the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK5CZ/p (Leven Beach Conservation Park VKFF-0814)
  2. VK4AAC/p (Shelbourne Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2189)
  3. VK2VH/p (Shelbourne Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2189)
  4. VK5IS
  5. VK3JP
  6. VK3EJS
  7. VK7DW/p (Mount Barrow State Reserve VKFF-1818)
  8. VK4JAZ/p (Venman Bushland Conservation Park VKFF-0507)
  9. VK2VW
  10. VK2HFI
  11. VK3SQ
  12. VK3PI
  13. VK3YE/p
  14. VK4GHW/p (Ravensbourne National Park VKFF-0427)
  15. VK3PF/p (Sale Common Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2431)
  16. VK5BJE/p (Mylor Conservation Park VKFF-0785)
  17. VK3VIN
  18. VK3AMO
  19. VK1DI
  20. VK5FANA
  21. VK3MLU
  22. VK5KLV
  23. VK1DA
  24. VK4MGL/p (Crows Nest National Park VKFF-0121)
  25. VK2IO/p (Sydney Harbour National Park VKFF-0473)
  26. VK3PF/p (Holey Plains State Park VKFF-0758)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB after the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK3PF/p (Holey Plains State Park VKFF-0758)
  2. VK2IO/p (Sydney Harbour National Park VKFF-0473)
  3. VK4MGL/p (Crows Nest National Park VKFF-0121)
  4. VK2YK/p (Watts Gully Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2886)
  5. VK2MG/p (Wyrrabalong National Park VKFF-0550)
  6. VK3MCA/p (Gisborne Flora Reserve VKFF-2322)
  7. VK3PF/p (Giffard Flora Reserve VKFF-2321)
  8. VK3PEF/p (Greater Bendigo National Park VKFF-0623)
  9. VK3FIMD
  10. VK5MRE
  11. VK3MPR
  12. VK5DX
  13. VK5UK
  14. VK7ME
  15. VK3ZK/p (Echuca Regional Park VKFF-0966)
  16. VK3BIB
  17. VK3SQ
  18. VK5WF
  19. VK3CA
  20. VK2HRX/p (Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041)
  21. VK3MKE
  22. VK4AAC/p (Wilsons Hill Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2230)
  23. VK2VH/p (Wilsons Hill Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2230)
  24. Vk7QP
  25. VK2MET/p (Worimi National Park VKFF-0614)
  26. VK3PF/p (Mullungdung Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2406)
  27. VK7MOO
  28. VK5PL
  29. VK3KXR

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6CB
  2. VK1MF/p (Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve VKFF-0835)
  3. VK2NP
  4. VK4BXX
  5. VK4MGL/p (Crows Nest National Park VKFF-0121)
  6. JF7RJM

References.

  1. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_Hill_Soak_Conservation_Park>, viewed 5th December 2021.
  2. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soakage_(source_of_water)>, viewed 5th December 2021.

Wolseley Common Conservation Park VKFF-1125

We packed up at Custon and headed to our third and final park for Saturday 27th November 2021 and Day One of the 2021 VKFF Activation Weekend. Our last park was Wolseley Common Conservation Park VKFF-1125, which is located about 285 km southeast of Adelaide, and about 14 km east of Bordertown.

Above:- Map showing the location of Wolseley. Map c/o Google maps

The Wolseley Common Conservation Park is located on the south-western side of the town of Wolseley.

Above:- An aerial view of the town of Wolseley and the park. Image c/o Location SA Map Viewer.

The park takes its name from the town of Wolseley. In August 1882, a general store was opened on a leased portion of land opposite to what was to become the Wolseley Railway Station. By 1883, the Messrs. Grice and Paterson subdivided a section north of the railway yard into allotments.

In 1884 the area was advertised as follows:-

“in the centre of the great wheat-producing districts of Wimmera and Tatiara being larger than the whole of the Northern areas and infinitely more fertile. Nearly all the wheat and wool must come to Wolseley”.

Above:- Images c/o State Library SA.

In 1884, the Government town of Tatiara was surveyed into 168 allotments, south of the Wolseley railway station. It was proclaimed on the 8th day of May 1884. A school was opened in the same year. On 20th February 1941 the name was changed to Wolseley to conform with the name of the railway station

The town was named after Sir. Garnet Joseph Wolseley (1833-1913), also known as Baron Wolseley, who was the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army.

Above:- Sir Garnet Wolseley. Image c/o Wikipedia

The Wolseley Conservation Park is about 24 hectares (59 acres) in size and was established on the 29th day of November 2001. It was established to protect the nationally threatened Buloke Woodland which is one the last remaining in South Australia.

At least 30 species of bird have been recorded in the park including Yellow Thornbill, White-winged Chough, Red-capped Robin, and Collared Sparrowhawk. The park has 68 native plant species of which 11 are listed as threatened.

The land which is now the Conservation Park was part of the parklands around the town of Wolseley but had a reputation for depasturing animals, the gathering of firewood and the dumping of rubbish. During the Second World War, part of the land on the western side was cleared to create a sports oval.

By the 1960s the land was reported to be bare ground with only a few scattered Buloke trees. The decline of Wolseley as a railway town reduced further impact on the land which is now the park.

Above:- Cleared farming land alongside of the park.

Marija and I drove into the park and found a nice shady spot under some trees. It was a warm day with the temperature in the high twenties.

We operated from Wolseley Common for about 2 hours and made a total of 92 QSOs, including 32 Park to Park contacts.

QSOs were made around Australia and into Japan and New Zealand.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3YV/p (Sweetwater Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2200)
  2. VK5KLV/p (Whyalla Conservation Park VKFF-0808)
  3. VK3LF/p (The Lakes National Park VKFF-0484)
  4. VK4MGL/p (Ravensbourne National Park VKFF-0427)
  5. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  6. VK5FANA
  7. VK7DW
  8. VK3UH
  9. VK2BYF
  10. VK1CT/p (McQuoids Hill Nature Reserve VKFF-0849)
  11. VK2VW
  12. VK2HFI
  13. Vk2YW
  14. VK2NP
  15. Vk7JFD
  16. Vk2PKT
  17. VK3NFS
  18. VK3ACZ
  19. VK3MKE
  20. VK2KA
  21. VK4SMA
  22. VK5CZ/p (Carribie Conservation Park VKFF-0876)
  23. VK3MFU
  24. VK3KXR/p (Swan Bay-Edwards Point Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2444)
  25. VK2EMA
  26. VK3TKK/p (Holden Flora Reserve VKFF-2333)
  27. VK4PRO
  28. VK3FRC
  29. VK3ZPF
  30. VK3PF/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-037 & Bunyip State Park VKFF-0753)
  31. VK4HMI
  32. VK3KXR/p (Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park VKFF-0954)
  33. VK3ZK/p (Echuca Regional Park VKFF-0966)
  34. VK3ANL

Marija worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. ZL4NVW
  2. JF7RJM
  3. VK6JK
  4. ZL1TM
  5. VK6JKP
  6. VK6ADF/p (Dookanooka Nature Reserve VKFF-2962)

