My first activation for Monday morning, 9th June, 2014, was the Telford Scrub Conservation Park, which is located about 15km north of Mount Gambier. Access is from Riddoch Highway via Grundys Lane.
Again it was a very chilly morning down in the South East. There had been very little cloud cover over night, so there was quite a bit of frost and fog on my way out to the park. But one of the advantages of getting up at this time of the day is to enjoy the spectacular sunsets. And this morning was no disappointment.
Telford Scrub Conservation Park, like most parks and native forest areas in the South East of South Australia, is an ‘island’ of native vegetation in a ‘sea’ of farming land and pine forests. They are a reminder of vast areas of native vegetation that were cleared for forestry and agriculture.
This property was owned and run by the Telford brothers – who, when they finally decided to give the farming game away, sold this parcel of bush to the Environment Department and ultimately all of us.
Telford Scrub was proclaimed in 1987 and conserves a significant eucalyptus forest of Brown Stringybark and Manna Gum and in the southern section, an important Swamp Gum woodland. Although it is only a small park, consisting of 175 hectares, it provides homes for a wide variety of native flora. The park also provides a safe refuge for native plants without the threat of being grazed by domestic stock or used for construction timber of firewood.
Within the park you can find the rare Southern Brown Bandicoot, which within the lower South East is now only known to be found in a few native forest areas including Telford Scrub. The endangered sugar glider can also be found within the park. Koalas, which once roamed the woodlands and forests of the South East up to the 1930s, became locally extinct following hunting by Europeans for skins and extensive clearing of the first. Early in 1997, several Koalas were reintroduced from Kangaroo Island to Telford Scrub and a few other parks and native forest areas in the South East.
As I drove along Grundys Lane I saw quite a few Western Grey kangaroos grazing in between the park and the adjacent pine forest. I was also fortunate enough to see 2 of the rare Red Necked wallabies.
Numerous beautiful plants can be located in the forest, including over 20 species of native orchids. These include Pink Fingers, Common Donkey orchid, Tiger orchid, and Purple Cockatoo.
I set up in the carpark off Grundys Lane. There was plenty of room here to stretch out the dipole, and because of the early hour of the day, I was the only park visitor. I used a permapine log fence to secure the 7 metre squid pole to, with the help of an octopus strap.
This was truly a very chilly morning. In fact it was 2 degrees C. So it was definitely beanie, jacket, and gloves weather.
I turned the Yaesu FT-450 onto 40m and did a quick check for VSWR. As per normal it was about 1.1:1. I have never used a tuner. The RG174 coax just simply plugs straight into the back of the transceiver. I asked if 7.090 was in use, only to be greeted by the every keen Brian VK5FMID. This was followed by another very keen park hunter, John VK5BJE, and then Andrew VK2UH. Tom VK5FTRG who I had a fair bit to do with at the SERG conference also called in. Tom is a keen park activator and hunter.
I had a steady flow of callers, including some QRP operators. They included Len VK3FB using his Argonaut, Shaun VK3VLY running just 5 watts, Erwin VK3ERW also running 5 watts, Ian VK5IS on 5 watts, Rod VK2TWR on 5 watts, Roger VK5NWE on 5 watts, and John VK5FMJC also on 5 watts. No-one was below strength 9. The band conditions were very good. This was again proven during this activation, by a call from Mike VK6MB. Mike again had a beautiful 5/9 signal coming into the South East and I received a 5/7 signal report from Mike.
Telford Scrub is truly a very beautiful park. I just wished I had more time to explore this park, but I was on a very tight schedule. So it was set up, get some quick contacts, and head off to the next park. There are some great interpretative signs at the park, and the Stringybark Forest Hike and Forest Canopy Walk, which I believe would be very enjoyable to undertake.
After operating at Telford Scrub for about 35 minutes I had a total of 30 contacts in the log from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK5, VK6, and VK7.
The following stations were worked:
Brian VK5FMID; John VK5BJE; Andrew VK2UH; Tom VK5FTRG; Len VK3FB; Wayne VK5FWMT; Mike VK3XL/m; Shaun VK3VLY’ Col VK5HCF; Ray VK3NBL; Dik VK7DIK; Tony VK2RI; Peter VK3PF; Mike VK6MB; Graham VK7NGA; Mark VK1EM; Erwin VK3ERW; Ian VK5IS; Rod VK2TWR; Roger VK5NWE; Scott VK7NWT; Nev VK5WG; Ethan VK3ETC; John VK5FMJC; Ian VK5CZ; Stan VK3BNJ;Peter VK5NAQ; Matt VK5MLB/m; Mike VK7MNH; and Marshall VK3MRG.
Cockburn, R, ‘South Australia. What’s in a Name?’, 2002.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources, ‘Telford Scub Conservation Park’, 2010.