On Friday morning, 27th December, 2013, my wife Marija and I headed down to Victor Harbor, on the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula, where we planned to stay 2 nights. And I even had ‘permission’ to activate some parks, so I didn’t need to be asked twice.
We left home in the Adelaide Hills early in the morning, and our first stop on the way down to Victor Harbor was the Cox Scrub Conservation Park, which is situated about 40 km south from my home, about 70 km south of Adelaide and about 8 km south of the little town of Ashbourne (which has a great pub by the way, called The Greenman Inn). The park is accessed off the Bull Creek Road, which was formerly known as the Adelaide to Goolwa Road.
Courtesy of: http://mapcarta.com
The Fleurieu Peninsula was named by French explorer Nicholas Baudin, after the eminent French explorer Charles Pierre Claret de Fleurieu. Way back in 1802, Matthew Flinders, the English navigator, and Nicholas Baudin mapped the southern coast of Australia. Flinders surveyed the area from the west, while Nicholas Baudin surveyed from the east. Flinders and Baudin met at a point near the mouth of the Murray River. Flinders named the bay where they met as Encounter Bay.
courtesy of http://www.gemtreewines.com
Cox Creek Conservation Park is a large park, and comprises 544 hectares of open shrubby vegetation with a drought hardy under storey. It is one of the larger parks on the Fleurieu Peninsula. It was acquired in 1969 and was dedicated as a South Australian Conservation Park on the 5th day of March, 1970. Prior to being declared a conservation park, the majority of the land was owned by Mr. V. Cox, who was apiarist at Ashbourne. He preserved the park in its natural state for the over wintering of his honey bees. The land was purchased from Mr Cox in 1969 on condition that he be allowed to keep bees in the park for as long as he required. This right was withdrawn following his death. In 1977 and then again in 1982, further smaller additions to the park were made.
The park also includes a short section of the Finnis River. In the south eastern corner of the park there is a steep sided valley which contains a spring fed creek. and there is also a winter swamp area near the main carpark off Bull Creek Road, and this was full of water when Marija and I visited.
The famous Heysen trail runs very close to the western boundary of the park. Coles Crossing campsite on the western side of the park, offers trekers along the Heysen trail, a place to rest their weary bones.
The February 1983 Ash Wednesday fires ravaged the park. All but a small 5 hectare section in the south western corner of the park, was totally burnt out during the devastating bush fires which claimed 28 lives in South Australia (47 in Victoria) and destroyed about 2,300 homes in SA & Victoria.
There are a variety of birds located in the park (of the feathered variety), including Rainbow lorikeets, Eastern Spinebill, Golden Whistler,Black-shouldered kite, and yellow-tailed black cockatoos. In fact over 80 species of birds have been recorded in the park.
Also located within the park are at least 15 species of mammals, 11 species of reptiles, and 6 species of frogs. Mammals include the echidna, and the endangered and vulnerable Southern-brown bandicoot. While reptiles located within the park include Rosenberg’s Goanna.
Over 350 plant species have been recorded in Cox Scrub, with dominant species being Eucalyptus Pink Gum, Cup Gum, and Brown Stringy Bark. In the north western corner of the park, there are a large number of Sugar Gums, and these were planted when then park was privately owned, to provide additional nectar for bees.
The park was burnt significantly during a recent scrub fire in May, 2013. The fire which started off as controlled burn off, destroyed over 350 hectares of the park. And there were clear signs of the fire, with the vegetation trying to slowly recover. It is really quite amazing how the bush can recover from such an event. I wonder how much wildlife was lost though as a result of the fire ?
Courtesy of:- http://www.fire-brigade.asn.au
I set up the gear in the carpark utilising the fence line to secure the 7m squid pole. I made myself comfortable on the deck chair with the table, and put out a call on 7.095 to be greeted by a hungry pack of Park Hunters. First cab off the rank was Graham VK5KGP with a very strong signal. This was followed by Larry VK5LY who was mobile, and then David VK5DGR who was running just 2 watts and a magnetic loop antenna, under the carport of his home in Adelaide. This was followed by a steady flow of callers from VK3 & VK5.
Whilst in the park I managed a few SOTA contacts on 20m SSB, including Andrew VK1NAM who was portable on Mount Stromlo VK1/ AC-043 (5/2 both ways), and only my 2nd ever Queensland SOTA contact with Dave VK4OZY who was portable on Mount Mary Smokes VK4/ SE-041 (5/7 sent & 5/6 received). The contacts with Andrew & Dave were a real added bonus.
Whilst operating I was also approached by a young guy who was in the carpark in his Toyota Coaster travelling around SA with his girlfriend. He was extremely interested in amateur radio and told me that he was an avid short wave listener. I gave him my contact details and who knows, maybe when he gets back home to the Northern Territory, he might get his amateur licence. he was certainly keen when I told him that CW was no longer compulsory.
After about 90 minutes in the park, it was time to pack up and head off to Scott Conservation Park. I had 20 QSO’s in the log (18 on 40m SSB and 2 on 20m SSB).
I worked the following stations:-
Graham VK5KGP; Larry VK5LY/m; David VK5DGR (qrp); Brian VK5FMID; Ray VK3HSR; Bill VK5MBD; Col VK5HCF (qrp); Tom VK5EE (qrp); Tom VK5FTRG; Nick VK3ANL; Paul VK5FUZZ; Bernard VK3AMB; Allen VK3HRA; Bruce VK3IG; Ron VK3AFW; Nev VK5WG; Brian VK3MCD/2; Rohan VK5FVBR; Andrew VK1NAM/p (SOTA); and Dave VK4OZY/p (SOTA.
Friends of Cox Scrub Conservation Park 2012, Friends of Cox Scrub Conservation Park, Ashbourne, South Australia, viewed 30th December 2013, <http://www.communitywebs.org/FriendsCoxScrub>
South Australian Tourism Commission 2013, South australian Tourism Commission, Adelaide, South Australia, viewed 30th December 2013, <http://http://www.southaustralia.com>
Wikimapia, 2013, viewed 30th December, 2013, <http://wikimapia.org>