Pandappa Conservation Park VKFF-1131 and 5CP-170

Our third and final activation of the day was to be the Mokota Conservation Park, but we were running way behind schedule, so Marija and I decided to pop in and activate the Pandappa Conservation Park VKFF-1131 & 5CP-180, instead.  This was to be another unique park activation for both Marija and I for both the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program and the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.


Above:- Map showing the location of the Pandappa Conservation Park in the Mid North of South Australia.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The park was relatively well signposted.  Not from the road, but there was a park sign inside the park boundary  which Marija spotted out of the corner of her eye as we were travelling along the Pandappa Road.  As we approached the gate we saw a ‘Park closed’ sign and thought ‘Oh no’.  Fortunately as we got closer we read the finer print which said the park was closed between 3rd January – 9th January 2017 due to feral animal control.

We drove a few hundred metres into the park and found a clearing in amongst the mallee scrub and started to set up.  The usual equipment was used for this activation: the Yaesu FT-757d, and the 80/40/20m linked dipole.


Above:- Map showing our operating spot in the northern section of the Pandappa Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Pandappa Conservation Park is 1,051 hectares in size and is a semi arid park offering varied vegetation and wildlife.  The park was proclaimed on the 20th December 1973.  The vegetation within the park consists of red and white mallee, yorrell, hopbush, daisy bushes, saltbush and an area of low open woodland mallee box, sugarwoods, acacias and Bullock Bush.  The park is largely surrounded by cleared agricultural land.

A large amount of birdlife can be found in the park.  A total of 87 species have been recorded including Brown Treecreeper, Variegates Fairywren, Yellow-plumed honeyeaster, Southern Whiteface, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Red-rumped parrot and Crested Bellbird.

The park was named after the nearby Pandappa Homestead, which was settled in 1859 by Peter Waite (1834-1922), a South Australian pastoralist, businessman, company director and public benefactor.  In 1913 Waite presented to the University of Adelaide his Urbrae estate which comprised 134 hectares of land, and his house.  In 1915, the adjoining Claremont and Netherby estates of 67 hectares were added.  As a result the Waite Agricultural Research Institute was established.  The donation remains one of the largest public benefactions in South Australian history.  Waite also gave an adjoining estate of 114 acres to the South Australian Government for the purpose of founding an agricultural high school.  This became Urrbrae Agricultural High School.

Above:- Peter Waite (left) and an article from the Observer, 1922, re his death (right).  Images courtesy of wikipedia & Trove.

Unfortunately we did not have any mobile telephone coverage in the park so we were unable to self spot.  I headed to 7.144 hoping that some of the dedicated park hunters would be monitoring that frequency.  Unfortunately there was a ZL on 7.144 calling CQ, so I headed up the band to 7.150 and started calling CQ.  My CQ call was answered by Peter VK3KCD with a very strong 5.9 + signal.  This was followed by Mal VK3CWM, and then Joe VK3YSP and his wife Julie VK3FOWL.  Joe kindly spotted me and this resulted in some of the regular park hunters finding me including Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG.

Thirteen QSOs into the activation I was called by Neil VK4HNS who was portable at Goondiwindi at his sister’s house.  Neil got his 8 year old nephew Kyne on the radio for a short while, and I explained to Kyne where I was and what I was doing.  It is great to hear youngsters up on air and fascinated by the hobby of amateur radio.

I had soon qualified the park for the Australian (VKFF) chapter of WWFF, as had Marija.  It was quite slow going, but I was slowly heading towards the required 44 contacts for the global WWFF program.  I worked a total of 31 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7, before heading off to 20m.

After calling CQ on 14.310, Mark VK4SMA responded, followed by Keith VK2PKT, and then Lawrie VK4SQ.  I worked a total of 14 stations on 20m, getting me over the line with my 44 QSOs.  This included a couple of nice QSOs with Western Australian mobile stations.  The first being Martin VK6ZMS who was mobile at Fremantle and then another Martin, VK6RC, who was also mobile at Fremantle.  Both Martin’s had strong 5/8 signals coming out of their mobiles.  One DX station was logged, and that was Gerard F1BLL in France.