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5PE
  2. VK5HS
  3. VK3PF/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-037 & Bunyip State Park VKFF-0753)
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK5LA
  6. VK5CZ/p (Carribie Conservation Park VKFF-0876)
  7. VK3KXR/p (Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park VKFF-0954)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3YV/p (Sweetwater Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2200)
  2. VK2LBL
  3. Vk2BYF
  4. VK5KLV/p (Whyalla Conservation Park VKFF-0808)
  5. VK3LF/p (The Lakes National Park VKFF-0484)
  6. VK4MGL/p (Ravensbourne National Park VKFF-0427)
  7. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  8. VK3UH
  9. VK2PKT
  10. VK2NP
  11. VK1CT/p (McQuoids Hill Nature Reserve VKFF-0849)
  12. VK5CZ/p (Carribie Conservation Park VKFF-0876)
  13. VK3KXR/p (Swan Bay-Edwards Point Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2444)
  14. VK3TKK/p (Holden Flora Reserve VKFF-2333)
  15. VK3FRC
  16. VK7JFD
  17. VK2KA
  18. VK4BXX
  19. VK3MPR
  20. VK4PRO
  21. VK3AMO
  22. VK3ZPF
  23. VK3PF/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-037 & Bunyip State Park VKFF-0753)
  24. Vk4HMI
  25. VK3KXR/p (Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park VKFF-0954)
  26. VK3ZK/p (Echuca Regional Park VKFF-0966)
  27. VK3ANL

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. ZL4NVW
  2. JF7RJM
  3. VK6JK
  4. ZL1TM
  5. VK6JKP
  6. VK6ADF/p (Dookanooka Nature Reserve VKFF-2962)

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS
  2. VK5PE
  3. VK3PF/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-037 & Bunyip State Park VKFF-0753)
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK5LA
  6. VK5CZ/p (Carribie Conservation Park VKFF-0876)
  7. VK5IS
  8. VK3ADX
  9. VK3KXR/p (Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park VKFF-0954)
  10. VK5WU
  11. VK3GTV
  12. VK3UFO

After packing up we stopped to have a look at the old World War Two Wolseley fuel tanks. The site was constructed during the early phase of WW2 with two 120,000 gallon tanks, one 40,000 gallon tank and a barracks. The fuel tanks and barracks were camouflaged to look like farm buildings. Three additional tanks were subsequently added, with the site being disbanded on the 14th day of June 1944.

There are no known surviving photographs taken during the war years of the site. Below is an artists impression of how the area may have looked.

Above:- Image from the Information Board at Wolseley. Painter – Robert ‘Bear’ Cameron.

We also had a look through the town of Wolseley which has a number of interesting information boards all about the history of the buildings in the town.

There is a Wolseley Historical Walk brochure which can be obtained from the Bordertown Visitor Information Centre. I have attached a copy below.

We then decided it was time for a bite to eat, so we called into the Wolseley Hotel. And I am glad we did. It was one of the best pub schnitzels I have had in a long time.

We then drove out to Mundulla and the Mundulla Common hoping to see or hear an endangered Bush Stone Curlew. They are apparently more active on moonlit nights and are more often heard then seen. Sadly we did not see any, but certainly did see and hear plenty of noisy Sulphur Crested Cockatoos.

We then headed back to our motel room. It had been an absolutely brilliant day. Plenty of radio, some sightseeing, and a nice meal.

References.

  1. A Compendium of the Place Names of South Australia, 2021, <https://published.collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 4th December 2021.
  2. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolseley_Common_Conservation_Park>, viewed 4th December 2021.

Custon Conservation Park VKFF-1024

After packing up at Poocher Swamp, Marija and I headed to our second park of the day, the Custon Conservation Park VKFF-1024. The park is located about 298 km southeast of Adelaide and about 27 km southeast of the town of Bordertown.

Above:- Map showing the location of the Custon CP. Map c/o Google maps

Along the way, we stopped to have a look at Wiese’s Horse Dip which was constructed in 1931 by local landholders utilising local timber from bulloak trees. The purpose of the Dip was to control a parasitic itch experienced by the working farm horses, the Clydesdales. The parasitic itch caused great discomfort for the horse’s manes and tails which resulted in them rubbing against fences and thus causing damage.

As a result, the Dip was constructed. Horses were walked into the dip and due to the size of the Clydesdales, the farmers would bucket and sponge a solution over the horses. The Dip was used until the outbreak of the Second World War, and the eventual decline of the use of the Clydesdales.

We drove along Custon Road and crossed over the now disused railway line and we soon reached the park.

Custon Conservation Park is about 64 hectares in size (160 acres) and was established on the 8th day of March 2007. The land originally gained protected area status in 2007, when crown land in section 903 was gazetted as the Custon Conservation Park and was enlarged in 2016 by the addition of additional crown land.

The park consists of grassy woodland of grey box which is listed as ‘endangered in South Australia, with buloke being a co-dominant tree species.

The park takes its name from the town of Custon, which is located about 8 km south of Wolseley, and was proclaimed on the 8th day of December 1881. It was named by Governor Jervois after Reverend William Arthur Purey-Cust (b. 1855. d. 1938).

Prior to the proclamation of the town of Custon, the local railway station was known as ‘University Blocks’. The Custon School opened in 1919 and closed in 1956.

Above:- An aerial view of the Custon Conservation Park. Image c/o Google maps.

I did a little bit of birdwatching and photography from Custon, but I wasn’t overly successful.

Marija and I operated from Custon for about 2 hours and made a total of 94 QSOs including 29 Park to Park contacts.

We operated on the 20, 40, & 80m bands and ran the Yaesu FT857d, 40 watts, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole, inverted vee, supported on the 7-metre telescopic squid pole.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  2. VK3DAC/p (Mount Martha Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2152)
  3. VK3LF/p (Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park VKFF-0747)
  4. VK2YAK/p (Tewantin National Park VKFF-1318)
  5. VK4YAK/p (Tewantin National Park VKFF-1318)
  6. VK2EG/p (Talawahl Nature Reserve VKFF-2732)
  7. VK3MKE
  8. VK2EXA
  9. VK2LBL
  10. VK7QP
  11. VK5LN
  12. VK2LX
  13. VK3ZK/p (Echuca Regional Park VKFF-0966)
  14. VK3MPR
  15. VK7DW
  16. VK2GNM
  17. VK1MA
  18. VK3MCD/p (SOTA VK3/ VN-016 & Mount Alexander Regional Park VKFF-0973)
  19. VK3BBB
  20. VK2CCP
  21. VK2IG
  22. VK3AQU/m
  23. VK7JFD
  24. VK1RF/p (Jerrabomba Wetlands Nature Reserve VKFF-0847)
  25. VK4FABN/p (Toohey Forest Conservation Park VKFF-1663)
  26. VK3YSA
  27. VK2HAU/p (Lane Cove National Park VKFF-0281)
  28. VK5WG

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3ARH/p (Lake Purrumbete Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2361)
  2. VK3HRA/p (Lake Purrumbete Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2361)
  3. VK5LA
  4. VK3ZK/p (Echuca Regional Park VKFF-0966)
  5. VK5DW

