My last park of the day was the Giles Conservation Park, which is literally just around the corner from the Horsnell Gully Conservation Park.
I drove back along Coach Road, the turned left onto Ridge Road, and then along Stony Rise Road towards Ashton. I then turned left onto Woods Hill Road and found a gate on the left leading into the park. There was a good parking spot outside of the gate, so I left my car there.
The park consists of heavily wooded eucalyptus forest through steep gullies of the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’. The Heysen trail passes through the park. As does the Yurrebilla trail which is an interpretative bushwalking trail through the Adelaide Hills area that is currently being developed by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. The trail traverses some of South Australia’s most spectacular and interesting landscapes and provides a link between national and conservation parks in the central Mount Lofty Ranges. The trail was launched by the Hon. John Hill MP, Minister for Environment and Conservation on 2 September 2003.
The Giles Conservation Park area was settled by Charles Giles, a pioneer of the horticultural and floricultural industry of South Australia. He purchased the land while living at another property on South Road and walked to the Summit every Monday morning with his week’s provisions, returning home on Saturdays. There was no road up the valley of Third Creek at that time, and to reach his land the creek had to be crossed 21 times. Ruins of the workers’ accommodation huts, once part of an extensive nursery and orchard, can be seen.
Horsnell Gully, including the Giles section, was set aside as a conservation park in 1964 to conserve vegetation associations of the Hills Face Zone, including a number of rare and endangered plants species. In 2007, the eastern section of the park was renamed Giles Conservation Park to honor the Giles family’s historical connections to the park.
I set up my gear just inside the park boundary and used the Giles Conservation Park sign to rest the Yaesu Ft-817nd on. After erecting the 40m dipole on the 7m squid pole, I sat back in the deck chair and jumped onto 7.100, asking if the frequency was in use. Only to be greeted again by Col VK5HCF and Larry VK5LY. This was followed by a steady call from regular ‘Hunters from VK5 & VK3.
I spoke again with John VK5BJE who was still in the Mount George Conservation Park. So that was some more Park to Park points.
I operated for about half an hour again on 40m SSB and ended up with 18 QSO’s.
The weather was starting to get absolutely freezing, even though it was not quite 3.oo o’clock in the afternoon. I lowered the antenna and adjusted the alligator clips and had a listen on 20m for any possible DX. But my hands were starting to stiffen up from the cold, and as much as I like working DX, I decided to pack up the gear as it was just too damn cold !
The following stations were worked:- Col VK5HCF/qrp; Larry VK5LY; Brian VK5FMID; Dave VK3VCE; Peter VK3PF; John VK5BJE/p; Nev VK5WG; Colin VK3UBY; Andy VK5LA; Tom VK5EE; Ian VK3FNBL; Brenton VK5BZ; Roy VK5NRG; Robin VK5TN; Graham VK5KGP; Mal VK3AZZ; Nick VK3ANL; and John VK5FTCT.
After activating the park, I went for a walk through the park, to warm up and to explore. I walked along a track, that was once the principal road into Adelaide from the east during the 1870s and 1880s. There was a coach gate located on the highest point of ‘Coach Hill’, which is known today as the suburb of Skye. The driver blew a trumpet to tell the settlers that he had been through the gate and they had to climb up to close it. Near the spot where the power lines cross Coach Road, there was a hut for a ‘team’s keeper’ who kept fresh horses for the coaches. Looking around me at the scrub, you can’t help but admire our pioneering history. It must have been an incredibly interesting, but very difficult life.
Headed home to watch the end of the footy. I shouldn’t have rushed home….the Adelaide Crows got beaten by our arch rivals, Port power, by just 3 points !