It was fast approaching 6.00 p.m. local time and we still had a little bit of a drive ahead of us, so Marija and decided to pack up.  We would have liked to have tried 15m and 80, but we were pushed for time.  I had a total of 45 contacts in the log and Marija had 10 stations logged.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3KCD
  2. VK3CWM
  3. VK3YSP
  4. VK3FOWL
  5. VK3GGG
  6. VK3PMG
  7. VK5FMWW
  8. VK5FVSV
  9. VK5AA
  10. VK5EE
  11. VK3CD/p
  12. VK3ZPF
  13. VK4HNS/p
  14. VK3FSPG
  15. VK3MPR
  16. VK5KLV
  17. VK5ZGY
  18. VK3FRAB
  19. VK3FPHG
  20. VK7DW
  21. VK3JP
  22. VK3ARH
  23. VK3HSB
  24. VK2LEE
  25. VK3SFG
  26. VK2IG
  27. VK3KBC/p
  28. VK2PKT
  29. VK2FENG
  30. VK3VLY
  31. VK3IO

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4SMA
  2. VK2PKT
  3. VK4SQ
  4. VK6ZMS/m
  5. VK6XL
  6. VK6RC/m
  7. VK6XN
  8. VK2IF
  9. VK4RF
  10. VK4HA
  11. VK2LEE
  12. VK4AAV
  13. F1BLL
  14. VK4HNS/p

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3YSP
  2. VK3FOWL
  3. VK3GGG
  4. VK3PMG
  5. VK5FMWW
  6. VK5FVSV
  7. VK5EE
  8. VK3FRAB
  9. VK5AA
  10. VK3CD/p

After leaving Pandappa we continued along Pandappa Road and then on to Franklyn Road.  We stopped briefly to take a photograph of a Statton gate.  These sturdy gates were built at Ned Statton’s blacksmith shop in Hallett during the late 1800’s.  The business flourished and up to 12 men were employed.  The business closed in 1957 and the building was sadly demolished.  However many of these Statton gates can still be found in the local area.


We continued on to the little town of Terowie, which in the local aboriginal language means ‘hidden water’.  Terowie, also formerly known as Gottliebs Well and Shebbear, is located halfway between Adelaide and Broken Hill.  What an amazing town this is.  It is like stepping back in time, with many historic buildings in the main street dating back to the 1880’s.  In 1985 the town was declared a ‘historic town’

Terowie is a very famous railway town.  The broad gauge railway reached Terowie in 1880  from Adelaide, and as a result the town of Terowie boomed.  Terowie was the break of gauge for trains heading north and south.  As a result all passengers and freight changed at Terowie.  From 1940 to the 1950’s, Terowie had a population of about 2000 people.  In 1969 the broad gauge was extended to Peterborough and this resulted in a decline of the town.  Many people left the area and businesses closed.  In 1989 the last train left Terowie and the line was ripped up.

On the 20th March 1942, whilst transferring trains in Terowie, General Douglas MacArthur delivered his famous speech during which he stated: “I came out of Bataan and I shall return”, referring to the Battle of the Philippines.  There is a plaque and an interpretive sign on the old railway platform re this speech.

Marija and I then headed south on the bitumen, along the Barrier Highway, back to Burra.  It had been a very interesting day.


Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2011, ‘Parks of the Mid North’.

Birds SA, 2017, <;, viewed 4th January 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <;, viewed 4th January 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <;, viewed 4th January 2017

Wilmapaustralia, 2017, <;, viewed 4th January 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <,_South_Australia&gt;, viewed 4th January 2017

2 thoughts on “Pandappa Conservation Park VKFF-1131 and 5CP-170

  1. G’day Chris,

    I had no idea about Peter Waite until researching the history of this park. He certainly led an interesting life and clearly, from his bequeaths, he was a very generous individual.

    Marija is just happy at the moment qualifying the parks for VKFF. She still finds the pileups a little daunting.


    Paul VK5PAS

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