Marija worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2VW
  2. VK2HFI
  3. VK2HBG
  4. VK6ADF/p (Alexander Morrison National Park VKFF-0002)
  5. VK4KC
  6. VK4MAD
  7. VK4DOG
  8. VK2MG
  9. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  10. VK6UG
  11. VK4HNS
  12. VK2NP
  13. VK6JK

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  2. VK5GY/m
  3. VK2VW
  4. VK2HFI
  5. VK3DAC/p (Mount Martha Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2152)
  6. VK3LF/p (Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park VKFF-0747)
  7. VK2EXA
  8. VK2LEE
  9. VK2YAK/p (Tewantin National Park VKFF-1318)
  10. VK4YAK/p (Tewantin National Park VKFF-1318)
  11. VK2NP
  12. VK2PKT
  13. VK2EG/p (Talawahl Nature Reserve VKFF-2732)
  14. VK3FRC
  15. VK7WUU
  16. VK5FANA
  17. VK2IG
  18. VK7QP
  19. Vk3MPR
  20. VK3MCD/p (SOTA VK3/ VN-016 & Mount Alexander Regional Park VKFF-0973)
  21. VK7JFD
  22. VK2LX
  23. VK1RF/p (Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve VKFF-0847)
  24. VK3MKE
  25. VK4FABN/p (Toohey Forest Conservation Park VKFF-1663)
  26. VK3YSA
  27. VK3AQU/m
  28. VK3GMC
  29. VK2HAU/p (Lane Cove National Park VKFF-0281)
  30. VK5WG

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3ARH
  2. VK5LA
  3. VK3ZK/p (Echuca Regional Park VKFF-0966)
  4. VK5DW

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2VW
  2. VK2HFI
  3. VK2HBG
  4. VK6ADF/p (Alexander Morrison National Park VKFF-0002)
  5. VK4KC
  6. VK4MAD
  7. VK4DOG
  8. VK2MG
  9. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  10. VK6UG
  11. VK4HNS
  12. VK2NP
  13. VK6JK
  14. JF7RJM

References.

  1. A Compendium of the Place Names of South Australia, 2021, <https://published.collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 4th December 2021.
  2. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Custon_Conservation_Park>, viewed 4th December 2021

Poocher Swamp Game Reserve VKFF-1741

It was now Saturday morning (27th November 2021) and the first day of the 2021 VKFF Activation Weekend. After a shower in the motel room, Marija and I headed to one of the local service stations for some breakfast.

After breakfast, we headed to the first of three parks we intended to activate during the day, the Poocher Swamp Game Reserve VKFF-1741. I had activated this park previously, but this was to be a first-time activation for Marija.

Poocher Swamp is located about 270 km southeast of Adelaide, and about 9 km west of the town of Bordertown, in the southeast of South Australia, not far from the South Australia/Victoria State border.

Above:- Map showing the location of Poocher Swamp. Map c/o Google maps

The park can be accessed via Cannawigara Road. The park is well signposted and there is a large car parking area at the park.

Poocher Swamp Game Reserve is about 77 hectares in size and was proclaimed on the 14th day of November 1985.

Declaration of Poocher Swamp from the SA Govt Gazette.

The town of Bordertown relies on a groundwater supply that is refilled by water draining through the two major runaway holes at Poocher Swamp. The water flows through a hidden underground network of limestone cavities leading to an aquifer.

Above:- An aerial view of Poocher Swamp. Image c/o Google maps.

Birds SA have recorded a total of 85 species of bird at Poocher Swamp including Grey Teal, Pacific Black Duck, Black-tailed Nativehen, Galah, Red-rumped Parrot, Australian Magpie, White-plumed Honeyeater, and Magpielark.

During our visit to the park, we observed numerous Sulphur Crested Cockatoos and Galahs.

There was also a large population of Striated Pardalotes. They are beautiful little birds with a white eyebrow with a yellow spot in front of the eye. They have a black crown which has fine white stripes.

As it was summer, the two runaways were bone dry during our visit. During the 1950s, numerous levee banks were created in Poocher Swamp to impound water and attract birdlife. The swamp fills from Tatiara Creek.

The overflow from Poocher Swamp flows westwards and a series of runaway holes which includes Scotwn’s Runaway Hole.

The video below shows Poocher Swamp when full of water.

Poocher Swamp is home to numerous native plants and animals. Apart from the magnificent Red Gums, the park is home to four plants that are listed as rare in South Australia.

Also located in the park is a large tree, which has now partially collapsed. Known as the Pinkie tree, it was used as a shelter.

You can also view the ‘washpool’ where aboriginal women washed wool in the various pools near station shearing sheds.

The video below includes information on Poocher Swamp and the surrounding area.

We set up just inside the gate at the park. We ran the Yaesu FT-857d , 40 watts, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.

Marija and I spent about 3 hours on air at Poocher Swamp. All up we made a total of 122 QSOs and this included 60 Park to Park contacts.

The majority of our contacts were on the 40m band, although we did make some contacts on 80m and 20m. Contacts were made into VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, and New Zealand.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB before the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  2. VK3OAK/p (Lake Aringa Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2355)
  3. VK2MET/ (Worimi National Park VKFF-0614)
  4. VK2TER/p (Bouddi National Park VKFF-0049)
  5. VK2YAK
  6. VK4YAK
  7. VK4AAC/p (Axedale Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2037)
  8. VK2VH/p (Axedale Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2037)
  9. VK3SQ
  10. VK2DG
  11. VK3MPR
  12. VK3OF
  13. VK3ARH
  14. VK3HRA
  15. VK5QI
  16. VK5PE
  17. VK5IS
  18. VK3EJS
  19. VK3ZK/p (Echuca Regional Park VKFF-0966)
  20. VK5MRE
  21. VK2PKT
  22. VK3XV/p (Black Range State Park VKFF-0751)
  23. VK2KNV/m
  24. VK5FANA
  25. VK3PF/p (Churchill National Park VKFF-0621)
  26. VK2XSE/m
  27. VK5PET/p (Bullock Hill Conservation Park VKFF-0873)
  28. VK5KLV
  29. VK7QP

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB after the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK3VIN
  2. VK5ZSH
  3. VK3EJS
  4. VK3MCA/p (Paddys Ranges State Park VKFF-0772)
  5. VK3FIMD
  6. VK5PL
  7. VK3ACZ
  8. VK3LF/p
  9. VK2TER/p (Bouddi National Park VKFF-0049)
  10. VK3DCQ/p
  11. VK3DAC/p (Mount Martha Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2152)
  12. VK3PF/p (Churchill National Park VKFF-0621)
  13. VK4AAC/p (Axedale Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2037)
  14. VK2VH/p (Axedale Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2037)
  15. VK3MKE
  16. VK6POP/p (Avon Valley National Park VKFF-0008)
  17. VK2BYF/p (Jerrawangala National Park VKFF-0248)
  18. VK2KNV/p (Buckingbong Flora Reserve VKFF-3049)
  19. VK2XSE/p (Buckingbong Flora Reserve VKFF-3049)
  20. VK3KXR/p (Salt Lagoon-St Leonards Wildlife Refuge VKFF-2432)
  21. VK5CZ/p (Warrenben Conservation Park VKFF-0818)
  22. VK3LF/p (Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park VKFF-0747)
  23. VK4AAC/p (Mount Sugarloaf Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2158)
  24. VK2VH/p (Mount Sugarloaf Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2158)
  25. VK3BCM/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-040)
  26. VK3OAK/p (Pretty Hill Flora Reserve VKFF-2424)
  27. VK3AWA/p (Fryers Ridge Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2091)
  28. VK3TV/p (Fryers Ridge Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2091)

