Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, VKFF-781

On Sunday 4th April 2015, I headed out to the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, which is located in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’, east of Adelaide.  Kenneth Stirling CP is one of the newly added parks to the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program– VKFF-781.  Although I have activated this park many times previously for the VK5 Parks award, this was the first time I would activate the park for the WWFF program.

Screenshot 2015-04-09 13.22.21

Above: Map showing the location of the Kenneth Stirling CP.  Map courtesy of

This is a very interesting park. Not only because it consists of four completely autonomous sections, but also due to its history.

The park consists of four separate sections:-

  1. Wotton Scrub
  2. Filsell Hill
  3. White Scrub
  4. Burdett Scrub

I have spoken with Bill Filsell from Filsell’s Apples, which has been a family business operated since 1903. The Filsell Hill section is named after the Filsell family.

However, the park in its entirety was named in honour of Kenneth George Stirling.


image courtesy of Graham Churchett

So who was Kenneth ‘Ken’ George Stirling? Well I have been fortunate enough to get in contact with a gentleman called Graham Churchett, who knew Ken, and this is what Graham had to say…..

The Environment Committee was a sub committee of the Town and Country Planning Association composed of the following:

Ron Caldicot, Dr John Coulter, David Strahle, Alwin Clements, Ray Holliday, Miss Erdley, Dr Peter Guldhurst, Ken Stirling, Ralph Middenway, Elise and Gordon Gardner and myself.

This committee was active across a broad spectrum of planning and environmental issues but it was not until money was given anonymously to the committee, and we employed Ron Caldicot as a Project Director, that some monumental changes occurred.

At the time the State Planning Authority was headed by Stewart Heart and sitting on the authority were developers and others who naturally pushed through every approval to further line their pockets at the expense of the environment and common good. The committee pressured the government and Ron was appointed to the Authority and in a short time the rules were changed to exclude those with vested interests. 

With the help of the Natural History Society we brought about the protection of the wedge tail eagle, and Improved planning laws.

In May 1980 tragedy occurred. David Strahle, a gentle, dedicated man and one who worked for a better world suddenly died due to a massive heart attack. We were all stunned, he was only in his 45th year.

In 1973 we were again shocked when Ken Stirling died from a heart attack when jogging by the uni bridge.  He was only 38.

Ken, and all of us for that matter, were appalled at the scarring taking place in the north Flinders by EX Oil and Ken knew more of what was going on as he was employed by two of Australia’s largest mining companies before joining Poseidon’s associate, Samin Ltd, in 1969.

 It was when Poseidon shares  went through the roof that Ken became a millionaire  and  in 1972 Ken resigned from the mining industry and sought a position in the Public Service with the Department for the Environment. A series of applications were rebuffed and some were not even answered and he was bitter at this.

While waiting for something to turn up he gave unpaid service to the Birdwood Mill Museum.

 His benefactions were not known to the Public service and his intense interest in conservation not realised.

 Those who examined his application may have noted with disapproval his association with the mining industry. The irony of it is that but for the mining boom, the entire conservation cause in South Australia would not have prospered without Ken’s personal service and financial help.

It was only after his death we found out that Ken had given money to a variety of organisations and in particular, for Ron’s full time employment as a director, $100.000 was given to set up Radio 5UV University radio employing Keith Conlon. $50,000 was given to State Archives, $200,000 to the Australian Conservation Foundation for the acquisition and establishment of a national park. This park is now rightly known as the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park.

 Through Ron we achieved so much and it was then that I came to the earnest belief that if the conservation movement was to make any meaningful headway in this cockeyed world, we had to employ key people full time.

I was privileged to have known Ron, David and Ken as friends, all be it that our time together with regard to David and Ken was short. I was saddened to hear the other day that Ron, a man I knew with a mind as sharp as a tack and a gentle manner but one who would stand his ground with great conviction, was now in a home suffering severe dementure.

What can I say other than they are fondly remembered.

Below is part of what the Advertiser columnist, Stewart Cockburn said of Ken Stirling upon his death…..

