Red Banks Conservation Park VKFF-1086 and 5CP-195

Our last activation for the trip up to the Mid North of South Australia was to be on Monday 2nd January 2017, at the Red Banks Conservation Park VKFF-1086 and 5CP-195.  The park is located about 181 km north of Adelaide and about 18 km west of Burra.  This was to be another unique park for both Marija VK5FMAZ and I for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program and the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.

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

After breakfast and packing the Toyota Hi Lux, Marija and I headed out of Burra on Kooringa Road and then onto the Goyder Highway.  We then turned left onto Eastern Road and headed towards the park.  Eastern Road is a dirt road but is in good condition and easily passed in a conventional vehicle.  About 9 km along the road, the park sign came into view.  There is an entry point for bushwalkers at this point, but the main entrance to the park is a little further along.

It was quite a cool morning with a lot of cloud cover.  Not dissimiliar to weather conditions the day before, but fortunately no rain.  Marija and I suspected that the cloud cover would burn off and the sun would come out which is what had happened the past few mornings.  And that is exactly what happened.  It was quite slow going out to the park as there were a large number of Western Grey Kangaroos out enjoying their breakfast.

Red Banks Conservation Park is 1,024 hectares in size and contains remnant vegetation of the Mid North region of South Australia.  Two deeply incised meandering creek lines dissect the park.  These display a spectacular array of erosion formations, including vertical banks of up to 30 metres in depth.  They have a distinctly red colouration.  Thus the name of the park.

Red Banks has a permanent water supply was used by the Aboriginals and by stockman at the junction of the four major stock routes.  There was a little bit of water in the creek near where we set up.

The Red Banks Conservation Park has been called by palaontologists as one of the richest megafauna sites in Australia.  One of the prehistoric creatures to have previously called this area home, was the Diprotodon, the largest known maryuspial ever to have lived.  Diprotodon means ‘two forward teeth’.  Diprotodon lived here until around 65.000 years ago.

The largest specimens of Diprotodon were hippopotamus sized, about 3 mtres from the nose to the tail, and standing at about 2 metres tall at the shoulder and weighing about 2,790 kilograms.

The closest surviving relatives of the Diprotodon are the wombats and the koala.  Diprotodon superficially resembled a rhinoceros without a horn. Its feet turned inwards like a wombat’s, giving it a pigeon-toed appearance. It had strong claws on the front feet and its pouch opening faced backwards. Footprints of its feet have been found showing a covering of hair which indicates it had a coat similar to a modern wombat.

We set up in the main visitor carpark area of the park.  A well maintained dirt track leads to this area from the main entrance.  There were no other visitors at this time so we strung out the 80/40/20m linked dipole and set up the fold up table and deck chair underneath the shade of a gum tree, as the sun was starting to poke its head out of the clouds.

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Above: – Aerial shot of the park showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

Our first contact was with David VK3IL who was activating the Churchill Island Marine National Park VKFF-0947.  This was David’s first ever park activation.  David was booming in with a 5/9 signal.  We heard David subsequently work Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula and there was not a sign of Adrian on 40m, so Marija and I decided to put a few CQ calls out on 80m prior to calling CQ on 40m.

On 80m we logged Adrian VK5FANA, Tony VK5TT who was operating remote, and Jim VK5JW at Cowell on the Eyre Peninsula.  All had very strong signals, but sadly they were our only callers on 80m.

We then moved back to 40m and started calling CQ on 7.144.  This was answered by Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, and Steve VK3FSPG.  Marija and I had soon clocked up our 10 contacts required for the Australian (VKFF) chapter of WWFF.

I pushed on and worked a total of 22 stations on 40m including Ian VK1DI/2 on SOTA peak Big Badja Hill VK2/ SM-059 which is located in the Deua National Park VKFF-0138.  I also spoke with Peter VK3YE who was using a Bitex kit transceiver and running just 5 watts (5/5 both ways).

