Carpenter Rocks Conservation Park

My last activation for Friday was the Carpenter Rocks Conservation Park which is located on the Lower South East coast, approximately 40 kilometres south-west of Mount Gambier, and 452 km SE of Adelaide.  The park conserves unique coastal habitat in the Lower South East and protect important flora and fauna species, including some of national and international significance.

Carpenter Rocks Conservation Park protects 30.5 hectares of coastal habitat, which was purchased with the assistance of the Australian Government’s Natural Heritage Trust.   A number of threatened species and plant communities are conserved within the park.  The park protects part of the only known population of Carpenter Rocks Manna Gum and provides significant roosting habitat for the Orange-bellied Parrot, which is critically endangered at a national level.

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The land comprising the reserve is significant for the local Aboriginal Boandik people, with one site of significance located in Carpenter Rocks Conservation Park and another two sites within close proximity.

Carpenter Rocks Conservation Park was proclaimed on 6 September 2001 under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 with a section 43 proclamation providing for existing and future rights for exploration and mining under the Petroleum Act 2000.  The South Australian Government purchased the land with the assistance of the Australian Government through the National Reserve System Program of the Natural Heritage Trust and a contribution from the Nature Foundation SA Inc.

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To access the park you need to travel along Carpenter Rocks Road, into the little seaside township of Carpenter Rocks.  Then turn left onto Pelican Point Road and travel south east.  You will find a small clearance in the scrub a short distance down on the left, and this is where you enter the park.  You will drive into a small clearing and this is where the park sign is located.  There is a track which then follows a dog leg around to the left and follows the power lines through the park.

Carpenter Rocks map

Carpenter Rocks is a small coastal ton which faces the Southern Ocean and is renowned for its rugged coastline which provides exceptional fishing and diving locations.  Carpenter Rocks supports a significant southern rock lobster industry and Bucks Bay provides a safe haven for the many fishing boats moored there.

Lieutenant James Grant, when on board the HMS Lady Nelson, was the first known British person to view land known today as south eastern South Australia.   On 3 December 1800, he sighted what at first he thought was four unconnected islands, but on a closer look realized they were two mountains and two capes.  One of these he named Cape Banks, just west of today’s township, after English Botanist  Joseph Banks.

On 4 April 1802 the French explorer Nicholas Baudin aboard the ship Geographe noticed the area and made the observation:

“Along the beach we could make out a continuos line of rocks which stretched a little way out to sea and over which the breakers pounded with extraordinary force.  This was the cause of the incessant noise which we could hear”.

The origin of the name is not clear.  There is some suggestion that it was named after Dutch explorer, Captain Pierter Carpentier.  It is also suggested that it was originally called ‘Les Carpentiers’ by Baudin, alluding to their indented and serrated nature, which reminded Baudin of a carpenters saw.

I set up a few hundred metres down the track in a clearing.  The scrub in the park is very very thick, and there are not too many positions to put up a dipole.  I set up my fold up table & deck chair and strapped the 7m squid pole to a shrub and stretched out the legs of the dipole, tying them to shrubs.

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My first contact from the Carpenter Rocks CP was another ‘park to Park’ contact with Larry VK5LY who was operating from the Danggali Conservation Park.  Larry had a great 5/8 signal.  I also managed a SOTA contact with Allen VK3HRA who was on the top of Mount Ida, VK3/ VU-009 (5/8 signal reports both ways).

After about 40 minutes in the park it was time to pack up, and head back to Mount Gambier for my presentation to the South East Radio Group.

The following stations were worked:-

Larry VK5LY/p; Ian VK5CZ; Col VK5HCF; Colin VK3UBY; Tony VK3CAT; Bernard VK3AMB; John VK5DJ; Tony VK5ZAI; Graham VK5KGP; John VK2FALL; Greg VK3UT; Wayne VK2PDW; Ivan VK5HS/m; and Allen VK3HRA/p.

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