Marija worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  2. VK2TER/p (Bouddi National Park VKFF-0049)
  3. ZL1TM

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB before the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  2. VK2KYO
  3. VK5IS
  4. VK2DJP
  5. VK3BBB
  6. VK2CCP
  7. VK3SQ
  8. VK7QP
  9. VK5PE
  10. VK5LA
  11. VK3OAK/p (Lake Aringa Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2355)
  12. VK2MET/p (Worimi National Park VKFF-0614)
  13. VK2TER/p (Bouddi National Park VKFF-0049)
  14. VK3ZK/p (Echuca Regional Park VKFF-0966)
  15. VK3XV/p (Black Range State Park VKFF-0751)
  16. VK3PF/p (Churchill National Park VKFF-0621)
  17. VK5PET/p (Bullock Hill Conservation Park VKFF-0873)

I worked the following stations on 40m after the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK3MCA/p (Paddys Ranges State Park VKFF-0772)
  2. VK3DAC/p (Mount Martha Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2152)
  3. VK3PF/p (Churchill National Park VKFF-0621)
  4. VK4AAC/p (Axedale Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2037)
  5. VK2VH/p (Axedale Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2037)
  6. VK3MCK
  7. VK3JP
  8. VK3CA
  9. VK3ZH/p
  10. VK3KK/p
  11. VK3VIN
  12. VK3DQW
  13. VK3PDG
  14. VK3FIMD
  15. VK6POP/p (Avon Valley National Park VKFF-0008)
  16. VK5FD
  17. VK3VRA
  18. VK5KSW
  19. VK7ME
  20. VK2BYF/p (Jerrawangala National Park VKFF-0248)
  21. VK2XSE/p (Buckingbong Flora Reserve VKFF-3049)
  22. VK2KNV/p (Buckingbong Flora Reserve VKFF-3049)
  23. VK3KXR/p (Salt Lagoon-St Leonards Wildlife Refuge VKFF-2432)
  24. VK5CZ/p (Warrenben Conservation Park VKFF-0818)
  25. VK3LF/p (Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park VKFF-0747)
  26. VK4AAC/p (Mount Sugarloaf Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2158)
  27. VK2VH/p (Mount Sugarloaf Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2158)
  28. VK5LA
  29. VK5PET/p (Bullock Hill Conservation Park VKFF-0873)
  30. VK3MPR
  31. VK3JP
  32. VK4BXX
  33. VK3BCM/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-040
  34. VK3OAK/p (Pretty Hill Flora Reserve VKFF-2424)
  35. VK3AWA/p (Fryers Ridge Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2091)
  36. VK3TV/p (Fryers Ridge Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2091)
  37. VK2VBW
  38. VK2HFI
  39. VK3WTS

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-784)
  2. VK2TER/p (Bouddi National Park VKFF-0049)
  3. ZL1TM
  4. VK6POP/p (Avon Valley National Park VKFF-0008)

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HAA/p (Mount Panorama Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2891)
  2. VK5LA

References.

  1. Aberdour and Mount Monster Conservation parks, Desert Camp Conservation Reserve and Poocher Swamp Game Reserve Management Plan, 1997.
  2. Birdlife Australia, 2021, <https://www.birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/striated-pardalote>, viewed 4th December 2021.
  3. Birds SA, 2021, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/poocher-swamp-game-reserve/>, viewed 4th December 2021.
  4. Bordertown Chronicle, 2021, <https://www.borderchronicle.com.au/story/4936482/poocher-swamp-a-sight-to-be-seen/>, viewed 4th December 2021.
  5. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poocher_Swamp_Game_Reserve>, viewed 4th December 2021.

Wirrega silo VK-WRG5

Our final silo of the day (Friday 26th November 2021) was the Wirrega silo VK-WRG5 in the tiny town of Wirrega, about 252 km southeast of Adelaide. We had hoped to activate some more silos but we had run out of time.

Above:- Map showing the location of Wirrega. Map /co Google maps

We turned off the Dukes Highway and travelled along Anderson Road towards the silo. We came across a paddock with a menagerie of animals including a camel.

The Wirrega silos are located on Anderson Road and run alongside the Adelaide-Melbourne railway line.

There isn’t much at Wirrega. Blink and you will miss it. Just a few old houses remain.

Above:- An aerial view of Wirrega. Image c/o Google maps.

Wirrega takes its name from Wirrega pastoral run which was established on the 26th February 1846. Wirrega is an aboriginal name said to mean ‘dwellers in the open forest’.

Above:- Wirrega Homestead. Image c/o SA State Library

The Wirrega Post office opened in 1911. The Wirrega school opened in 1925 and closed in 1946.

Marija and I drove to the other side of railway line to Wurlyana Road and set up our station there. Once again we ran the Yaesu FT857, 40 watts, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole.

I called CQ and first in the log was Peter VK2DHN, followed by Peter VK3PF, and Brett VK2VW. I logged a total of 7 stations on 40m from VK2 and VK3, before swapping over with Marija.

Marija’s first contact was with Peter Vk3ZPF, followed by Gerard VK2IO, and then Lee VK2LEE. Marija had qualified the silo. Marija went on to log a total of 13 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, and New Zealand.

I then called CQ on 14.310 and logged a total of 5 stations from VK2, VK4, and New Zealand.

And finally, to complete the activation, I called CQ on 80m where I logged 7 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, and VK5. There was zero noise floor on 80m. It was a very quiet location to operate from.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ZPF
  2. VK2IO
  3. VK2LEE
  4. VK2YAK
  5. VK4YAK
  6. Vk4NH
  7. VK2PBC
  8. VK2YW
  9. VK4SMA
  10. ZL4NVW
  11. VK2VW
  12. VK2HFI
  13. VK3AAV

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2DHN
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK2VW
  4. Vk2HFI
  5. VK2YW
  6. VK2YAK
  7. VK4YAK
  8. VK3ZPF

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2VW
  2. VK2HFI
  3. ZL4NVW
  4. VK4NJ
  5. VK2IO

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK5WG
  3. VK5IS
  4. VK5CZ
  5. VK3OHM
  6. VK1DA
  7. VK2UH

With a total of 32 stations in the log, it was time for us to head to Bordertown.

After leaving Wirrega, we drove into Bordertown and booked into our motel. As there was still some daylight we had a quick look around Bordertown. Our first stop was the bronze bust of former Australian Prime Minister Robert ‘Bob’ James Lee Hawke which is located outside of the Council Chambers. He was born in Bordertown on the 9th day of December 1929.

The Bordertown Institute is a beautiful building that is directly alongside the Council Chambers. The Institute was built and opened in 1909 and is a Neo-Classical design. It was built to the plans of Architects Davies & Rutt of Adelaide. It operated as a cinema from the 1920s. Known as the Plaza Theatre prior to 1951, it continued to operate as a cinema until about 1957.

