Winninowie Conservation Park

On Thursday afternoon, 5th February 2015, I headed north to the Winninowie Conservation Park, which is located on the Upper Spencer Gulf, about 25 km south of Port Augusta and about 270 km north of Adelaide.

Screenshot 2015-02-07 15.50.10

map courtesy of

I had arranged to meet Les VK5KLV at the park to do a joint activation.  We had agreed to meet at the end of the road leading through the park to Chinaman Creek.

Winninowie Conservation Park was proclaimed in 1990 as recognition of its biological and ecological importance.  The park, which covers an area of 7,847 hectares, is a coastal area located between Port Augusta and Port Pirie, which has unique physical and biological conditions including large tidal range and extremes of water temperature.  The park supports mangrove, samphire and sea grass communities.  The Yatala Harbor Aquatic Reserve overlaps a portion of the Winninowie Conservation Park.  The park has 28 km of coastline.

It is believed that the termination ‘-owie’ in various place names throughout the region was widely used by the Nukunu aboriginal people, referring in general to a watering place.

The park was previously part of local pastoral holdings.  Much of the area was used for sheep grazing.  During the 1920’s, B.H.A.S. smelters extracted large quantities of shell-grit from coastal dunes in the area, for smelter operations at nearby Port Pirie.

As I travelled along the dirt road cutting through the park, I encountered numerous emus.  They didn’t seem to be too preturbed by the presence of a motor vehicle.  But I didn’t see any kangaroos.  It was probably a little too hot for them to be venturing out yet.

A total of 10 native mammals have been recored in the park including the Euro, Red kangaroo, Western grey kangaroo, Fat-tailed dunnart, Common dunnart, Mitchells Hopping mouse, Echidma, and Gould’s wattle bat.

About 124 species of birds have been recorded in the park.  A total of 32 species of reptiles call the park home, including the rare Spiny-tailed gecko and the Mallee worm-lizard.

Les and I set up at Chinamans Creek and we used my Yaesu FT-817nd and the SOTA Beams 40m/20m linked dipole.  It was a job keeping the 7 metre squid pole upright, as it was very windy.  But at the same time it was also very warm, so the shelter provided by the trees was welcomed.  Les operated first and filled up half a page of his log with contacts on 40m SSB.

There are four shacks here at Chinamans Creek that are located on Crown land, and are held under life tenure.  When the leases expire, the land will be incorporated into the park.

I then took the reigns of the mic and made a total of 15 contacts into VK2, VK3, and VK5 on 40m SSB and 20m SSB.  My first contact was with Tony VK3VTH/2 who was portable in the Warrumbungle National Park, north of Dubbo in New South Wales.  This was followed by a call from Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula running QRP 5 watts.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. Tony VK3VTH/p (Warrumbungle NP)
  2. Adrian VK5FANA (qrp)
  3. Peter VK5BWH
  4. Peter VK5KPR
  5. Greg VK5GJ (qrp)
  6. John VK5BJE
  7. Peter VK3ZPF
  8. Amanda VK3FQSO
  9. Arthur VK5AAR
  10. Peter VK5NAQ
  11. Chris VK5FCHM
  12. Adam VK2YK

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. Tony VK3VTH/2 (Warrumbungle NP)
  2. Adam VK2YK
  3. Tom VK5EE

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