Ken Stirling was the son of a railway man. He wanted to be a boundary rider on an outback station and, for a while, he became a multimillionaire. He made his money in the mining boom, and gave most of it away. Only since he died, have the benefactions of this humble, intensely private man become known outside his family and a small circle of friends and associates.

I set up in the Wotton Scrub section of the park and ran my Yaesu FT857d and the 40m/20m linked dipole, supported by my 7 metre telescopic squid pole.

Screenshot 2015-04-09 13.21.48  Above: Map showing the border of the Wotton Scrub section of the park. Map courtesy of mapcarta.comScreenshot 2015-04-09 13.22.02

Above: The Wotton Scrub Section.  Image courtesy of

This was one of the best activations I had experience for a while when it came to working DX.  I started off on 40m first and worked a total of 21 stations in VK3 and VK5.  My first contact was with Nick VK3ANL who was activating the Terrick Terrick National Park, VKFF-630.  Next up I spoke with Hans VK5YX who was portable at Wombaroo in the Murray Mallee.  I then propped on 7.144 and called CQ where my first taker was Nev VK5WG, followed by Richard VK5ZRY, and then Ben VK5BB.

When things slowed down on 40m I headed off to 20m.  Unfortunately I could not get on to 14.244 as there were some European stations working close by.  So I started calling CQ on 14.241 and this was answered by Gerard VK2IO.  What followed was a huge pile up from Europe, the UK & North Ameerica.  The first European caller was Danny ON4VT, followed by Luk ON4BB, Max IK1GPG and then Luciano I5FLN.  The secret to my success was that they spotted me on the DX cluster.

I went on to work a total of 135 stations on 20m in Belgium, Italy, Germany, Russia, France, Netherlands, Ukraine, Spain, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovak Republic, Romania, Poland, USA, England, Croatia, Latvia, Canary Islands, Switzerland, Poland, Portugal, Luxembourg, Belarus, Austria, Denmark, Alaska, and Finland.  Thankyou to everyone who spotted me on the DX Cluster.

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My last contact on 20m SSB was with Bob VK3SX.  I then headed off to 40m where I called CQ on 7.144 and worked a further 14 stations in VK2, VK3, VK4 VK5 and VK6.  Thanks to Paul VK2HV for getting the ball rolling and spotting me on the DX Cluster.  And also to Rob VK4FFAB.

One of my contacts was with Adam VK2YK who informed me that V6Z in Micronesia was up the band a little and had a great signal.  So I was pretty eager to love off and try my luck.  But Iwas still taking calls from other VK’s so I patiently waited until things slowed down and then tuned up to 7.152 and heard V6Z coming in very well, working split.  But unfortunately by this time he had a large pile up from Japan, the USA, VK & ZL.  I just couldn’t break through.

So I had a tune around the band and found the 7.1653 group and Jim WB2REM.  I called in and worked Jim and five other USA stations.  My signal report ranged from 44 to 57.  Not bad considering I was running 40 watts and a tiny dipole.

I thought I would try my luck one last time with V6Z and this time my persistence paid off.  After about 3 minutes of calling I got through.  I was very happy as this was a new DXCC entity for me on 40m whilst operating portable.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ANL/p (Terrick Terrick NP)
  2. VK5YX/p
  3. VK5WG
  4. VK5ZRY
  5. VK5BB
  6. VK3FDAP
  7. VK5KLV
  8. VK5FANA
  9. VK3JP
  10. VK5ALX
  11. VK3AX
  12. VK3PF/m
  13. VK3DAC
  14. VK3TKK
  15. VK5ZAR
  16. VK3VT
  17. VK3FSPG
  18. VK5LOL/p
  19. VK5AV
  20. VK3VIN
  21. VK3AV
  22. VK2HV
  23. VK2FDJO
  24. VK3PMG
  25. VK5FLEX
  26. VK3ETC/5
  27. VK3NRG
  28. VK2YK
  29. VK3GFS
  30. VK5KFB
  31. VK4FFAB
  32. VK5AAH
  33. VK6HRC/P
  34. VK4FAAS
  35. VK3HRA
  36. WB2REM
  37. AH6GE
  38. W1RQ
  39. N7MIT
  40. W6PXE
  41. N7SEP
  42. V6Z