We then strolled a short distance to view the childhood home of Bob Hawke. He lived in the home until 1935. The building was built by the National Bank in 1884 and they conducted business there until the branch closed in June 1885. It was then purchased by the Congregational Church as a manse in 1897. Clem A Hawke was the Minister from 1928 to 1935. It ceased to be a manse in 1976.

We also had a look at the Memorial clock which was erected by the District Council of Tatiara in ‘appreciative recognition of the outstanding work of Alfred William Murray in the inauguration and expansion of electricity services in this district from 1922 to 1958’.

We also stopped to have a look at the old Bordertown railway station. The station was built in 1914 with stone which was railed from the property of Jim Watson at Cannawigra. Sadly this majestic old building sits idle and is unused.

The Border Chronicle building in Bordertown was built in 1908.

We then headed back to the motel and enjoyed our Chinese takeaway meal. I sat back and watched the movie Independence Day (for about the 5th time) which even mentions “ham radio operators from new York and Japan are participating in an effort to launch a counter-attack”.

Image c/o Wikipedia

Morse code even gets a mention in the movie.

References.

  1. Cinema Treasurers, 2021, <http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/35442>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  2. Tatiara Visitor Guide, 2021

Keith silo VK-KTH5

Our fourth silo for the day was in the town of Keith, about 225 km southeast of Adelaide.

Above:- Map showing the location of Keith. Map c/o Google maps

The area which is now Keith was known as the Ninety Mile Desert. During the mid-1850s, the Keith district consisted of a few scattered shepherd huts along the Victorian goldfield route. James Allen and Patrick Kelly were amongst the first settlers who took up land in July 1851 near Mount Monster on pastoral lease no. 224.

By 1884 the town had been surveyed and was known as Mount Monster Siding, following the construction of the Adelaide to Melbourne railway. It took its name from Mount Monster, a granite hill nearby which was used as a landmark by pioneers travelling east (this is now a Conservation Park).

The town of Keith was proclaimed on the 5th day of September 1889.

The origin of the name is a little unclear to me. Some sources state that Keith was named after the then Governor of South Australia, Algernon Keith-Falconer, Lord Kintore, or Earl of Kintore. His home in Aberdeenshire in Scotland was called Keith Hall. Lord Kintore, the Governor of South Australia.

Above:- Algernon Keith-Falconer. Image c/o Wikipedia

The information board as you come into Keith refers to Lord Keith of Inverare.

The Compendium of the Place Names of South Australia states the town was named Keith after Keith Stirling, the eldest son of Sir Lancelot Stirling who was a local grazier.

When I searched Trove I saw that various articles referred to it as both Kieth and Keith.

I then found this article on Trove from the Border Watch, Mount Gambier, dated Wednesday 11th September 1889, which appears to verify the origin of the name.

Above:- from the Border Watch, Sept 1889. Image c/o Trove

I then found another article on Trove from the Advertiser Adelaide, dated 11th April 1889. It refers to Alergnon Hawkins Thomond Keith Falconer, Ninth Earl of Kintore, and Governor of South Australia. The article states that he is also known as Lord Kintore and holds the titles of Lord Falconer of Halkerton and Lord Keith of Inverurie and Keith Hall in the peerage of Scotland, and Baron Kintore of Kintore, county Aberdeen. Part of the article can be found below.

From the Advertiser, 11th April 1889. Image c/o Trove

The townsfolk of Keith were involved in the maintenance of the railway, and also the production of wool and some cereal grain. However, the problems of wild dogs, rabbits, low soil fertility, contributed to the district growing at a slow rate through the depression of the 1930s and the period of the Second World War. The population of Keith at this time was about 500 people.

Research conducted during the Second World War found that the soil around Keith was deficient in copper and zinc. Application of superphosphate with those trace elements subsequently transformed the desert into pastures of clover and lucerne.

This coincided with the conclusion of World War Two and the return of Australian soldiers to Australian soil. The AMP Land Settlement Scheme was established and private investors commenced purchasing large areas of scrub. As a result, the township of Keith bloomed, with businesses, buildings and homes being established along with sporting and service clubs. By 1952 the population of Keith was 1,100 people.

Above:- Clearing land at Keith. Image c/o State Library SA

As you come into the town from the west there is an information board with details on the history of Keith, and all about Keith today.

We stopped off at the Andy Caldecott Memorial in Keith which was erected ion 2011 to commemorate the life and achievements of one of Australia’s greatest sportsmen. Caldecott was tragically killed in Mauritania in January 2006 during the ninth stage of the world’s 28th gruelling Paris-Dakar Rally. He was born in August 1964 and lived all of his life in Keith.

In close proximity is a 1952 Centurion Tank which was purchased by Glen Simpson from Keith for restoration. The tank spent most of its career with the 1st Armoured Regiment.

A not to miss in Keith is the Landrover on a Pole. During the 1940s when the AMP Society was purchasing land in the Keith district, the Landrover was a regular source of transport in the area known as the Ninety Mile Desert.

Also worth a visit if you are in Keith is the old settlers cottage which is believed to be one of the oldest buildings in Keith. It was built by William Davies in 1894, and is located on Emu Flat Road. It is constructed of local limestone and consists of our small rooms.

We then headed to the silos which are located on Railway Terrace. As this was right in the centre of town and it was very noisy on the bands, we headed to Densley Road and operated from the Keith showgrounds where the noise floor on the bands was much lower.

After Marija had placed a spot for me on parksnpeaks I started calling CQ on 7.150. This was answered by Peter VK3PF, followed by John VK2YW, and then Nev VK5WG. I had my three contacts in the log and I had qualified the silo. I logged a further 4 stations before swapping over with Marija.

Marija’s first contact was with Peter VK3PF, followed by Ray VK4NH, and then Brett VK2VW. Marija logged a further 3 stations before callers dried up.

We then headed to 20m where I logged a total of 5 stations from VK1, VK2, VK4 and New Zealand.

I then moved to the 80m band where I found that we had strength 7-8 noise. I logged just the one station, Ian VK5CZ in the Clare Valley.

With a total of 18 stations in the log, we packed up and headed to our next silo at Wirrega.

Marija made the following contacts on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK4NH
  3. VK2VW
  4. VK2DWP
  5. VK3OHM
  6. VK2PKT

I made the following contacts on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK2YW
  3. VK5WG
  4. VK3OHM
  5. VK2VW
  6. VK2HFI
  7. VK2PKT

I made the following contacts on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK1RF
  2. Vk2NP
  3. VK2IO
  4. VK4NH
  5. ZL4NVW

I made the following contact on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5CZ

References.

  1. A Compendium of the Place Names of South Australia, 2021, <https://published.collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  2. South Australia History Network, 2021, <https://explore.history.sa.gov.au/organisation/keith-early-settlers-cottage>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  3. The Sydney Morning Herald, 2021, <https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/keith-20040208-gdkqjd.html>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  4. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith,_South_Australia>, viewed 2nd December 2021

Tintinara silo VK-TNA5

Marija and I packed up at Coonalpyn and hit the road once again, and travelled about 28 km and reached our next stop, the town of Tintinara. We had planned on activating the Tintinara silo VK-TNA5.