I then moved to 20m and called CQ on 14.310.  The first taker there was Karl VK2GKA, followed by Rick VK4RF/VK4HA and then Matt VK1MA.  I worked a total of 18 stations on 20m in VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK6 and VK7.  This included another contact with Ian VK1DI/2 on Big Badja Hill andDeua National Park and Peter VK3PF who was activating SOTA summit Huon Hill VK3/ VE-237 in the Wodonga Regional Park VKFF-0980.

The Victorian stations were quite strong on 20m and quite low down on 40m, so I suspected the 15m band would probably be open.  Marija and I took down the linked dipole and put up the 15m dipole.  I headed to 21.244 and called CQ and this was answered by Ori VK3NRG who was a strong 5/8.  This was followed by Gerard VK2IO, Mike VK2IG, and then Neil VK4HNS/2.  I worked a total of 11 stations on 15m in VK2, VK3, and VK4.  This included a Park to Park contact with Marcus VK3TST who was in the Reef Hills State Park VKFF-0773.

We had a BBQ to attend later in the day so we packed up and got back on the road.  I had a total of 55 stations in the log, whilst Marija had a total of 11 stations in the log.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3IL/p (Churchill Island Marine National Park VKFF-0947)
  2. VK3GGG
  3. VK3PMG
  4. VK3SQ
  5. VK3FSPG
  6. VK3MPR
  7. VK3SFG
  8. VK3ANL
  9. VK4RF
  10. VK4HA
  11. VK3HN
  12. VK3GMC
  13. VK5ZGY
  14. VK3ARH
  15. VK3FPSR
  16. VK5HCF
  17. VK3YE
  18. VK5EE
  19. VK5AA
  20. VK2IG
  21. VK1DI/2 (SOTA Big Badja Hill VK2/ SM-059 & Deua National Park VKFF-0138)
  22. VK2GKA
  23. VK5NFT/m

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK5TT
  3. VK5JW

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2GKA
  2. VK4RF
  3. VK4HA
  4. VK2YK
  5. VK1MA
  6. VK4HNS/p
  7. VK2VW
  8. VK7LTD
  9. VK1DI/2 (SOTA Big Badja Hill VK2/ SM-059 &Deua National Park VKFF-0138)
  10. VK2IO
  11. VK3UH
  12. VK3SFG
  13. VK6XL
  14. VK1RX/2
  15. VK1AD
  16. VK4MNM
  17. VK4QD
  18. VK3PF/p (SOTA Huon Hill VK3/ VE-237 & Wodonga Regional Park VKFF-0980)

I worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK3MRG
  2. VK2IO
  3. VK2IG
  4. VK4HNS/p
  5. VK3TST/p (Reef Hills State Park VKFF-0773)
  6. VK2PKT
  7. VK3FPSR
  8. VK4RF
  9. VK4HA
  10. VK4NH
  11. VK2YK

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3IL/p (Churchill Island Marine National Park VKFF-0947)
  2. VK3GGG
  3. VK3PMG
  4. VK3SFG
  5. VK3VZX
  6. VK3SG
  7. VK2FENG

Marija worked the following station on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK3TST/p (Reef Hills State Park VKFF-0773)

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK5TT
  3. VK5JW

After packing up we decided to take a different route home, and we headed down the Worlds End Highway through Robertstown, Point Pass, and Eudunda.  A unique name indeed for a Highway.  The locality at the northern end of the Highway is known as Worlds End, leading to the name of the Highway.  It was said that ‘to venture beyond that spur of the Flinders Range, was considered to be courting ruination’.

This is prime grain growing country and there were a lot of farmers out harvesting.  We also noted quite a few emus in the paddocks.

We continued on to Truro and then Angaston in the Barossa Valley, and then down through Eden Valley, Springton, Mount Pleasant, Mount Torrens, and eventually back home to Mount Barker.

Thankyou to everyone who called us during our time away in the Mid North of South Australia.  We had a terrific time.



Cockburn; R, 2002, ‘South Australia.  What’s in a Name?”

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

National Parks South Australia, 2016, <;

Wikipedia, 2016, <;