My first park activation for Monday 8th June 2015 was the Telford Scrub Conservation Park, which is located just 14 km north of Mount Gambier, via the Riddoch Highway. Although I had activated this park previously, Telford Scrub was recently added to the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, so I was looking for 44 contacts.
Above:- Map showing the location of the park. Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
It was another quick stopover at McDonalds for a Bacon & Egg McMuffin and an orange juice, and I then headed out along the Riddoch Highway. Sadly, as is the case with numerous South Australian Conservation Parks, there are no signs on the Highway alerting you to the presence of a park. I used the GPS to get there and turned off the Riddoch Highway into Grundys Lane. The park is just a short distance up on the right, on the northern side of Grundys Lane.
As it was early morning (8.00 a.m.), there were plenty of kangaroos out grazing in the clearing between the roadway and the pine forest which is situated opposite the park. As per my last activation, I set up in the north eastern corner of the carpark.
Above:- Map showing my operating location in the park. Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
This is a magnificent park consiting of amazing Eucalyptus forest and bracken understorey. But sadly this activation summed up the mess that South Australian Parks and the ‘system’ is in. As I pulled in to the carpark, the first thing I saw was a television set which had been dumped in the carpark. Who knows how long it had been there. And half way through operating I had an interesting encounter with an elderly lady and her Golden Retriever. Other than having a go at me for being in ‘her park’ (despite the fact that there were numerous other parks available), her dog was running around off the lead and kept jumping up on me and at one stage almost knocked over my table. Without any apology, off she started to walk into the park with her do. Despite the very clear sign that showed dogs were not allowed in the park. I pointed this out to her, and after some complaining under her breath, off she walked along Grundy’s Lane. In all probability, she has been walking her dog off the leash in the park for a long time, completely unfettered by DEWNR.
After packing up I went for a walk through the park and along the boardwalk (I’ll talk about this more later) and tried to read the interpretive signs which were totally covered in muck. They clearly had not been cleaned in a long time.
For me, this highlighted the big problem we have here in South Australia with our beautiful parks. I can only presume that DEWNR is sadly understaffed and under funded. If it wasn’t for the dedication of the Friends of the Parks groups, I can only imagine what state the parks would be in.
Anyway, onto more positive thoughts. The Telford Scrub Conservation Park is about 175 hectares in size and was once farmed by the Telford Brothers who subsequently sold the land to the Government. The park contains at least 11 species of plants considered to be of conservation value. Numerous native orchids can be found. In fact, over 20 species have been recorded including Pink Fingers, Common Donkey orchid, Tiger orchid, and Purple Cockatoo.
The park is home to a wide range of native fauna including Western Grey kangaroos and echidnas. Several koalas were reintroduced into the park in 1997 from Kangaroo Island. The vulnerable Southern Brown Bandicoot and endangered Sugar Glider are also found in the park.
My first contact in the park was with Craig VK2PAW who came back to my CQ call on 7.098. This was followed by Scott VK7NWT, Steve VK3FSPG and John VK5FMJC. Not long after setting up, I had 2 visitors. It was Rod VK5KFB and his dad, Murray VK5BWA. They had a quick look at my operating gear and then headed off enroute to Adelaide.
Conditions on 40m were very good, and a nice little flow of callers came back to my CQ calls, from all around Australia. There were a number of the regular park hunters, but also a few new calls as well, which is always pleasing. I worked 53 stations before the UTC rollover. I even got to work a station in my own home town of Mount Barker, Kev VK5KS. I managed one park contact and that was with Mike VK6MB who was portable in Frank Hann National Park, VKFF-183.
After the UTC rollover I worked a further 10 stations including Mike VK6MB again, and also Michael VK6MMB who was with Mike in the Frank Hann National Park. I also spoke with Julie VK3FOWL who was portable on SOTA peak Mount Disapointment VK3/ VC-014.
After working a total of 60 stations on 40m I headed over to 20m and called CQ on 14.310. My CQ call was answered by Adrian VK5AW/p who was extremely weak. In fact almost totally unreadable. This was followed by Jim VK2QA, who kindly helped me out with Adrian. And my final contact was with Peter VK6RZ with a nice 5/8 signal from Western Australia.
At the end of the activation and packing up my gear, I went for a walk into the park along the track from the carpark. This leads to a beautiful picnic area with a bench and table. There are some interpretive signs along the way telling you about the forest. A 100 metre long and 4.2 metre high ‘Forest Canopy Walk’ boardwalk provides visitors to the park a unique ‘bird’s eye view’ of the forest. There are also some extended trails that can be followed as well. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to try those out, but I will be back.
This was another successful activation. I had reached the 44 QSO threshold for WWFF, with a total of 63 contacts in the log.
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-
- VK6MB/p (VKFF-183)
- VK6MB/p (VKFF-183)
- VK6MMB/p (VKFF-183)
- VK3FOWL/p (SOTA Mt Disapointment)
The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-
Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2010, Telford Scrub Conservation Park brochure.
Postcards, 2009, <http://www.postcards-sa.com.au/features2009/telford_scrub_park.html>,viewed 12th June 2015