Tintinara is located on the Dukes Highway about 188 km southeast of Adelaide.

Above:- Map showing the location of Tintinara. Map c/o Google maps

Tintinara and the surrounding district is based around the agricultural production of sheep, beef and cropping.

The origin of the name Tintinara is debated. During my research, I discovered a number of options. One of the original settlers, J.H. Boothby in his reminiscences recorded that he had a ‘smart young aborigine’ with a name that sounded like ‘Tin-tin’, and the suffix of ara was added to it. There is an aboriginal word tinyara which means ‘boy’.

Another explanation is that it is derived from tinlinyara, the aboriginal name for stars in Orion’s Belt, described in aboriginal mythology as a number of young men hunting emus, kangaroos and other game on the great celestial plain in the sky.

Above:- An aerial view of Tintinara. Image c/o Google maps.

The Tintinara region was first settled by Europeans during the 1840s who grazed sheep in the area. Not long after, the Tintinara Homestead was built by the brothers Thomas Wilde Boothby (b. 1839. d. 1885) and James Henry Boothby (b. 1841. d. 1920) on their 165 sq. mile lease. They were the sons of Benjamin Boothby, a Judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia, and had emigrated to South Australia in 1853.

In 1865 a 16 stand shearing shed was constructed by the new owners William Harding and George Bunn (we visited the homestead and shearing shed – see below).

The Tintinara Well and the Reedy Well were regular stopping points for Alexander Tolmer’s gold escort team. During the 1850s Victorian Goldrush, a special armed detachment from South Australia provided a Gold Escort for the safe transportation of gold from the Victorian goldfields to Adelaide. The first of these was led by Alexander Tolmer, who later became the Police Commissioner in South Australia.

Above:- Alexander Tolmer. Image c/o Wikipedia

A total of eighteen Gold Escorts were made between 1852 and 1853, transporting 328,502 ounces (9,310 kg) of gold.

Above:- Police Gold Escort leaving Mount Alexander. Image c/o SA Police Facebook page

In 1986, a re-enactment of the Police Gold Escort was conducted as part of the 175th Commemoration program of the South Australia Police.

Above:- Gold Escort re-enactment. Image c/o SA Police Facebook page

In 1868 the Tintinara Post office was opened. The town of Tintinara was proclaimed on the 30th day of August 1906. The Tintinara school was opened in 1907 with 12 students and Miss Maud Jackson as the teacher. The Tintinara Institute opened in 1911. A Congregational Church and a Methodist church were built in 1913.

The Tintinara silos are located on the southern side of the Dukes Highway. It was quite noisy in town, so we drove a little further southeast on the Dukes Highway and set up amongst the trees and alongside of the highway and the railway line.

We ran the Yaesu FT-857, 40 watts, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation. We had strength 4 noise on 40m despite being a few hundred metres out of town.

I called CQ on 7.150 and this was answered by Peter VK3PF, followed by Ross VK3BEL, and then geoff VK3SQ. The silo had been activated. I then spoke with Peter VK3ZPF, Haucke VK1HW mobile, and Michael VK5LN, before swapping the operator’s chair with Marija.

Marija’s first contact was with Ross VK3BEL, followed by Peter VK3PF, and then Ian VK5CZ. Marija logged a further 5 stations before callers dried up.

We then headed to the 20m band where we logged a total of 6 stations, all from VK2.

To wrap up the activation I called CQ on 80m, but we had strength 9 noise and it made operating very difficult. We logged just the one station, John VK5HAA.

We were set up right alongside of the main railway line between Adelaide and Melbourne and at one point had to stop calling CQ as a large freight train passed by us.

During our activation, we had a surprise visit by a local amateur radio operator, Terry VK5TM and his wife.

Marija made the following contacts on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3BEL
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK5CZ
  4. VK5WG
  5. VK5LN
  6. VK3HKV
  7. VK5MSA
  8. VK5COL

Marija made the following contacts on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO
  2. VK2VW
  3. VK2HFI

I made the following contacts on 40m SSB:-

  1. Vk3PF
  2. VK3BEL
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK3ZPF
  5. VK5HW/m
  6. VK5LN

I made the following contacts on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2VW
  2. VK2HFI
  3. VK2NP

I made the following contact on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HAA

After packing up at the silo we headed to the Tintinara Visitor Information Centre which has a very distinctive mural painted on it that features a train, and the beef, sheep and wool industries of the district.

You can also find here an impressive D pattern Comet Windmill which stands at 40 feet. The windmill was previously used in the Tintinara district prior to the Murray Pipeline passing through the property.

We then headed out to the Tintinara Homestead and the historic shearing shed. Out the front of the property is a cairn marking the Gold Escort route……

“Along this track Commissioner Alexander Tolmer lead the first of 18 police escorts which under various commanders transported from Mt Alexander Victoria to Adelaide, South Australia, March 1852 to December 1853, 328,509 ozs of gold”

The Tintinara homestead was constructed in 1865. Shortly afterwards it became a post office. For many years it was a stopping point for Tolmer and his gold escort group. The walls of the homestead were once papered with old copies of the Adelaide Chronicle.

Whilst there we realised that this was potentially on private property. We telephoned the Visitor Information Centre but sadly they did not have much information on the homestead other than to tell us it was on private property. On that basis, we decided to leave. We left a note for the owners, who very kindly sent us an SMS message later that day stating they were happy for us to have a look.

We drove a short distance to the Tintinara Woolshed which was built in 1865. I always enjoy looking in old woolsheds as the history is quite amazing. The limestone walls are 80cm thick and the roof timbers are up to 11 metres long. They were carted by bullock drays to the location from Kingston South East.

You can also find a marker here on the Gold Escort Route.

Also located on the property is the headstone of William Harding. The headstone reads:-

Affectionate Remembrance of William. The beloved husband of Mary Harding, who departed this life July 5th 1874. Ages 50 years. Remember your Creator in the days of thy youth’.

References.

  1. A Compendium of the Place Names of South Australia, 2021, <https://published.collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  2. Aussie Towns, 2021, <https://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/tintinara-sa>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  3. Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2021, <https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/boothby-thomas-wilde-3323>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  4. flickr, 2021, <https://www.flickr.com/photos/82134796@N03/39992634621>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  5. Tintinara Heart of the Parks, 2021, <https://tintinara.com.au/visit/tintinara-homestead/>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  6. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintinara,_South_Australia>, viewed 2nd December 2021
  7. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Tolmer>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  8. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_Escort>, viewed 2nd December 2021.

Coonalpyn silo VK-CNN5

After packing up at Coomandook, we continued east for about 30 km and we soon reached the town of Coonalpyn. Coonalpyn is located about 143 km southeast of Adelaide.

Above:- Map showing the location of Coonalpyn. Map c/o Google maps.

It is believed that Coonalpyn is derived from the aboriginal word konangalpun (or kunalpin) meaning ‘place of mice excreta’ – kuna, ‘dung’. This is due to the area regularly being subject to periodical mice plagues. Another source states the name derives from kunangalpe meaning ‘crow track, line of travel’. While a third source states it means ‘barren woman’.