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO
  2. ON4VT
  3. ON4BB
  4. IK1GPG
  5. I5FLN
  6. VK2YK
  7. DK4RM
  8. IK0OPS
  9. DK8FS
  10. RA3PCI
  11. IK5ORP
  12. DK0EE
  13. F1BLL
  14. DL5EBG
  15. OP7M
  16. ON5JE
  17. PB5X
  18. IK8FIQ
  19. DJ8QP
  20. IK0BGA
  21. UT4EX
  22. EA3MP
  23. DL1EBR
  24. PA3GRM
  25. UW5ZM
  26. HA6NF
  27. EA4DTV
  28. IZ8DFO
  29. S52KM
  30. PA3WB
  31. DL2ND
  32. ON7YZ
  33. OM7OM
  34. F2YT
  35. UR7ET
  36. EA3NW
  37. RX9WN
  38. YO3JW
  39. EA1DR
  40. F5TA
  41. SP6KEP
  42. ON6UQ
  43. HA6OB
  44. UX2KA
  45. KK4TXZ
  46. ON5SWA
  47. IZ2EWR
  48. DL4PT
  49. EA7AK
  50. F5IDJ
  51. IZ5UGP
  52. G0RBD
  53. I3KAN
  54. DL7HU
  55. UA3NM
  56. M1CMR
  57. IZ3QHB
  58. IK8BPY
  59. IZ1GRH
  60. OK1APV
  61. S58AL
  62. 9A2HQ
  63. OM1AX
  64. RC5F
  65. DK8PJ
  66. M6GHM
  67. SP2MPO
  68. EA2KV
  69. UA6NT
  70. IZ5CML
  71. IK3WDI
  72. YL2TQ
  73. I1POR
  74. DL5XU
  75. EA8JK
  76. G3MWV
  77. EA4FZC
  78. HB9TSI
  79. F6BWA
  80. DL6ATM
  81. IZ2IHO
  82. SP8GEY
  83. IZ0PED
  84. IZ1PLH
  85. S58N
  86. CT1AGS
  87. DK2BS
  88. W4REX
  89. IZ1NBX
  90. VK3PF/p (VKFF-758)
  91. VK7NWT
  92. DF8NY
  93. HB9RDE
  94. M0HDX
  95. UA1AKJ
  96. RN3B
  97. UK2PKT
  98. IZ5IOS
  99. OK2BPU
  100. IT9ZVL
  101. S57S
  102. EA3HND
  103. PD1RK
  104. DL4EBC
  105. DG8DBW
  106. IZ1JMN
  107. IZ5YHD
  108. IW2NXI
  109. PD2AD
  110. SP2GWH
  111. IZ8EFD
  112. LX90IARU
  113. IZ8GCE
  114. F4GWG
  115. F6KOP
  116. EU2MM
  117. UR8EW
  118. US2WU
  119. M0WYZ
  120. 9A3KS
  121. OH6RP
  122. IW2ETR
  123. CT1DQV
  124. DL1ASF
  125. F8PRD
  126. SP2ORL
  127. DJ1SD
  128. ON7LX
  129. EA3HSO
  130. EOE1DPS
  131. EA8OT
  132. OZ1W
  133. LX1IQ
  134. G1HPD
  135. DF1YQ
  136. VK2MCB
  137. KL2PM
  138. 2I0FLO
  139. M5AEC
  140. G0WKH
  141. VK3SX

4 thoughts on “Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, VKFF-781

  1. Great activation Paul, good to see the DX rolling in. I did hear you while I was in Biriwal Bulga NP ( I was going to call on 7.144 but you were there ) & even wrote your call in the log, but you had a pileup going so i went back to calling myself, never got back to work you. I already have that park in the log, would have been good to get you in the log from my park, maybe next time. 73`s

    • Hi Doug,

      Conditions were very good. The WWFF program is certainly extremely popular in Europe. You are popular enough as a VK with those guys, but when they hear you are in a park, look out.

      You should have tried to break in on 40m.



  2. Pingback: Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, 5CP-104 and VKFF-0781 | vk5pas

  3. Pingback: VK5WOW at Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, 5CP-104 and VKFF-0781 | vk5pas

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