My one and only planned activation for Saturday 11th June 2016 was the Dingley Dell Conservation Park VKFF-1025 and 5CP-056. Although this park has been activated previously (including by myself), it has not been activated for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program. So this was to be another unique park for me and the WWFF park hunters.
Above:- Map showing the location of Dingley Dell Conservation Park in the south eastern corner of South Australia. Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.
I left Mount Gambier quite early after some breakfast, and travelled south along the Riddoch Highway, out passed the extinct volcano Mount Schank and then on to Allendale East. The park is well signposted along the way. I parked in the carpark opposite Adam Lindsay Gordon’s cottage and set up in the picnic area.
Dingley Dell Conservation Park was proclaimed in 1972 and comprises around 6 hectares of scrub including South Australian blue gum, blackwood, golden wattle, coastal bearded-heath and native box. The park is surrounded by cleared grazing land.
Dingley Dell Conservation Park is most famous for its historical connections. The famed poet and horseman, Adam Lindsay Gordon owned the small cottage that is located in the park. He resided there from around 1864 and it was given to the local council by his wife Maggie in around 1873. The cottage had been built in 1862 and was purchased by Gordon in 1864 for 150 pounds. The cottage has been restored and you can undertake guided tours through the cottage (which I did during this visit to the park). The cottage was the first house on South Australia’s Heritage Register, having been registered in 1922.
So how did Dingley Dell get its name? It is certainly an interesting name. The following account comes from an old resident of the Port MacDonnell district who had an intimate acquaintance with Adam Lindsay Gordon. He said:
“The country surrounding the cottage was then, even more so than now, a sylvan paradise, in which gums and wattles ran riot and it was from the music of the birds in the trees, mingled with the tinkling of the bells of the hobbled stock, that the name ‘Dingley Dell’ was derived”.
Adam Lindsay Gordon was born in the Azores, and arrived in Australia in November 1853, aged just 20 years. He immediately obtained a position in the South Australian mounted police and was stationed at Mount Gambier and Penola. He left the police in 1855 and took up horse breaking in the south east of South Australia. He earnt a reputation of being a ‘good steady lad and a splendid horseman’. Gordon also became interested in poetry and he went on to become well known for his poetry. Sadly it was after his death that his name and his works began to grow. He also served as a politician, having been elected to the South Australian House of Assembly in 1865 for the District of Victoria.
Above:- Adam Lindsay Gordon. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
You can take a very interesting walk around the cottage and through the park. It is well signposted and has some interesting interpretive signs along the way.
More information on Dingley Dell can be found at…..
The weather was very inclement, but fine upon my arrival at the park, so I set up on a wooden bench and table in the picnic area. After calling CQ, the first station in my log from Dingley Dell was Geoff VK3SQ in Beechworth, followed by Bill VK5MBD at Red Hill in the Mid North of South Australia, Adrian Vk5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula, and then Mike VK3ZMD in Melbourne. All had excellent 5/9 signals. Despite the band being in very good shape and it being a Saturday morning, it was very very quiet on the 40m band. I worked a further 7 stations from VK3, VK4, & VK5, before the rain started to come down. It was also about this time that the caretaker of the park came along, and kindly opened up the adjacent shelter shed area for me.
After having a chat to the caretaker and relocating in the shelter shed, I called CQ again on 7.144 and this was answered by Mick VK3GGG mobile, followed by Al VK7AN and then John VK5BJE. But that was it. Callers dried up very quickly, unlike the weather.
So I took the opportunity of tuning across the 40m band and found Gerard VK2IO on 7.090 activating SOTA peak, North Brother VK2/ MN-081 which is located within the Dooragan National Park VKFF-0143. Gerard was a good 5/7 signal to Dingley Dell and reciprocated with a 5/7 for me.
I then returned to 7.144 and called CQ again and this was answered by Don VK3MCK, followed by Craig VK3WAR, Tony VK5FTVR, and then Jim VK1AT. This time around, a steady flow of callers followed. I went on to work a further 33 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK5, VK6, and VK7. I was very pleased to be able to work Daniel VK6WE all the way over in Western Australia. And also Damien VK5FDEC and Michael VK5FVSV, both running just 5 watts QRP.
I was cognisant of the time, as I had to get to the South East Radio Group’s convention/hamfest, so I headed to 20m and called CQ on 14.310. I put out numerous CQ calls which all went unanswered so I self spotted on parksnpeaks. This was immediately followed by a call from Albert S58AL in Slovenia. I was more than surprised to receive a call from Albert as it was only 11.00 a.m. SA local time. Albert was a good 5/5 and gave me a 4/4 signal report. Sadly, my only other taker on 20m was Adam VK2YK who was 5/9.
I then decided to give 15m a quick try, and I am very pleased that I did, as I had a good QSO with Steven ZL4CZ on 21.244. Steven advised that he had heard me on 20m and was going to give me a call, but he had received a phone call preventing him from doing so.
I had a total of 56 contacts in the log and it was time to pack up and head off to Mount Gambier.
Thanks to Robert VK2XXM and Adrian VK5FANA for spotting me on the DX Cluster.
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-
- VK3GGG mobile
- VK3PMG mobile
- VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ MN-081 & VKFF-0143)
- VK5ZGY mobile
- VK3YSP mobile
- VK3FOWL mobile
The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-
The following station was worked on 15m SSB:-
After leaving Dingley Dell I went to the SERG Convention and spent the afternoon there until around 5.00 p.m. For anyone who has never attended this event previously, I can highly recommend it.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2010, Dingley Dell Conservation Park brochure.
Wikipedia, 2016, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Lindsay_Gordon>, viewed 14th June 2016