An early pastoralist in the Coonalpyn district was John Barton Hack who named his property Coonalpyn Downs. Hack had arrived in South Australia in 1837.

Above:- John Barton Hack. Image c/o Wikipedia

A post office was opened at Coonalpyn in 1887 and this was followed by the Coonalpyn school in 1889. The school closed in 1927 following a diphtheria epidemic. The school was located about 3 km southeast of the town. In May 1886 the railway line opened. It was known as the Nairne to Bordertown Railway. The railway brought a regular mail service to Coonalpyn. By 1889 the Coonaplyn Post office was dispatching 3,946 letters, packages, and newspapers a year and receiving 2,838.

In 1894 a railway station, station master residence, porters house and gangers house were built.

The town of Coonalpyn was proclaimed on the 25th day of November 1909. The first shop, known as the Coonalpyn stores, was opened in 1915.

Above:- The SA Govt Gazette showing the proclamation of Coonalpyn.

Nowadays in Coonalpyn, you can find a hotel, a community swimming pool, bakery, cafes, the town hall, oval, rest area, school, a medical centre, the silo mural, the Mosiac project, Tunnel Vision, and more.

Above:- Aerial view of Coonalpyn. Image c/o Google maps.

The Coonalpyn silos are active silos and are operated by Vitera. Due to a rise in quality grain in the Coonalpyn district, the first 9,600 ton silo was built in 1965. This was followed by another in 1967 increasing the capacity to 15,000 ton.

The silo art was part of the Creating Coonalpyn initiative, a $100,000 joint project of the local Council, with Country Arts SA and Viterra. The idea was for the renewal of the town of Coonalpyn through the arts. The initiative also included sponsorship from local businesses and individuals. The silo art in Coonalpyn is just part of this initiative.

The silo art is the work of world-renowned large scale mural artist Guido van Helten. The murals on the silos depict five Coonalyn primary school children in various poses. The Coonalpyn silos were the first silos to be painted in South Australia and were completed in March 2017. The mural took 200 cans of paint to complete. The artists van Helten used photographs as a reference, and first drew a giant grid onto the face of the five silos. He then sprayed paint to create the designs.

During the month-long painting of the silo, it is estimated that each hour about 40 to 50 vehicles stopped each hour to view van Helten at work. Coonalpyn became the most photographed regional town in South Australia, with the silo art project attracting both local, national, and international media attention. As a result of the silo art, three new businesses opened up in Coonalpyn including the Silos Cafe.

Below is a time-lapse video of the painting of the silos.

Other than the silo art, you can also view the Mosaic Mural which was created by Mike Tye and Marcia Camac and a team of local mosaic enthusiasts. The mosiac has images of birds, echidna, Correa and other native flora and fauna of the region. It took 27 volunteers over 3,000 hours over a 12 month period to complete.

There is also the Tunnel Vision mural project which features numerous murals created by the local Coonalpyn children.

I have attached a brochure entities ‘Connalpyn Arts Trail’ below.

In the rest area, you can find an excellent information board with the history of Coonalpyn and the district. There is also a tractor and a plough to acknowledge the importance of farming in the Coonalpyn district.

We then stopped off at the Waffles & Jaffles Cafe at Coonalpyn and enjoyed some Belgium waffles.

Below is a great story on the ABC website about the history of the Coonalpyn Waffles cafe ……

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-24/coonalpyn-belgian-waffle-empire-in-australia/13054198

We then tried a few different spots for the silo activation, testing the noise floor with the transceiver in the Toyota Hi-Lux. Alongside the silos, the noise floor was S9 plus on 40m. Although the SiOTA rules state that the activation zone is within 1 km of the silo, we wanted to be relatively close to the silo, so we set up in the rest area a few hundred metres south of the silo.

The silos were within sight from our activation spot.

Unfortunately, when we turned on the Yaesu FT857d after setting up the 20/40/80m linked dipole, the noise floor on 40m was strength 9. It had been lower from the vehicle. We decided to soldier on despite the noise floor and the noise of passing trucks and trains.

First in the log for me was Andy VK3VKT, followed by Peter VK3PF and Adrian VK5FANA. I had qualified the silo. I logged a further 3 stations on 40m before Marija took charge of the microphone.

Marija’s first contact was with John VK2YW, followed by Peter VK3PF, and then Geoff VK3SQ. Marija logged a further 2 stations on 40m until the noise floor got the better of us and we decided to try the 20m band. We know there were other stations calling, but the noise was horrendous.

To our great pleasure, there was no noise at all on 20m. We logged a total of 9 stations on the 20m band from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and New Zealand.

To complete the activation we tried our luck on the 80m band, but the noise floor there was also strength 9. We logged just the one station, Adrian VK5FANA, before deciding that we would pack up and head to the next silo.

We had a total of 21 stations in the log and another silo successfully activated.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2YW
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK1DA

Marija worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK1DA
  2. VK2UH

Marija worked the following station on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3VKT
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK3BEL
  5. VK5WG
  6. VK2YW

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK1DA
  2. VK2UH
  3. VK4NH
  4. VK2IO
  5. VK4SMA
  6. ZL3RIK
  7. VK3PF

References.

  1. Australian Silo Art Trail, 2021, <https://www.australiansiloarttrail.com/coonalpyn>, viewed 1st December 2021.
  2. Coorong District Council, 2021, <https://www.coorong.sa.gov.au/community/arts-and-cultural/creatingcoonalpyn>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  3. Murray River.com, 2021, <https://www.themurrayriver.com/about/historical-story/>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  4. Professional Historians Australia, 2021, <http://www.sahistorians.org.au/175/documents/a-heritage-history-of-the-south-east-of-south-aust.shtml>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  5. State Library SA, 2021, <https://published.collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 1st December 2021.
  6. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Barton_Hack>, v iewed 1st December 2021.

Coomandook silo VK-CMK5

On Friday morning (26th November 2021) Marija VK5MAZ hit the road at about 7.00 a.m. and started heading towards Bordertown in the southeast of South Australia. We had planned to stay at Bordertown for three nights and activate six parks for the annual VKFF Activation Weekend for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program. We had also planned to activate some silos on the way down to Bordertown.

It was about a 255 km drive to Bordertown along the Dukes Highway, which is the main highway between the cities of Adelaide and Melbourne.

Above:- Map showing our route to Bordertown. Map c/o Google maps.

The highway is named in honour of the Duke of York and becomes the Western Highway once you cross the South Australia -Victoria State border. There were some attempts in the 1950s by a Member of Parliament to rename the highway, the Tolmer Highway in honour of Inspector Alexander Tolmer who led a gold escort route from Bendigo.

Above:- Newspaper article from the Border Chronicle, Fri 28 Sep 1928. Image c/o Trove

By the late 1920s, funds were made available by the the Australian Commonwealth Government for highway construction. In 1930, work commenced on forming the Dukes Highway from Murray Bridge to Bordertown.

Above:- Work in progress on the Duke’s Highway between Coomandook and Yumali, c. 1930. Imagec/o State Library South Australia.

