Our first park activation for Sunday (19th April 2015) was the Maize Island Lagoon Conservation Park, which is located about 160 km north east of Adelaide, near the town of Waikerie. The park qualifies for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program and is VKFF-827. This was to be a unique park for me as an activator.
Above: Map showing the location of Maize Island Lagoon CP. Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
On the way we stopped off to view the memorial cairn for two police officers killed in the line of duty back in the 1800’s. As a serviving police officer, I am always extremely interested in police history. Corporal William Murray Wickham and Mounted Constable John Dunning Carter who lost their lives on the 7th of May 1847. In early May, 1847, the pair received orders to travel to Overland Corner, where they were to deal with reported disturbances. Overland Corner, although used as a resting and grazing area by drovers, had neither facilities nor status as a township. The pair set out from Moorundee on horseback and, dressed in full uniform – heavy tunics, trousers, riding boots, sabres and firearms – rode through mallee scrub. Some way into their journey on May 7, the officers decided to stay overnight at the river-front station of J.H. Wigley. Then, undeterred by major risks, the officers bravely attempted the river-crossing that killed them. Local Aborigines later recovered the two bodies, which they laid to rest on the river bank. At a later date, the bodies were exhumed and reburied at West Terrace Cemetery.
Maize Island Lagoon CP is about 215 hectares in size and is backed by magnificent cliffs created by the mighty River Murray. The park contains many backwater lagoons lined by majestic River Red Gums. The park is alive with a variety of waterbirds. The park was so named because early pioneers had grown crops of maize as fodder for cattle and horses on the drying lagoon bed following high rivers.
The area was first settled in 1880 by the Shephard brothers who named their sheep run Waikerie Station, and built the little homestead still standing on Holder Bottom Road. In 1888 the Government cancelled pastoral leases and began surveing the country for closer settlement. Village settlers arrived in 1894 to establish themselves on horticultural allotments in the area of Holder Bottom Road. In 1921 a pipeline was built to Maize Island and orchards were established there. In 1956, the infamous Murray River flood struck, with more high rivers in the following years, which convinced the Government to resettle people in 1975 and control the area as a Conservation Park.
Above: Image chowing our operating spot. Courtesy of mapcarta.com
Again for this activation I had nominated an operating frequency of 7.144. I called CQ a few times and this was answered by Les VK5KLV at Port Augusta, followed by Tony VK5FTVR at Strathalbyn, Tony VK3VTH mobile near Hay in New South Wales, and then Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula.
Tony was the first of a number of mobile and QRP stations that called me. I also worked Mike VK3NMK in the Lake Colac Caravan Park, John VK3PXJ mobile at Nagambie, Bernard Vk3AV QRP 5 watts, Peter VK3PF who was QRP, and Peter VK3TKK mobile.
At about the commencement of the new UTC day, after working 34 stations I started to experience a little bit of QRM. It was one of the many Sunday morning WIA broadcasts. So, not wanting to cause any grief to anyone listening to the broadcast, I QSYd down the band to 7.095. But not before I had worked John VK5BJE who was operating portable in the Terrick Terrick National Park, VKFF-630 (5/9 both ways).
After QSYing to 7.095 I worked a further 14 stations in VK3, VK5 & VK7. This included Mike VK3XL mobile, Alan VK5AR mobile at Mitcham in the Adelaide suburbs, and Stef VK5HSX mobile at STokes Hill lookout in the Flinders Ranges,
I did call CQ on 14.310 a number of times, but had no takers. I had a total of 48 stations in the log. So we packed up and headed in to Waikerie for some morning tea at the Waikerie bakery, which we can highly recommend. We alo stopped off at the lookout taking in the views of the Murray River and the park we had just activated.
The following stations were worked:-
- VK5BJE/3 (Terrick Terrick National Park)
Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Parks of the Riverland
Monument Australia, 2015, <http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/people/government—state/display/98413-corporal-william-murray-wickham-and-mounted-constable-john-dunning>, viewed 23rd April 2015
National Parks South Ausralia, 2015, <http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_park/Browse_by_region/Murray_River/Maize_Island_Lagoon_Conservation_Park>, viewed 23rd April 2015