Our first stop for the morning was just down the road from home, the Strathalbyn bakery, where we had some coffee and a bacon & egg roll for breakfast.

We then continued east, with our first stop being the town of Coomandook where we planned to activate our first silo for the day. Coomandook is a small town situated about 140 km southeast of Adelaide.

Above:- An aerial view of Coomandook. Image c/o Location SA Map Viewer.

The town of Coomandook takes its name from the Coomandook Run, a pastoral lease that was held by John Whyte (b. 1826. d. 1902) from 1869. The area which was to become the town was originally known as Comandook Siding. Coomandook was not always the preferred name. Many locals petitioned the local Agricultural Bureau for a name change to Roby, after the Hundred of Roby, however, this did not occur.

Above:- from the Daily Herald, Adelaide, Thurs 1st Oct 1914. Image c/op Trove

Whyte was born in Kinross, Scotland in 1826. He emigrated to Australia in 1853. After arriving in the new colony of South Australia, his first job was in Louisa Heath’s drapery store in Hindley Street, Adelaide. In 1864, Whyte and his brother and other family members, established Whyte, Counsell & Co, wholesale grocers. They also owned several Murray River steamers which they used to transport goods from their warehouse in Currie Street, Adelaide, along the Murray-Darling river system.

Whyte also became involved as a pastoralist and took up several runs in the Murray Mallee region including Coomandook Run. By 1877 Whyte held a total of 21 pastoral leases covering an area of 8,660 km2 and grazed up to 61,783 sheep including some cattle.

The word Coomandook is an aboriginal word believed to mean ‘place of different speech’, which was a name applied by the aboriginal people of one area to an adjoining tribal area where a different language was spoken. Other publications report that the name means ‘place of strife’ and enemies country’.

The first European wheat farmers arrived in the Coomandook district in 1904. Mr E. Hunt was the first grain farmer, who was well known for his team of six to eight horses. In 1906 the first shipment of wheat was transported out of Coomandook by rail. In 1910 a general store had been established.

A 1910 news article (see below) describes Coomandook:-

Situated in the transformed 90-mile desert – now the Border Downs – about a hundred miles from Adelaide, Coomandook three years ago seemed a wilderness. Today it is a flourishing and fertile farming district”.

Above:- An article from The Register, Adelaide, Mon 21st Nov 1910. Image c/o Trove.

In 1911 a telegraph office was built at what was known as Coomandook Siding. In 1912, the town of Coomandook was laid out into 19 allotments by Thomas Dart. A small Institute/hall was constructed of wood and iron, and this was used as the Coomandook school for a number of years. The school was then moved to the Coomandook Amalgamated Pastimes Club (CAPC) Hall which was built in 1939 and still exists today.

In 1911 the Parkin Memorial Congregational Church was erected. This was also used as a school. The Parkin Hall School closed in 1938 when the Commandook CAPC Hall was opened. The church partially closed at this time and the hall was used for church services. This was until the new church was constructed in 1970. Sadly at this time, the Parkin Congregational Church was demolished. In 1960 the Coomandook Area School was opened.

Above:- Various images from Coomandook over the years. All images c/o Trove.

Today, there is not much in Coomandook, which was once a railway stop for passenger trains and the home to a full-time station master. The town has a General store, a CFS station, a Uniting Church, and the Commandook Area School. The population is about 134 people. The area surrounding Coomandook is used for sheep grazing, beef cattle rearing, and grain growing.

The silos at Coomandook lie alongside the main Adelaide-Melbourne rail line. The first concrete grain silo to be erected in Coomandook was completed in 1967. In 2020, grain handler Vitara closed 12 silo properties, including Coomandook.

On the northern side of the silos is a rest area. There was a truck parked in the rest area so we decided to head around to the southern side of the silos on Williams Road and set up near the tennis courts.

We used the Yaesu FT857d, 40 watts, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation. Fortunately, there was very little noise on 40m.

I called CQ and first in the log was Peter VK3PF, followed by Mark VK4SMA, John VK2JPR, and then Keith VK2PKT. I had qualified the silo for the Silos On The Air program.

I logged 8 stations on 40m before swapping the microphone with Marija. She soon had her 4 contacts in the log, with contact number four being Keith VK2PKT.

We then moved to the 80m band where we logged a total of 6 stations, all from VK5.

We then lowered the squid pole and removed the links and headed to the 20m band where I logged Brett VK2VW/VK2HFI.

To conclude the activation, Marija put out a few more calls on 7.150 on 40m and logged a further 3 stations.

After 50 minutes at the silo, we had a total of 25 contacts in the log from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.

Marija logged the following stations 0n 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK2UXO
  3. VK3BEL
  4. VK2PKT
  5. VK5WG
  6. VK3ZPF
  7. VK4NH
  8. VK3OHM
  9. VK2IO

Marija logged the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HAA
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK5IS/m

I logged the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK4SMA
  3. VK2JPR
  4. VK2PKT
  5. VK4NH
  6. VK3VIN
  7. VK2VW
  8. VK2HFI

I logged the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HAA
  2. VK5IS/m
  3. VK5FANA

I logged the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2VW
  2. VK2HFI

References.

  1. Coorong District Council, 2021, <https://www.coorong.sa.gov.au/tourism/our-towns/our-towns-coomandook>, viewed 1st December 2021
  2. fickr, 2021, <https://www.flickr.com/photos/82134796@N03/40328820734>, viewed 1st December 2021.
  3. flickr, 2021, <https://www.flickr.com/photos/82134796@N03/40328818574>, viewed 1st December 2021.
  4. Trove, 2021, <https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/30757584>, viewed 1st December 2021.
  5. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Whyte_(pastoralist)>, viewed 1st December 2021.
  6. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coomandook>, viewed 1st December 2021.

Home from our trip away

We are home from our trip to Bordertown.

We activated eight silos for the Silos On The Air (SiOTA) program, and six parks for the VKFF Activation Weekend for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

We made a total of 944 QSOs and 272 Park to Park contacts.

Contacts into VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, VK8, Japan, and New Zealand.

PARKS.

  • Poocher Swamp Game Reserve VKFF-1741 (122 QSOs)
  • Custon Conservation Park VKFF-1024 (95 QSOs)
  • Wolseley Common Conservation Park VKFF-1125 (126 QSOs)
  • Pine Hill Soak Conservation Park VKFF-1078 (173 QSOs)
  • Bangham Conservation Park VKFF-0869 (116 QSOs)
  • Geegeela Conservation Park VKFF-0883 (106 QSOs)

SILOS.

  • Coomandook VK-CMK5 (25 QSOs)
  • Coonalpyn VK-CNN5 (21 QSOs)
  • Tintinara VK-TNA5 (21 QSOs)
  • Keith VK-KTH5 (19 QSOs)
  • Wirrega VK-WRG5 (32 QSOs)
  • Bordertown South VK-BRN5 (23 QSOs)
  • Bordertown East VK-BRT5 (31 QSOs)
  • Wolseley VK-WLY5 (34 QSOs)

I will start adding posts about each of the activations over the next few weeks.

Thanks to everyone who called.  We had a fantastic 4 days away.